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Three Fremantle players played a starring role in an exciting WAFLW grand final, with East Fremantle going back to back with a 23-point win against Swan Districts at Lathlain Park on Saturday.
Evie Gooch skippered the Sharks to victory and Freo teammate Gabby O’Sullivan starred to win the Lou Knitter Medal as the best on ground.
Midfielder Philipa Seth was also involved in plenty of the action in the hard-fought contest.
Unfortunately, it was heartbreak for a handful of their Fremantle teammates. Ebony Antonio, Gemma Houghton, Ashley Sharp, Stephanie Cain and Ange Stannett all fought valiantly for Swan Districts, who were coached by Freo captain Kara Donnellan.
Gooch paid tribute to Swans and their effort on the day.
“You knew it was a final with the way that they were hitting us. It was a great game,” Gooch said.
“We knew that Swans would be really good if we let them spread wide and have that run and carry, especially with players like Ashley Sharp and Stephanie Cain.”
Gooch and O’Sullivan were on the bench together for the final siren and O’Sullivan joked about her captain’s reluctance to enjoy the final moments with the win all but guaranteed.
“I was excited and wanted to celebrate,” O’Sullivan said.
“There were about three minutes to go and we were about four goals up and I looked at Evie and said ‘back to back mate’ and she told me not to get ahead of myself!
“She only got excited with about a minute to go but it was such a great feeling to share it with someone that I have such a good bond with.”
O’Sullivan praised the efforts of Seth in the clinches.
“Phil played phenomenally,” O’Sullivan said.
“We know what we’re going to get when it comes to Phil. She’s a real hard worker and she gets the ball.”
Seth said she felt she bore the brunt of the Swans’ intensity.
“The pressure was on! I felt like every time I picked it up I found my way into the dirt but that’s the hard contested footy that Swans like to play,” Seth said.
“We knew that they had a star-studded line-up so we knew that it was going to take 21 girls to shut them down and I think we did that today.”
All three players said they were excited to reunite with all of their AFLW teammates once pre-season begins later this year.
O’Sullivan said the group remained tight-knit through the winter despite being WAFLW rivals, with Donnellan running a number of the players through a session mid-week leading into the game.
“I think I’ll take a couple of weeks break and then get straight back into it,” O’Sullivan said.
“The great thing about the WAFLW and AFLW is that we had ‘Juddy’ (Donnellan) running us through a session on Tuesday and on Saturday were fighting against her team.
“I’m looking forward to getting stuck back into it come November and joining all the girls.”