Excellent Eagles finally on the board in 2023

WEST Coast finally got on the 2023 AFLW winners list on Friday night after the Eagles defeated Port Adelaide to open their account.

Speaking post-match, Eagles coach Michael Prior talked up the star individual performances from his team, particularly highlighting the backline including the likes of Charlotte Thomas, Belinda Smith and Sophie McDonald.

“I thought we had some outstanding individual efforts right throughout the team” Prior said.

“Some of the girls that didn’t get a lot of the footy but played on Erin Phillips when she was forward, just those little things. Swanny led from the front in her 50th game, so to get a win in her milestone game was really pleasing because we’ve had a couple in the past and it hasn’t gone our way.

“Charlie Thomas and Bee Smith own back are really performing. I thought Soph Mac, I thought our backline really stood up today and we got some good looks in the midfield as well, and I thought the girls that came into the side really played their role today.”

Prior was also pleased with how much cleaner his side’s ball movement was on Friday night.

“I just said to the girls then, things that we identified from our game against Sydney, we were able to implement tonight which is really pleasing. We did it off the back of no training this week. We had two 10-minute sessions, short week so that might be the key. I said that to the girls and they’re pretty happy with that. So it was pleasing that we implemented some stuff, we got good looks going forward and we hit the scoreboard more than what we have.”

The Eagles also got off to a very good start against the Power, which pleased Prior.

“Well we want a good start every week” he said with a chuckle. “Really what it comes down to is how we attack the contest and the pressure inside the contest and I think we’re sitting fourth or fifth in the comp for that leading into this game, and I thought we just maintained that tonight, so that helps.”

He also spoke about how his group is growing in being able to stand up to the best opposition players in the competition.

“I think we’re going to come up against very good players every week, big players, so our group is growing in there,” Prior said. “Our pressure around the footy has been pretty good for a couple of weeks now, so we have to be able to maintain that but also nullify the quality players from the opposition.”

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