AFLW Season 7 Glass Half Full/Empty: West Coast
IN a new approach to the AFL Women’s end of season reviews, Rookie Me Central casts both a glass half full and half empty lens over each side’s campaigns.
Next under the microscope is West Coast, who much like Port Adelaide had moments this season but it did not always click for the Eagles.
GLASS HALF FULL
Emerging young talent
One thing that was very evident with West Coast was how their young talent was really emerging and coming to the fore this season.
The likes of Ella Roberts and Jaide Britton are young and only in their first season in the system, and yet have already well and truly shown what kind of magic they can create on the footy field. Those two are only going to get better as they have more time in the system, and the Eagles still have Lauren Wakfer to come back from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and into the team and show us all what she can do.
Long build from bottom
West Coast was coming from a long way back this season after they turned over more than a third of their Season 6 list, so a huge turnaround this season was never going to happen. But there were so many glimpses and positives from the Eagles this season, so if they keep the majority of the group together they will go a long way.
Key positions locking in
This season really saw the jigsaw pieces of the West Coast puzzle finally come together in terms of getting the right personnel in the key positions. There is McDonald locked in as the key defender option, Roberts in the midfield alongside ruck Lakay, complimented with Kate Bartlett as the key forward.
All the key components are there, now the task is to build the perfect team around that and progress from there.
Fought to the end
One thing that has to be commended when it comes to the Eagles this year is their resilience in games. A two-win season is never easy, but even in many of their losses they never gave up and fought until the end, which must be commended.
GLASS HALF EMPTY
Long grind for development
The Eagles have just finished their fifth season in the AFLW, but have not really seen that much growth for their five seasons. They showed little glimpses of their potential this year, but realistically should be way higher up the ladder by now in their development.
Place for experienced stars?
With the slow development comes the problem that West Coast really has not been a destination club for established stars. They have the youth as previously mentioned, but the Eagles need more experienced stars to compliment their youth, and cannot even dangle the carrot of team success to lure these stars into the club.
Lack of experienced star power?
Following on from the above point, the Eagles are still building their consistent star power week-in, week out, with the likes of Emma Swanson and Dana Hooker proven performers. Aisling McCarthy and Thomas stepped up to the mantle this season and Thomas, along with Roberts have already proven themselves to be long-term stars. If the youngsters can apply more consistency week-in, week-out, then they will continue to grow.
Although the Eagles did show glimpses of their potential this season, they are starting from a long way back so it might take a few more seasons before things really start to click for them.