A season of growth and development has ended with a final round defeat for West Coast’s understrength AFLW team against St Kilda on Sunday afternoon.
With both sides entering the contest with two wins apiece, opportunity knocked to finish their respective campaigns on a high at Mineral Resources Park.
Ultimately, the Eagles were unable to overcome some key absences – headlined by star midfield trio Dana Hooker, Emma Swanson and Aisling McCarthy - against the Saints as they were beaten 11.9 (76) to 3.2 (20).
While the Eagles started brightly, taking a four-point lead into quarter-time, it was the Saints’ possession and stoppage dominance which told as the match wore on.
St Kilda spearhead Caitlin Greiser (two) and Jessica Matin (three) both kicked multiple goals in the opening half to take the game away.
Losing primary ruck Parris Laurie early in the second stanza was a blow for West Coast, and although she returned to the fray, the Saints capitalised on her absence in a game-breaking second term.
St Kilda booted four goals to no score before going into half-time with their tails up, and despite the best efforts of Grace Kelly (two goals) and young gun Mikayla Bowen (22 disposals) the home side struggled to bridge the gap.
Belinda Smith (18 disposals), Ashlee Atkins (15), Niamh Kelly, Isabella Lewis and Kate Orme (all 13 disposals) could also hold their heads high on a tough day.
Although the Eagles’ season is now over, the team will take plenty of positives from a campaign where they adapted to a new gamestyle under first-year coach Daniel Pratt and never threw in the towel.
West Coast averaged 14 points scored in its truncated first AFLW season but showed marked improvement this year and kicked 25 points per game.
The Eagles finished the season 12th on the AFLW ladder with a percentage of 53 – up from 32.1 last season.
West Coast 2.0 2.0 3.0 3.2 (20)
St Kilda 1.2 5.4 6.9 11.9 (76)
West Coast G.Kelly 2, Caulfield
St Kilda Matin 3, Greiser 2, McDonald, Smith, Guttridge, Shierlaw, Patrikios, Whitfort
West Coast Bowen, G.Kelly, Lewis, Smith, N.Kelly, Orme, Caulfield
St Kilda Patrikios, Matin, Greiser, Guttridge, Smith, Phillips