AFLW Round 2 – Fremantle v Collingwood: The Perfect Housewarming

4:10pm WST 10th February
Optus Stadium, Perth



It’s hard for us West Coast Eagles supporters to see Fremantle be gifted the things we don’t have. It’s like being the older child and seeing your baby sibling being given the cool, fun toys your parents never gave you for Christmas, they gave you things that were ‘educational’ and ‘practical’ instead. You’re bitter and jealous.


Fremantle were given an AFLW license to join the competition in its inaugural year. West Coast must wait until 2020.


That same Fremantle AFLW side now have the honour to play in the first match of Australian Rules football at the brand spankin’ new state-of-the-art Optus Stadium.


They have now gone on to win their way into the history books by breaking the 89-year-old all-time attendance record for women’s football from 1929 by bringing in 41,975 fans into Perth’s new home of footy.


I’m going to have to try to put my purple bias behind me watching tonight’s game as all I can think of is would how much better these feats would have been if they were achieved in royal blue and gold. But our time will come and for right now, I’ll let Freo enjoy this prelude until we can meet them in an AFLW Derby and tonight I’m on ‘Team Women’s Football’.


To watch this match on television I’m sure was a sub-par experience compared to enjoying the shiny new facilities of what is now being called Australia’s best stadium. The exciting thing for me though, watching at home, was seeing and hearing a packed stadium cheering on women.


The crowd looked and sounded amazing on TV and gave the game that extra professional polish that we are used to seeing in the men’s game. Not that I don’t enjoy attending the boutique and much-loved ovals of the past that AFLW offers fans, but seeing women’s football in a forum like that was an extra special look into the future as we see the game grow.


It was an explosive start to the game and Collingwood were up and about early, not letting the strong Perth crowd overwhelm them. Ruck Emma King became the first goal-scorer at the new stadium, soccering the ball off the ground in the opening minute to put Collingwood on the board. Christina Bernardi slotted another for the Pies shortly after and they looked to take immediate control of the game, raising early concerns for Freo who looked to be in for another tough day at the office after last week’s big loss to the Bulldogs.


However, the Dockers rallied quickly and kicked three consecutive goals to establish a six-point lead at the first break courtesy of Ashlee Atkins, Mel Caulfield and a sensational around-the-body snap from Dana Hooker.


A rattled Collingwood failed to hit the scoreboard in the second as Fremantle sought to silence the critics of their Round 1 performance. Lavell’s classy set-shot after getting crunched by Bernardi set the tone for the quarter and I found myself cheering out loud in my lounge room for the Pies. Not something that comes naturally for anyone other than a Pies supporter – unless you’re an Eagles fan watching Freo doing too well. Burying my bias was not working.


Bernardi’s second goal in the third saw a charge from Collingwood but Fremantle maintained their dominance, determined not to start the second AFLW season 0-2. Caulfield picked up her second after gathering a loose ball and snapped truly. All signs indicated that Freo were going to put the Pies in that precarious position in a seven-week competition.


Molloy was a force in defence for Collingwod despite being targeted by some unfriendly Dockers, she suffered a bruised jaw and ribs but played on like a champion. She’s certainly proved her place in the game as a rising star.


But Freo found their rhythm and silenced the Pies in the final term with an early goal from Hooker, clearly the best on ground for Freo, finishing with 20 disposals and 2 goals. Jamie Lambert snapped a goal mid-way through the final term to bring some momentum back to the Pies but it wasn’t enough to chase down the Dockers.


Lara Filocamo and Lisa Webb also worked hard for Freo tallying 17 disposal a piece and captain, Kara Donnellan was consistent with 16 possessions and 8 tackles.


If Fremantle can continue like this they will certainly be the fierce contenders we thought they could be since day one of AFLW and can hopefully continue to valiantly represent the strong Western Australian women’s football talent pool.


Well, until 2020 that is.




FREMANTLE                         3.0     4.1     5.3     6.4     (40)
COLLINGWOOD                   2.0     2.0     3.1     4.3     (27)            


Caulfield 2, Hooker 2, Atkins, Lavell
Collingwood: Bernardi 2, King, Lambert 


 Hooker, Antonio, Caulfield, Webb, Donnellan
Collingwood: Kuys, Chiocci, Duffin, Molloy, Bernardi 


Umpires: Simmonds, Curtis, McPhee

Official crowd: 41,975 at Optus Stadium



About Kasey Symons

Kasey Symons a writer and PhD Candidate at Victoria University. Her research is focused on gendered issues in sports cultures (primarily AFL) at a fan level. Kasey is a born and raised Victorian who barracks for the West Coast Eagles and yes, she knows that is weird.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    The Pies looked so strong and then disappeared. Molloy is a star and their effort was there. Freo were classier and more attacking and accurate. Great report, from a Weagles supporter. I am with you re 2020. Lots of footy to discuss til there’s Eagles and Saints running about.

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great report Kasey,
    Pies have improved from last year in the way they move the ball. If Mo Hope can get back and find some form it will help.
    Freo v West Coast Derby would be something to behold when it happens. Cheers

  3. John Butler says

    Brave attempt at impartiality there, Kasey. :)

  4. I think you did pretty well to counter your bias! Nice work.

    It’s amazing the difference when you put the women on a proper ground with wide open spaces. The game opened up and both teams performed much better than their round 1 attempts.

    How good is Molloy? Really enjoying watching her play. Until she plays my team, that is.

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    I’m still amazed the Eagles dropped the ball and let Fremantle join the AFLW first.
    While disappointed with Collingwood’s two losses so far, I’m seeing a far more disciplined and competitive team this year. Molloy is great to watch, huge future ahead for her.

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