Round 5, Fremantle vs GWS
5.05pm 3 March
Today can shape up to be the day of midfielders.
In particular, Fremantle’s Kara Donnellan and GWS’ Alicia Eva.
Kara Donnellan, originally from Victoria, played state league football with St Albans Women’s Football Club in 2012.
Moving to Perth in 2013 to play with Swan Districts in the West Australian Football League, Donnellan built up her football profile to be named captain of the Swan Districts side.
At the beginning of 2017, she was named inaugural captain of the Fremantle AFLW side.
Further, she was named in the first AFLW All-Australian side last season and also kicked the most goals for Fremantle.
Alicia Eva also grew up in Victoria, playing footy with East Malvern Knights through her teenage years, before being stopped as she was the only girl.
She then began coaching the Calder Cannons, before being picked up in the Victorian Women’s Football League by Melbourne University.
Prior to 2017, she was chosen in Collingwood’s Women’s team, where she vice-captained them through the first AFLW season.
At the end of 2017, Eva was also selected in the All-Australian team and was named Player’s Player.
Eva was traded to the GWS Giants for the 2018 season, where she was named vice-captain.
Last week, both women dominated, with Donnellan collecting 15 disposals and 10 tackles, while Eva gathered 23 disposals and 8 tackles.
Both players at their best are match winners.
But today is a new day and with both teams’ seasons on the line, they’ll be looking to their respective leaders Eva and Donnellan to bring home the four points.
The first 10 minutes are dominated by the Giants, with Phoebe McWilliams kicking their first from directly in front.
Eva is unsighted so far.
Freo’s Stacey Barr kicks her team’s first to level the scores at 6 a-piece.
Eva’s first touch comes with six minutes to play.
Donnellan lays a ferocious tackle minutes after, lifting her team.
Cora Staunton kicks a great second effort snap, putting the Giants 6-points in front.
Donnellan kicks the ball into Freo’s forward line where play stays until the siren.
The Giants are up by six points at the first break.
While Eva has four touches and Donnellan has three, the game is still open for someone to take charge and lead their team to victory.
Coincidently, both players have their right shoulders strapped.
The second quarter starts slowly, with the game lacking rhythm.
Despite dry conditions, play is clogged and no team seems to be able to break away.
Eva and Donnellan are collecting their possessions in the back half.
They’re playing similar games, starting in the middle but eventually being pushed backwards.
The Giants captain Amanda Farrugia kicks her team’s third gal and puts them 12 points in front.
Fremantle are being forced wide, relying on long-bombs rather than pin-point deliveries to their forwards.
GWS’ Staunton assists Courtney Gum in kicking the Giants’ fourth to end the first half.
Giants 4.1 25 to Freo 1.2 8
Eva has 7 touches, Donnellan has 5.
And although the focus was on Eva and Donnellan, GWS’ Cora Staunton was most influential, creating multiple opportunities for the Giants.
Donnellan has the first kick of the third quarter and collects a few early touches around the packs.
Just when Freo look to lift their intensity, Cassie Davidson gives away an undisciplined 50 metre penalty.
GWS’ Rebecca Beeson uses this to her advantage and kicks her teams fifth, giving them a handy 23-point lead.
Gabby O’Sullivan kicks one for the Dockers, bringing them up to double figures.
Staunton is back, steam rolling a Docker. She seems to be running today’s game along with her Giants teammates.
Jacinda Barclay takes a big pack mark off a Staunton bomb and kicks the Giant’s sixth.
Fremantle have gone into hibernation, with Donnellan nowhere to be seen.
Amy Lavell misses an easy shot and Fremantle fumble late opportunities to keep them in the game.
Giants lead by 23 points at three-quarter time.
Donnellan starts the final term with the first touch again and works around the footy in Freo’s backline.
She’s encouraging, leading and attempting to create something for her team, but time is against them.
Steph Cain kicks the Docker’s third, seen through by Donnellan with three minutes on the clock.
The game’s intensity dies down and GWS hold on to win comfortably by 18 points.
Freo’s best were their two key defenders, Dana Hooker and Ebony Antonio, both picking up 19 disposals.
Kara Donnellan gathered 13 touches and 10 tackles, but lacked impact.
Alicia Eva was quiet, but useful around stoppages, collecting 11 disposals and 5 tackles.
However, today was not about the midfield stars or even the number of disposals that decided the outcome.
It was about quality touches and use of the footy from the likes of GWS’ other stars.
Cora Staunton was the perfect example.
While she only picked up 9 disposals, each one created chances for her teammates, which all added up to the end result of a GWS win.
And even though Donnellan and Eva did not make a major difference for their teams, it’s great to see the improvement of the lesser known stars from both sides.
Fremantle 1.0 1.2 2.3 3.3 (21)
GWS 2.0 4.1 6.2 6.3 (39)
Fremantle: S. Barr, G. O’Sullivan, S. Cain
GWS: C. Staunton, J Barclay, R Beeson
Umpires: Simmonds, Johansen, McPhee
VOTES: Cora Staunton (GWS) 3, Courtney Gum (GWS) 2, Dana Hooker (Fremantle) 1