AFLW 2022: Fremantle Dockers youngster Dana East learning from star Kiara Bowers

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
Football runs in Dana East’s blood, but it hasn’t stopped her from soaking in as much as she can from arguably the best player in the AFLW.
Camera IconFootball runs in Dana East’s blood, but it hasn’t stopped her from soaking in as much as she can from arguably the best player in the AFLW. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

Dana East is taking full advantage of having arguably the AFLW’s best player just a few lockers away.

The draftee has slotted seamlessly into Fremantle’s midfield, with her ferocious attack on the ball and hunt for the opposition reminding many of her superstar teammate, AFLW best and fairest Kiara Bowers.

And while East doesn’t feel comfortable with the tag of Turbo 2.0, she is doing her best to learn as much as she can from the three-time All-Australian.

“I’ve got a lot of work to be Turbo. She’s someone I idolise and build my game around and try to match up with her at training as much as possible,” East said.

“Through the pre-season, it’s been great watching how different players play and their different styles, so I’m learning a lot and I’m sure in the hub I’ll learn even more on and off the field.”

Dana East.
Camera IconDana East. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

The 19-year-old is the daughter of former East Perth wingman Heath East, who is most famous for kicking nine goals in the 1992 elimination final win over Subiaco.

And while she is yet to replicate his heroics, East’s 11 disposals, eight tackles and goal in the Dockers’ 32-point win over Greater Western Sydney showed her potential.

East earned praise from coach Trent Cooper, who said the tough teenager “led the way” in the first half when superstars Bowers and Hayley Miller were struggling for impact.

“It (making her debut) is still a bit of a blur to be. It was probably the best moment of my life,” East said.

“On the outside, I look comfortable, but on the inside, I’ve been shaking and nervous. When I kicked that goal, I was just thinking of all the possible ways this could go wrong.

“The girls are really good at supporting me and keeping me calm.”

Dana East has slotted straight into Fremantle’s midfield.
Camera IconDana East has slotted straight into Fremantle’s midfield. Credit: Will Russell/via AFL Photos

The ladder-leading Dockers will be forced to make one change for their clash against Richmond on Saturday, with All-Australian defender Janelle Cuthbertson to miss with a concussion she sustained in the third quarter of the victory over the Giants.

It opens the door for top Fremantle draftee Amy Franklin to make her debut, with Cooper saying in the pre-season the young forward would playback as part of her education.

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