Swans fall short of Sharks in WAFLW Grand Final

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - 12:53 PM by Chris Pike

SWAN Districts put together a stunning run of form to book a spot in the first ever WAFLW Grand Final on Saturday but in the end it was East Fremantle who proved too strong to claim the inaugural premiership.

Swan Districts entered Saturday's Grand Final in some tremendous form having qualified courtesy of a five-game winning streak which culminated in the impressive victory over minor premiers Subiaco in the preliminary Final.

That five-game winning run had included a win over East Fremantle as well for Swan Districts with both teams entering the Grand Final on the back of having beaten Subiaco to do so.

That set the stage for what had the makings of a mouth-watering WAFLW Grand Final to conclude the first ever season of the new, groundbreaking competition in WA football.

It proved to be an exciting day at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park to mark the occasion as well with more than 3000 people turning out to watch the main even between Swan Districts and East Fremantle with the Grand Final also broadcast live on Channel 7.

East Fremantle and Swan Districts had won the last two premierships in the WA Women's Football League as well with the Sharks winning the flag in 2018 by beating Subiaco in the Grand Final after Swans had not only won the league premiership in 2017, but won the Youth Girls and reserves as well.

Everything was pointing towards a tremendous Grand Final and it was a high quality affair to showcase the WAFLW competition, but East Fremantle was able to start strongly by kicking the only two goals of the opening quarter.

Swan Districts did get on the board with their first goal of the Grand Final in the second term, but East Fremantle also added a further three majors to head into half-time with a 25-point advantage.

Swans were going to have to find something special in the second half to get back into the contest and they did mount a charge in the third quarter. The black-and-whites kicked two goals to one for the quarter to close the gap to 19 points by three quarter-time.

So Swans were close enough if good enough going into the fourth quarter but it wasn’t to be with East Fremantle kicking two goals to one to end up winning 8.3 (51) to 4.4 (28) and to claim the inaugural WAFLW premiership.

There were plenty of standout performers in the premiership triumph for East Fremantle with none better in the Grand Final than Gabby O'Sullivan who continues to split her time between playing WAFLW with the Sharks, AFLW at the Fremantle and playing in the State Basketball League with the Perry Lakes Hawks. 

O'Sullivan was recognised as best afield and received the Lou Knitter Medal as a result.

Roxanne Roux and Stephanie Sparke kicked two goals apiece for East Fremantle as well while Ashlee Atkins, Karly Tapner, O'Sullivan and Rachel Ashley also kicked a goal each.

As well as O'Sullivan being a standout performer, Evie Gooch, Roux, Atkins and Samara Pluschke were all outstanding for the Sharks.

Swan Districts' four goals in the Grand Final came courtesy of Ashley Sharp, Kellie Gibson, Mikayla Hyde and Shanae Davison.

Mim Strom produced another tremendous performance in the ruck showing that she is one of the most exciting young prospects in the game and has quite the exciting future in AFLW. 

She was named the best player for Swan Districts in the Grand Final while Stephanie Cain, Ashley Sharp, Kellie Gibson and Mikayla Bowen were among the others who delivered impressive performances.

OPTUS WAFLW GRAND FINAL

SWAN DISTRICTS        0.1    1.2    3.2    4.4    (28)
EAST FREMANTLE        2.1    5.3    6.3    8.3    (51)

SWAN DISTRICTS – Goals: Sharp, Gibson, Hyde, Davison.
Best: Strom, Cain, Sharp, Gibson, Bowen.
EAST FREMANTLE – Goals: Roux, Sparke 2; Atkins, Tapner, O'Sullivan, Ashley.
Best: O'Sullivan, Gooch, Roux, Atkins, Pluschke.

LOU KNITTER MEDAL – Gabby O'Sullivan (East Fremantle)