There were sombre scenes in the away change rooms at Casey Fields as Fremantle’s season ended at the hands of Melbourne in Saturday’s qualifying final.
Despite the loss coming away from home, Fremantle leader Kiara Bowers said the playing group had the Purple Army front of mind when processing what could have been.
The playing group were inundated with messages of support leading into the game and Bowers said she used them as a motivator in her 20 disposal and 17 tackle performance.
“The fans are incredible and we apologise to them that we couldn’t come away with the win,” Bowers said.
“All the little messages we got this week did not go unnoticed. I read every single one of them. Thank you to all of you guys and we appreciate it and we’re sorry about today.”
Bowers said she was beyond heartbroken in the aftermath, saying she felt she left everything out on the park.
“My heart’s probably still out there, so I’ll go pick that up later on the way out,” Bowers said.
“We fought hard but we weren’t able to come away with the win.
“It’s an emotional moment but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ve had an incredible season and this bunch of girls is a special one. We’ll stick together and grind it out.”
Bowers said Fremantle were left to rue losing the final two games of the home and away season. It saw Fremantle fall out of the top two to fifth and allow Melbourne to take advantage of playing on their home deck in blustery conditions.
“Melbourne played the ground really well and have played here multiple times, compared to twice for us,” Bowers said.
“They just knew what to do with the wind and we were a bit shaky at the start and we couldn’t pull it back this time.”
Despite falling short in finals, Bowers believes Fremantle have plenty of room to go with one of the youngest lists in the competition.
“You look at all of our young girls (especially) Sarah Verrier, who this year was incredible,” Bowers said.
“They’re going to take over all the old girls spots. I’m looking forward to seeing how much they grow and they’ll jump in front of us.”