AFLW 2022: West Coast push for extra home game Eagles, Fremantle Dockers depart Perth for Victorian hub

Headshot of Eliza Reilly
Eliza ReillyThe West Australian
Fremantle and West Coast shared a charter flight to Melbourne.
Camera IconFremantle and West Coast shared a charter flight to Melbourne. Credit: West Coast Eagles

West Coast are pushing to have their round six clash against Collingwood relocated to Mineral Resources as compensation for playing five straight matches interstate.

The Eagles have been hit hardest by a fixture rewrite and are due to play Gold Coast, Adelaide, St Kilda and Geelong during their Victorian hub stint.

West Coast are then due to return home after their round five Friday night clash against Geelong, coinciding with WA’s border opening on February 5, but will return to Melbourne just five days later to face Collingwood at Victoria Park.

Fremantle’s Jasmin Stewart gets on the plane with her pilow.
Camera IconFremantle’s Jasmin Stewart gets on the plane with her pilow. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times

The Dockers will return to Perth after their round five match against North Melbourne but host Carlton at Fremantle Oval the following weekend.

Senior coach Michael Prior said the club was hoping to get the fixture flipped, having already lost two home games from the original AFLW fixture release.

“We originally had six home games and now we’re down to four,” Prior said.

West Coast assistant coach Michelle Cowan
Camera IconWest Coast assistant coach Michelle Cowan Credit: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times

“We understand the fixture has to change based on what’s going on but we come back to Perth and we’re here for five days and then we’re due to go back and play Collingwood.

“We’re trying to get that changed so hopefully the AFL understand our girls have jobs and they need to get back to work. We’re trying to get that fixture and the Richmond fixture flipped so hopefully they see that and help us out in that regard.”

Both Fremantle and West Coast are set to enter a ‘bubble’ once they arrive in Melbourne in a calculated bid to outrun COVID.

Fremantle star Kara Antonio holds Leo Webb, son of assistant coach Lisa Webb.
Camera IconFremantle star Kara Antonio holds Leo Webb, son of assistant coach Lisa Webb. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times

Cafes and restaurants will be off-limits, restrictions will be placed on how much time players can spend together indoors and both clubs will spend most of their time at their respective hotels.

Dockers defender Ange Stannett said the isolation would work in Fremantle’s favour.

“Anything we can do to mitigate any risk, we want to have 30 girls fit and fighting to get out there every week. The more we can protect ourselves and make smart decisions, we’ll be doing that,” she said.

“We’ve already started coming up with strategies to keep our mind busy. There will definitely be lots of outdoor activities in the Botanic Gardens, whatever we can do to keep ourselves busy, we’ll be doing.”

Prior added: “We think we may be able to get an advantage living in a hotel. Obviously the Melbourne clubs, their girls are still going to work so there’s more chance and risk for them. It’s going to be survival of the fittest.”

But even if both clubs dodge the virus, the possibility remains their opponents don’t and games are postponed anyway.

“We have to adapt,” Prior said.

“We can’t control what other teams do. There shouldn’t be anyone involved on game day who has COVID so we’re safe in that respect.”

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