In spite of being bitterly disappointed with the result, AFLW senior coach Luke Dwyer believes there are plenty of positives to take away from his side’s round six performance against Gold Coast.
It goes without saying the Eagles did not capitalise on their opportunities at Mineral Resources Park on Sunday.
West Coast generated its most inside 50s (29) of the season, but only mustered eight points from six inside 50 marks and eight shots on goal.
The pessimist would home in on the team’s inability to convert in front of the big sticks, but Dwyer preferred to make mention of the progress his side was making while speaking to 6PR’s Sportsday WA program yesterday.
“We’ve been looking at our ball movement and there’s areas at the weekend … that were pleasing,” Dwyer said.
“There are inside 50s and then there are inside 30s, where I guess realistically shots on goal are going to be a little bit easier for the players.
“Going forward if we can get the ball a little bit deeper inside 50 and make those shots a little bit easier hopefully we can convert them.”
Dwyer and his coaching cohort moved the magnets on Sunday to trial some players in new positions.
Imahra Cameron played a different rotation that saw her split her time between the forward line and midfield, while noted goal-kicker Kellie Gibson lined up on the wing against the Suns.
Both Cameron and Gibson revelled in their new roles, amassing a season-best 20 and 18 disposals respectively.
The senior coach said he was pleased with the pair’s output during the contest.
“Imahra, she’s really grown this season,” Dwyer said.
“We’ve played her as a midfielder and also as a forward and I thought on the weekend her balance of providing a pretty dangerous option up forward and then giving us some grunt around the footy was pretty good.
“We looked at Gibbo on the wing on the weekend too. There are opportunities there for girls to be playing in different positions.”
Dwyer also highlighted the performance of defender Belinda Smith, who was assigned the unenviable task of containing Gold Coast livewire Kalinda Howarth.
“Belinda, her game at the weekend was a really tough one,” Dwyer said.
“She was matched up on Kalinda Howarth who kicked some goals, but we were so proud of the way Belinda stuck at it all day and competed.
“She was awarded our team player by the girls. That was reflective of her performance.”
Like the rest of the footballing world, Dwyer said West Coast’s AFLW program was waiting to hear whether its upcoming fixtures would be impacted by the unfolding coronavirus pandemic.
He said the playing group, coaches and staff would be disappointed but understanding if the competition did not proceed as scheduled.
“There still is some uncertainty around this weekend,” Dwyer acknowledged.
“It would be disappointing and our players are certainly keen to continue the season moving forward. Obviously if the AFL make the decision to start a finals series this weekend or in fact play a grand final, that would mean the end of our season.
“But certainly we respect the decision of the AFL and the chief medical officers that are informing (them). It’d be disappointing on one front – obviously we don’t potentially get to play another game – but we certainly respect any decision made on our behalf.”