New AFLW coach Daniel Pratt took plenty of positives from Saturday’s scratch match against Fremantle, with the form of three engine room players particularly pleasing during his first game in charge.
West Coast made a fast start at Mineral Resources Park and matched the intensity from one of last year’s contenders in an ideal warm-up for the club’s second AFLW campaign.
“It was a really good hitout for both teams. It was one of those things where you just want to get a game under your belt before we start playing the real stuff,” Pratt told 6PR.
“It was probably good for myself and the Eagles team to work on our new gameplan since I’ve come in, and I know Trent (Cooper) with the Dockers would be looking to consolidate, so we both got what we wanted from the game.”
Taking the reins in the coaches box, Pratt liked what he saw from the midfield brigade, led by Irish recruit Aisling McCarthy who booted the opening three goals.
The former Bulldogs mid-forward appears a readymade sidekick for stars Emma Swanson and Dana Hooker in the engine room.
Meanwhile, gun youngster Bella Lewis and ruck Parris Laurie continued to build on impressive pre-seasons.
“There’s a couple of girls who we’ve been really happy with. Bella Lewis, who was our No.1 draft pick, she had a really good day. She played on the wing and on-ball a bit,” Pratt said.
“Parris Laurie, our ruck, played two-and-a-half quarters and she gave us really good supply, particularly early at the centre bounce and around the ground stoppages.
“Then Aish McCarthy, who came over from the Bulldogs, she kicked three (goals) in the first quarter, so that was a bit of a surprise packet for us.
“But she’s a very good player and it was good to see her fit in really well with our inside mids.”
The Eagles are set to face Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium in their season-opener on January 30 and are remaining open-minded to any possible fixture changes due to border restrictions.
“It’s difficult to work out what’s going to happen because the AFL is waiting for the governments to make the decisions, so it’s hard for them to plan,” Pratt said.
“We’ve told our girls to wait and see what happens. We’ll inform them as soon as we can and go from there.
“I’m just trying to keep our girls focused on the day-to-day stuff and we’ve got a new gameplan we’ve been working on for 12 weeks and that’s the focus at the moment.
“Keeping their minds on that rather than being distracted by things they can’t control is really important for me.”