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AFLW Draft: Cooper thrilled to bring in ‘quality people’

Sabreena Duffy and Trent Cooper addressed the media on Wednesday.

AFLW senior coach Trent Cooper is hopeful that Fremantle’s haul at Tuesday’s NAB AFLW Draft will set the club up for a big 2019 and beyond.

While there was a focus on bringing in the best talent in draft’s the lead-up, Cooper was also pleased with the character of the group.

Fremantle drafted Claremont’s Jasmin Stewart at no.4, followed by Sabreena Duffy (Peel), Philipa Seth (East Fremantle), Courtney Stubbs (Subiaco), Parris Laurie (Claremont), Laura Pugh (West Perth), Matilda Sergeant (Claremont) and Ebony Dowson (Peel).

“Obviously, it’s a bit different being a state based draft so we go in with a good idea of who were going to take but it worked out well for us,” Cooper said. 

“We’re happy with the eight players we have and their talent and even happier with the character and the quality of the people were bringing into the program.

“They’re going to add a lot to it for sure.” 

All eight of Fremantle’s new draftees took part in Fremantle’s 10-week women’s academy program between July August and September.

As a part of the sessions, Cooper worked on putting the building blocks in place for the 2019 season.

“We had a big focus in the academy on skills, particularly picking the ball up cleanly and using it well by foot,” Cooper said.

“That will be the main thing. The game style itself wont be rocket science or too complicated but we think if we can get those basics right, that’s where our improvement will come from.”

After injuries hit the team hard in the first two seasons of the AFLW, Cooper remained confident that Fremantle can start the 2019 season with an almost fully-fit list.

“I think everyone is tracking, without any hiccups, to be available for round one,” Cooper said. 

“Kiara Bowers is the big one obviously, she hasn’t played a game in two years and she’s not back in full training at the moment. She’s still on a program that will have her right to play if everything goes well.

“There will be a lot of people very happy when she gets out on the ground as no-one works harder than her. We have our fingers crossed that she can get out there.”

Cooper introduced Sabreena Duffy at Wednesday’s media conference. The midfielder was taken at no.17 at the draft and captained the WA U18s at the 2018 national championships.

Duffy said she couldn’t wait to join her teammates at per-season training, which is set to commence in mid-November.

“I’d love to play with ‘Juddy’ (Kara Donnellan), that’s obviously going to be a dream come true but I also really idolise Hayley Miller and Evie Gooch,” Duffy said. 

“It would be cool to just train with those girls, let alone play with them.

“We’ve got good training measures that have been put in place and I can’t wait to get started.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs