AFLW 2022: Fremantle youngster Dana East inspired Dockers to victory over Greater Western Sydney

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
First-year Fremantle midfielder Dana Hooker had the best game of her young career.
Camera IconFirst-year Fremantle midfielder Dana Hooker had the best game of her young career. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

Kiara Bowers’ apprentice Dana East has passed her first big test after the draftee inspired Fremantle to a 32-point win over Greater Western Sydney at VU Whitten Oval on Sunday.

As Bowers struggled to escape extra attention from the Giants’ midfield in the first half, 19-year-old East picked up the slack with an impressive outing in the Dockers’ 7.10 (52) to 2.8 (20) victory.

The Donnybrook product was one of the few Dockers to hold their own in the midfield in a disappointing first quarter, before starring at the contests in the second, helping her side break the game open with four unanswered goals.

East finished with 11 disposals, three clearances, eight tackles and a goal in just her second game, as her Dockers rocketed to the top of the ladder.

It didn’t all go the Dockers’ way though, with All-Australian Janelle Cuthbertson to miss Saturday’s match against Richmond under the AFLW’s concussion protocols after her head hit the turf while being tackled late in the third term.

The Giants were putting plenty of work into Fremantle’s midfielders in the first term, holding Bowers (14 disposals, 12 tackles, nine clearances and a goal) to just two touches, while skipper Hayley Miller (19 disposals, seven tackles and a goal) didn’t touch the ball.

“I think at half-time Hayley might have had six and Bowers four possessions and it was Dana East who led the way,” Dockers coach Trent Cooper said.

“We love what she does. She jumps onto Kiara’s tails at every training session, just follows her around.

“Today we needed her to stand up early and she did. I’m not sure how many tackles she finished up with, but her pressure (was important) and she was clean as well. We were rapt with her game.”

The Dockers’ defence, led by Cuthbertson, kept their side in the game, holding strong against an attacking Giants side who had a whopping eight more inside 50s for the term.

Whatever Cooper said at the break lit a fire in Fremantle, who turned the momentum in a big way, as they got on top in the midfield and locked the ball inside 50 with immense pressure.

This helped the Dockers to a 25-point lead at the main break, with a late 50m gifting East an easy goal from the square after the half-time siren.

Bowers and Miller kicked into gear as they did their best to stop the Giants from making any inroads into the Dockers’ significant lead.

Captain Hayley Miller shook off a quiet first term to dominate for Fremantle.
Camera IconCaptain Hayley Miller shook off a quiet first term to dominate for Fremantle. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

The game became an arm-wrestle as it wore on with neither team able to gain any significant momentum.

After several misses, Ann McMahon kicked the sealer for Fremantle late in the final quarter in one of the heart-warming moments of the game.


FREMANTLE 2.0, 6.4, 6.8, 7.10 (52)

GWS 2.3, 2.3, 2.6, 2.8 (20)

Goals - FREMANTLE: G Houghton 2 E Antonio K Bowers H Miller D East A McMahon. GWS: C Staunton 2.

Best - FREMANTLE: H Miller D East K Bowers E Antonio G O’Sullivan L Pugh J Cuthbertson. GWS: A Eva A Parker K Smith H Zreika N Barr C Staunton

Injuries - FREMANTLE: J Cuthbertson (concussion). GWS: B Beeson (ankle).

Umpires: M Baigent C Brackenrig S Nippress. Crowd: 667 at Victoria University Whitten Oval.

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