AFLW Round 3 – Fremantle v Melbourne: Winning and learning


AFLW Fremantle vs Melbourne, Fremantle Oval, 18 February 2018.


AFLW stars Dana Hooker & Daisy Pearce. Photos by Les Everett.



Emily McGuire’s goal to put Fremantle in front in the last quarter got the reaction it deserved.

Modern coaches like to win but they also like to come out of games with some teaching points. So Fremantle AFLW coach Michelle Cowan will really enjoy getting her players into the plush lecture theatre at Cockburn this week. Her team will be fresh from the best win in their short history, and the coach will be armed with plenty of damning footage to assist with a bit of learning.

Emily McGuire will get some deserved early attention after her stunning debut… it will start with a bit of ribbing – maybe she’s got a new nickname, please don’t let it be “Eddie” unless it’s in honour of Mr Betts. Then the group will be shown McGuire’s lead and mark in the first quarter – they’ll call it a “hit-up” – modern sportspeople like putting ‘up’ on the end of things. Then they’ll see the second quarter McGuire highlights – the contest, recovery, one-handed pick-up, turn, snap, goal and not long after, a tackle that kept the ball inside 50. The match-winning goal in the last quarter will get a few looks as well.

However, there will be a sting in the coach’s tail. McGuire will be shown the mark she didn’t go for at a vital stage early in the last quarter, the one dropped close to goal and the times she didn’t bend over when she had the chance to pick up the ball. McGuire’s performance had signs of both supreme confidence and a lack of self-belief. There will be trouble for opponents when she fully believes in herself.

The team will come in for a bit of scrutiny too. The forward 50 entries, especially in the second quarter, were inept and Melbourne defenders took too many uncontested marks. Some reasons for this may be discussed:

  • The team didn’t get any forward 50 entry practice in the first quarter.
  • The fact that the forward line is totally empty for large parts of the game makes it hard for forwards to find themselves in a position to lead (up).
  • The fact that a number of players are not very good at kicking.

There might be a laugh at the expense of Lara Filocamo about her decisive clearance in the third quarter marred only by the fact she kicked the wrong way.

Then it will be down to accentuating the positives like:

  • Evie Gooch’s goal-saving chase and tackle.
  • Leah Mascall’s match-saving defending in the closing stages.
  • The class of the stars Kara Donnellan, Ebony Antonio and Dana Hooker.
  • The work in the ruck by Alicia Janz.
  • The general approach of the team – unrelenting pressure helped Fremantle defeat a more talented opponent.



Tegan Cunningham kicks a goal under pressure.

The Demons would have expected to win this one and they might have if they’d taken their chances in the first quarter. Tegan Cunningham was a big threat in the forward line and kicked two goals; Daisy Pearce was put under a lot of pressure but still did plenty; Richelle Cranston’s forceful approach was vital in the third quarter recovery and Karen Paxman showed class.

Fremantle 6.0 (36) Melbourne 4.7 (31)


  1. I think the crowd grew considerably after half-time so it was bigger than the official 3,125.
  2. Could we have less music? Please let the crowd provide the atmosphere.
  3. Freo footy crowds have never needed a ground announcer to rev us up. Don’t insult us please.

Emily McGuire’s first quarter snap.

About Les Everett

A Footy Almanac veteran, Les Everett is the author of Gravel Rash: 100 Years of Goldfields Football and Fremantle Dockers: An Illustrated History. He is the WAFL correspondent and uses the money he makes from that role to pay for his expensive websites and and fund the extravagant Vin Maskell at


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Les,

    photos are great. Emily McGuire another one to watch closely. Freo came into Round 3 with a huge salute and they will be the ones to watch if they keep this up.

    Thanks for you report

  2. Your team won alright, no need to make a song and dance about it.

    On a serious note, if the Dees were gunna stumble then this was a s good a time to as any. Now excuse me, we have a premiership to chase!


  3. Danae Gibson says

    Hey Les, beaut pix. Thanks for the report. I couldn’t agree more about the noise (the p.a. is awful) and reckon you’re right about the size of the crowd too. Oh, and the game!

  4. John Butler says

    Great pics and words Les.

    From what I could see, the word applicable to Emily would be up – as in upside. As in huge.

    The Dockers definitely put themselves in the picture with this effort. Now they travel east. A long way east.

    We are of like mind re the AFL’s efforts to ‘entertain’ us.

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