1. More than 35,000 fans flocked to Optus Stadium for the first AFLW RAC Derby and it’s fair to say the majority were donning blue and gold. The cheers that reverberated around Perth’s premier sporting cauldron when the Eagles strode onto the field were spine tingling and one that the players will not soon forget. If first impressions are anything to go by, we have no doubt that this will be a fixture to pencil in one’s diary every year.
2. West Coast’s midfield proved its ball-winning ability against Collingwood last week and again stepped up against one of the competition’s strongest onball brigades. The Eagles’ centre line – led by skipper Emma Swanson, her deputy Dana Hooker, Imahra Cameron and Hayley Bullas – helped the home side win the clearance battle 49-41 and the centre clearances 8-3. The team will take heart from that minor victory and if they continue to win the ball at the source good things will happen.
3. Parris Laurie was a force to be reckoned with in the ruck yesterday. The 25-year-old took it up to Fremantle double act Mim Strom and Roxy Roux, winning the hitout count 38 to 20. She worked particularly well with Emma Swanson, feeding her skipper the Sherrin on countless occasions with her deft touch.
4. West Coast was made to pay for their mistakes yesterday, particularly skill errors in the back half. While the Eagles only turned the ball over eight more times than the Dockers (49-41), Fremantle capitalised on their opportunities, kicking eight of their nine goals from defensive turnovers.
5. It might have not been the first official RAC Derby goal, but McKenzie Dowrick will forever have the honour of booting West Coast’s first major in the crosstown rivalry. The wily defender snuck forward, took a strong contested mark and slotted her set shot from 35 metres with ease. It was a special moment and the team celebrated accordingly by getting around the 19-year-old Kambalda product.