A SERIES of moves – by a mixture of design and coincidence – helped Hawthorn win its second straight game of the AFL Women’s season, taking out West Coast by three points in a blustery Frankston last night. Hawthorn coach Bec Goddard was the mastermind behind the moves, which included Jess Duffin going forward to boot three goals in the second term, and Aileen Gilroy moving on-ball.
In terms of the emotions post-game following the hard-fought 6.8 (44) to 6.5 (41) win, Goddard said it felt “amazing”.
“It was great to have so many fans here tonight and come out and support the girls,” Goddard said. It was a terrific night for football and we got the result we wanted.”
The game was not without its challenges, with a strong breeze blowing to the beach end. West Coast won the toss and took advantage of that wind, booting four goals to one in the opening term, before the Hawks kicked the next four to hit the front by eight points at the main break.
“I think the conditions, the wind played a significant impact on the contest,” Goddard said. The team that came in with a plan for both of those.. with the win and without the wind, the team that did that the best was always going to win the game. We felt like we didn’t deviate from our plan tonight, even when West Coast won the toss and got the wind. We knew they were going score, we stayed calm and we got on with it when we had our time.”
The match-winner in the end proved to be Duffin who drifted forward to follow her opponent into the attacking 50. In a remarkable term, the defender – who also took the majority of the kickouts for the game – Duffin slotted three goals to steer her side to the lead.
“I love Jess Duffin, what a great player,” Goddard said. Was it coaching genius or is Jess Duffin just great? We knew that West Coast would drop someone back and the way to match that was to always drop a back there and she’s as we know she’s an unbelievably good intercept mark and she just had her moments tonight. When the ball came in she just looked so dangerous and she’s a very good kick.”
The other key move – which occurred from the opening bounce – was moving Gilroy on-ball to add some size and extra speed into the midfield.
“We felt we needed a bigger body on the ball,” Goddard said. West Coast have got some really big, experienced midfielders. Emma Swanson is an All-Australian player and we wanted to have some size in there tonight to help out our younger bodied midfielders and in the end we didn’t need to worry too much about that because Jaz Fleming really stood up to the challenge and looked so experienced against that elite midfielders also.”
Speaking of Fleming, Round 5’s Rising Star had another outstanding performance, providing plenty of burst from the stoppage and teamed up well with the likes of Gilroy, and fellow first-year player Charlotte Baskaran.
“The thing about Jaz and Charlotte and all of the young girls on our team is that they’re all in Year 12 and they’re all studying and then they come to footy and study as well and learn as each week goes by,” Goddard said. The fact that she was able to put together that game tonight. She keeps getting better as each game goes by. Her run and carry, her smarts with the football, were just incredible. She really set the team up for success tonight.”
Next week the Hawks return to Frankston to host Port Adelaide from 7:10pm on Saturday, October 8 where Goddard will reacquaint herself with some of her premiership players she coached to the inaugural AFL Women’s flag.
“It will be good to match ourselves against some of the best in the competition,” Goddard said. Erin Phillips is obviously an elite player, Ange Foley is also in some really good form, and they’ve got some really good young players as well and our young players will be ready for that challenge too.”