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AFLW squad: Strong ins for big Bulldogs clash

AFLW: Rd 5 Squad v Bulldogs Trent Cooper runs through the squad for Sunday's game

Fremantle will potentially have four inclusions for Saturday’s blockbuster Conference A clash with the Western Bulldogs on Sunday at Fremantle Oval.

The squad will be cut from 23 to a final team of 21 on Friday, with inclusions Hayley Miller, Alica Janz, Leah Mascall and potential debutant Matilda Sergeant all vying for selection. 

Ashlee Atkins and Courtney Stubbs are Fremantle’s two omissions at this stage.

Fremantle senior coach Trent Cooper said Miller was the most likely of the four inclusions to return, with the star midfielder missing Freo’s round four loss to Adelaide due to suspension.

“Hayley was just building up to her best form after an interrupted pre-season,” Cooper said.

“She was really good against Collingwood with her drive and her clearance work and getting the ball forward. She’ll slot straight back into our midfield.”

If Janz is selected, Cooper said she is likely to be used as support in the ruck.

“Alicia had a PCL at the end of last season so that’s kept her out," Cooper said.

“She’s been building nicely, she had a hitout last week in a game with the WAFC which has put her into contention to come back and maybe support Parris Laurie in the ruck.”

Sergeant joined Fremantle with pick no.62 from Claremont in the 2018 NAB AFL Women’s draft and missed the start of the season due to injury. 

“Matilda was really good during the pre-season, she would have played in round one if it wasn’t for a small hip injury that’s kept her out,” Cooper said. 

“She’s a good user of the ball, she’s clean around the contest and when she does get her opportunity, she’ll add a fair bit our midfield.”

Cooper said Mascall has been pushing her case to return at training following her omission after playing in the opening two games of the season.

“Leah has been really close the past couple of weeks and she’s been added to the squad and is pressing her claim in defence,” Cooper said.

“She’s putting her hand up for selection, so there’s four good ins added to our squad.”

The clash is crucial for both teams, with Fremantle and the Bulldogs both looking to bounce back from losses in round four and push into the top-two in Conference A.

Fremantle sit behind second-placed Adelaide on percentage while the Bulldogs are a win and percentage out of a finals place with three games to play.

“Like us, the Bulldogs will probably feel like they were disappointing last week, but we’re not preparing for them on that form,” Cooper said.

“Their previous form was very good, they were last years premiers and they knocked off Adelaide in round one. 

“They have a very good and highly skilled team, probably the best in the competition, so we need to bring pressure against them to get the ball going our way.”

Backs: Evie Gooch, Tayla Bresland, Angelique Stannett
Half backs: Alex Williams, Ebony Antonio, Kara Donnellan
Centre: Philippa Seth, Dana Hooker, Stephanie Cain
Ruck: Parris Laurie
Half forwards: Gemma Houghton, Ashley Sharp, Hayley Miller
Forwards: Kiara Bowers, Kellie Gibson, Sabreena Duffy
Interchange: Alicia Janz, Laura Pugh, Gabby O’Sullivan, Matilda Sergeant, Mel Caulfield

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