Every week, West Coast AFLW coach Daniel Pratt is seeing more and more growth from his team and, although a 20-point loss to the Giants was tough, there were more steps forward for the Eagles on Sunday.
After being challenged to sustain their trademark intensity and effort for longer, the emerging group was in the hunt at the final change when they trailed Greater Western Sydney by just seven points.
While the hosts’ experience told in the last stanza as they scooted clear late, it was another fighting performance for West Coast against an established AFLW side.
“Probably our biggest focus over the last couple of weeks has been playing our brand for longer. I was really pleased in the third quarter we were able to will our way back into the game,” Pratt said post-match.
“I felt like we probably played our brand for three quarters and then the last quarter it got away from us again.
“It’s all part of our growth and development trying to stick it out for 80 minutes, not 65. I think it’s not far away, some positive stuff. We’ll keep working at it.”
Although it might be little solace immediately after the loss, West Coast’s 4.4 (28) was the club’s second-highest AFLW tally – a clear sign the group is finding more ways to threaten opposition defences.
“If we get the ball in there deep enough we’re dangerous. Last week we had seven shots in the first half and sometimes that doesn’t reflect the game exactly but we’re giving ourselves opportunities,” Pratt said.
“One of the most difficult things for us in the past has been scoring, so now we’ve got to fix the other end as well, stop the scores and hopefully that results in us coming out in front on the scoreboard in the next couple of weeks.”
The Eagles are set to host the Suns at Mineral Resources Park next Sunday with both teams searching to open their account for the 2021 campaign.
West Coast will be anxiously awaiting further injury updates for star Irish midfielder Aisling McCarthy after she went down with a leg issue in the final term after another strong display.
“I don’t think it’s as bad as it initially locked,” Pratt said.
“I think it’s a really bad knock but it doesn’t look like there’s anything structurally wrong. We’ll see what happens in the next 24 hours.”