There was heartbreak and disappointment for the West Coast Eagles when they were edged out by the Greater Western Sydney Giants in an enthralling AFL battle at Blacktown International Sports Park today.
The Eagles, true to their trademark of the last season and four games, fought to the end, but found goals harder to get than the opposition. Just one major after quarter-time underlined the struggle to hit the scoreboard.
Trailing by seven points at three-quarter time, the young Eagles could not summon the efficiency or energy to go with the Giants who surged hard and proved too classy in the run to the line.
The Giants kicked two early goals in the final stanza to win 7.6 (48) to 4.4 (28).
FT | Not our day, heading home to face the Suns. pic.twitter.com/RF4eiI0raL— West Coast Eagles AFLW (@eaglesaflw) February 21, 2021
West Coast will now keep a close eye on star midfielder Aisling McCarthy who received a heavy knock to the shin late in the last term and was helped from the ground.
While the Eagles looked threatening when moving the ball forward in the first half, they conceded too many easy scores to the Giants on the counter attack.
The Giants surged the ball forward consistently and that saw them lead by eight points at the main break.
While that was disappointing from an Eagles perspective, the second year team also was dangerous when entering the forward half, much of their most productive football coming from centre clearances where ruck Parris Laurie, again punching above her division, showed the benefit of a fiercely competitive nature.
With captain Emma Swanson having a profound influence around the ball and young guns Bella Lewis, Mikayla Bowen and Katelyn Pope, in her best performance at senior level, also injecting some energy into the contest they looked capable of a momentous victory.
There were some special moments, too, like the Eagles first goal to Ashlee Atkins, who toe-poked the ball out congestion, gathered the loose footy with one hand, snapped the ball towards goal and saw it bounce through after some good work shepherding in the square from Alicia Janz.
While the defence was constantly under pressure, Tayla Bresland stood firm with 10 possessions and three marks in the half and continued to build in that in the second half while the run and carry of Belinda Smith was exciting.
GWS Giants 4.2 5.3 5.4 7.6 (48)
West Coast Eagles 3.1 4.1 4.3 4.4 (28)
GWS Giants: Staunton 4; Beeson, Dal Pos, Mackrill.
West Coast Eagles: Atkins, Bowen, Collier, Laurie.
GWS Giants: Parker, Beeson, Eva, Staunton, Privitelli, Zreika.
West Coast Eagles: Swanson, Laurie, Bresland, Lewis, Smith, Atkins.
GWS Giants: Nil.
West Coast Eagles: McCarthy (shin)
At Blacktown International Sports Park