Freo, Eagles brace for long AFLW road trip

Justin Chadwick |

Coach Trent Cooper thinks Fremantle will land a stretch of home games at the end of the AFLW season.
Coach Trent Cooper thinks Fremantle will land a stretch of home games at the end of the AFLW season.

Fremantle coach Trent Cooper is confident his team will be rewarded with a series of home games at the back-end of the AFLW season once Western Australia’s border reopens.

The Dockers started their campaign with a 28-point win over cross-town rivals West Coast at Fremantle Oval on Saturday.

With WA’s border closed to the rest of Australia, both teams will now have to head over east until premier Mark McGowan flings open the doors on February 5.

The Dockers will take on GWS, Richmond, Collingwood, and North Melbourne away before returning home for the round six clash with Carlton on February 12.

Fremantle are also scheduled to host Adelaide at Fremantle Oval in round eight, while the locations are still yet to be set for their round nine match against Melbourne and round 10 encounter with the Western Bulldogs.

West Coast will spend the next five matches on the road, with their next home game not scheduled until round seven against Richmond on February 19.

Some question marks still surround the nature of what WA’s border will look like when it opens, or even if there may be a delay given the huge COVID-19 outbreaks in the rest of the country.

Cooper is optimistic that Fremantle will be able to host their scheduled home games.

“Pretty confident,” Cooper said. 

“Everyone we’re speaking to is saying Feb 5 will be the day.

“We’re really looking forward to the trip away. We know there will be some challenges but we’re looking forward to getting away and seeing how many of those games we can win.”

West Coast coach Michael Prior said the extended trip away will be a good test for his side.

The Eagles will take on Gold Coast, Adelaide, St Kilda, Geelong, and Collingwood during that stretch.

“We’re really looking forward to the hub,” Prior said. 

“If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best anywhere in Australia. But it will be a great experience, the girls get to be full-time athletes.”

West Coast trailed Fremantle by just five points at three-quarter time, but were blown away in the final term as the Dockers booted three unanswered goals with the aid of a strong breeze.

It improved Fremantle’s record to 4-0 in derbies, and Prior felt his team’s structures fell away under pressure.

“I just said to the girls in the rooms that any game of football tells you a story. The story it tells us today is that we weren’t good enough in the first quarter,” Prior said.