1. Senior coach Michael Prior was looking for a consistent four-quarter performance against Adelaide, and despite leaking a few goals in the 33-point defeat at the Swinburne Centre (Punt Road Oval), the Eagles’ attack on the contest was a positive step. The team won centre clearances (four to two) and tackles inside 50 (nine to eight), showing an improvement on round one 2020 against Adelaide, when they were convincingly beaten in both of these categories.
2. Despite Adelaide having the offensive arsenal, West Coast’s defenders did well in stopping a rain of inside 50s across the match. Sophie McDonald was the best Eagle afield on the day with seven intercepts and was well backed up by Evie Gooch (six intercepts) and Belinda Smith (four marks). Gooch also took a terrific contested mark to contribute to West Coast’s nine for the day.
3. Dana Hooker also showed her poise and resilience as a stand-in captain for the match. In absence of Swanson, Hooker had 18 disposals and 11 contested possessions, and led the team into the third quarter despite rolling her ankle late in the dying minutes of the second term. Alongside other midfielders in Aisling McCarthy (18 disposals, 13 contested possessions) and Parris Laurie (13, seven), the Eagles’ engine room battled hard as the senior leaders did their job in guiding West Coast’s younger contingent of players.
4. Nineteen-year-old Bella Lewis (eight disposals, five tackles) and 18-year-old Charlie Thomas (six, two) also continued to build on their experience across the match, with Thomas playing her third game in the blue and gold. Coming up against Adelaide’s more seasoned players in the centre circle is no easy feat, and the duo rose to the challenge on the day and didn’t shirk the contest to accumulate five contested possessions between them.
5. The injection of two debutants in Courtney Rowley and Sarah Lakay also proved beneficial to the youthful West Coast side. Rowley did her part as a deep forward and used the ball well, creating some key passages of play when given the opportunity. Lakay also did well in the centre circle with 10 hitouts and made a move to the forward-line later in the match to finish with seven disposals and three inside 50s.