1. The West Coast Eagles keenly pursued Aisling McCarthy, who was playing with the Western Bulldogs, and it has taken only three games to see why the AFLW recruiting group were so excited to get her into the squad. McCarthy has been a stand-out in all games for the club, excelling in the contested ball and stoppage areas. The third Irishwoman to join the Eagles squad – with the similarly competitive Kelly sisters – and she is a key to the club’s long-term prospects.
2. Football smarts are difficult to teach, but Imahra Cameron has them intuitively. She is a highly skilled player, evidenced by a brilliant one-handed gather and turn in the third quarter, but also has an innate sense of the moment. When a Brisbane opponent was looking to usher the ball across the line in the third quarter, waiting for the last touch ‘lasso’ free kick, Cameron was having nothing of it. She bundled her opponent out of the way, gathered the footy and sent it inside the Eagles attacking 50-metre arc.
3. Having access to the first selection in the 2020 draft also looks to be a long-term winner for the Eagles with young Claremont midfielder Bella Lewis impressing in her brace of matches for the club. It has been a tough introduction for her against three of the competition’s established and powerful teams, but she has stood up to the test. Lewis was again one of the best performed Eagles and has made the transition to the top level seamlessly. Another youngster drafted last year, Shanae Davidson, is also making progress with every game.
4. While the youngsters are having a presence so, too, are some of the senior players, including captain Emma Swanson, whose output rarely deviates from the exceptional standards she sets. Some of the support from established stars has been missing, particularly through the unfortunate accident suffered by Dana Hooker in her kitchen when a knife fell from a kitchen bench, severing a tendon in her big toe. The vice-captain offers any support she can off-field, but Swanson carries a heavy load in games and is relishing the responsibility.
5. Another of the senior players who punches above her weight is ruck Parris Laurie. She concedes height in her role every week, but plays smart footy, particularly with her body position in the contests. She has an enormous appetite for the battle and is another quality player who sets a wonderful example for her young teammates. Hopefully another highly valued member of the team Alicia Janz can soon make her club debut and offer some ‘tall’ support to her hard-working cohort.