AFLW Round 5 – Fremantle v GWS Giants: GrrrUmpy


Round 5, Fremantle vs GWS
2.05pm 3 March
Fremantle Oval

Danae Gibson


On the way to watch Freo’s third home game of the season, I realised I hadn’t seen GWS play live since the Pies pummelled the eventual wooden-spooners in round six 2017.


I’ve watched plenty of the Giants on the small screen and sung their praises on the wireless once or twice. I would never have a so-called second team, but when I saw the players on the ground for the pre-game warm up, I realise how many Giants are listed in my favourite players. Admittedly, it’s a long list and largely filled with purple (of course!) but it was still a stark reminder.


There’s the effervescent skipper Amanda Farrugia, Super Shark Phoebe McWilliams, dynamic Jess Dal Pos and the smart speedster Alicia Eva. And then there is the West Australian connection of GWS marquees Renee Forth and Emma Swanson, Aimee Schmidt, and the remarkable Jacinda Barclay. I have to remark on Barclay’s other talents because … well, Bliss! The former national baseball rep is a cross code champ of American and Aussie Rules and played for a team called the Chicago Bliss. The name is worth investigation but it’s probably best I leave the Legends Football League aside for another time and get back to the footy in Fremantle.


The crowd was pretty sparse on a delightful Saturday afternoon (a WA long weekend) but there was oodles of orange in the crowd, with plenty of friends and family to cheer on the Giants. Before the game, local MP and Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk presented cheques totalling $90,798 to the Starlight Children’s Foundation and the Fremantle Dockers Foundation.  The donation was due to the 54,000 tickets sold to the inaugural AFL Women’s match between Fremantle and Collingwood at Perth Stadium in February. 41,985 spectators attended the Fremantle v Collingwood match, breaking the AFLW attendance record and the entry fee will be used by the Starlight Children’s Foundation to grant wishes, and brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families. The Fremantle Dockers Foundation will allocate its share of the funds to further develop grassroots football programs in the community.


The day had a great grassroots feeling about it. All around I could see boys and young men in Nicky Winmar Cup t-shirts and girls and young women in Kirby Bentley Cup uniforms; young folk lapping up the relaxed atmosphere, seemingly observing everything that unfolded around them with nonchalance.


While the laid back crowd may have been slow to reach full force, the game began as every other of AFLW 2018. Full tilt. Within moments of the opening ball up, one of my Freo faves, Gabby O’Sullivan, gave a free kick away for a head high tackle. There may have been calls from the crowd along the lines of “she ducked!” (at least that’s what it sounded like) or maybe it was just me being grumpy at the ump.


My response to the failure to award a mark to Mel Caulfield on the opposite wing a couple of minutes later left me in no doubt I was off my game. As a kid I spent more time in umpires’ rooms than players’ rooms and I have the utmost respect for the officials across the code. I know it’s a bloody difficult game to umpire and I often jump to the ump’s defense. Not today. A free kick awarded to GWS on their 50 metre arc led to a PMac mark in the goal square and halfway through the quarter it seemed another lopsided start to a Fremantle home game but Stacey Barr soon responded with a goal and scores were level. The Freo skipper’s breakaway was thwarted and every foray forward appeared to be defended by the GWS backline. Turnovers increased, the tussles continued and honours were largely even until Cora Staunton recovered a spilt mark and snapped a beauty from 40 metres. The Dockers were deep in their forward pocket but unable to buy a free kick or steal a score as the siren sounded. QT: Fremantle 1.0 (6) v GWS 2.0 (12).


The second quarter continued in much the same manner: the players contested the ball, I contested the umpires decisions. Freo wasted an early opportunity to have a set shot from a ruck infringement (scoring a behind from playing on to advantage) and the Giants continued to defend strongly. Courtney Gum snared the vital contested marks and played with a cool head. At one point it seemed a field umpire got in the way of a Freo player in the centre of the ground but I can’t be sure my purple blinkers weren’t obscuring my view entirely. Staunton continued to show her value and the GWS skipper snapped a goal to make the difference 12 points. Lisa Webb scored a behind at the Big Old Moreton Bay end and the Giants raced off to the Hospital end, to score a vital Gum goal in the last minute of the half.


The scoreboard seemed about right, the Giants were 17 points in front. HT: Fremantle 1.2 (8) v GWS 4.1 (25).


Early in the third quarter Rebecca Beeson took one of the many strong contested marks of the Giants day. With a late attempted spoil, Cassie Davison gave away 50 metres and the resulting goal increased the lead to 23 points. Four goals is not an insurmountable difference but the GWS defence made it look highly unlikely. The teams traded goals from that point – one to O’Sullivan and one for Barclay – but the result was never in doubt. 3QT: Fremantle 2.3 (15) v GWS 6.2 (38).


The final quarter was the lowest scoring of the day. Fremantle’s Steph Cain kicked the only goal to take the home team’s core to 3.3 (21) to GWS 6.3 (39). The Giants thoroughly deserved the win, an invaluable victory on the road and just reward for an improved season. The GWS women gathered on the oval to sing their excellent team song with gusto. Players from both teams shook hands, shared chats and looked beyond the boundary to find family and friends. Long after the umps had left the ground, the bouncy castle had risen and my mood had regained equilibrium, the oval was covered in kick-to-kick glee.


The grass roots are alive and well.


















FREMANTLE                                                   1.0   1.2   2.3   3.3 (21)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY             2.0   4.1   6.2   6.3 (39)

Fremantle: Barr, O’Sullivan, Cain
GWS Giants: McWilliams, Staunton, Farrugia, Gum, Beeson, Barclay 

Fremantle: Antonio, Cain, Hooker, Donnellan
GWS Giants: Gum, Staunton, McWilliams, Brush

Umpires: Simmonds, Johansen, McPhee

Crowd: 2571 (in the shade)

Our votes: Gum (GWS) 3, Staunton (GWS) 2, Antonio (Fremantle) 1




I'm a rusted on Fremantle Dockers supporter. Radio is my first love, followed closely by cricket. I coordinate the Broadcast Journalism Diploma at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Fine work Danae. Funny how the voice calling “She Ducked” was so close to where you were seated. They could have been the words right out of your mouth….or were they? GWS v Bulldogs this weekend should be a ripper. Freo need to build for next year and keep fighting. They have improved this year too. Maybe they can beat the Crows this weekend. I believe in sharing premiership cups around! But hey, I’m a Saints supporter (and you’d understand that as one who loves the anchor).

  2. Danae Gibson says

    thanks Yvette :) great news about Peat Searle’s appointment, eh?

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