Fremantle defender Evie Gooch said she expects to see Fremantle return stronger than ever after falling in Saturday’s preliminary final to Carlton at Ikon Park.

The Fremantle leader was proud to see Fremantle qualify for the club’s first AFLW finals series.

“To finish it like that isn’t ideal but we’re still really proud of the girls, the effort they put in throughout the year was still something special," Gooch said.

“Last time we played Carlton, it was for the wooden spoon at the end of last season, so to see them improve that much and to see where we’ve come as well this season, it’s been really great.

“What Carlton brought to the table today was awesome, so it’s a credit to them.”

Gooch said that the support from the Purple Army was one of the driving factors behind Fremantle’s improvement, with Freo undefeated at home in 2019.

“The fan support was so important. Running out onto Freo Oval with that roar behind us and every celebration was just amazing,” Gooch said. 

“This year, it has felt like a different team to be honest. There’s so much love and support there and the effort that they’re putting in for all the extras has made a difference.”

Gooch said that a lot of the Freo players would look to continue their improvement during the AFLW off-season.

“I think most of the girls will go through to the WAWFL clubs and keep developing,” Gooch said.

“With the new structure of the WAWFL season, it should be a bit more competitive and get the girls playing a lot more footy.

“Next year when we come together, we’ll have more experience under our belts and we’ll come in even stronger.”