Eagles, Dockers to start new AFLW rivalry

The Dockers are red-hot favourites to wipe the floor against the Eagles. Picture: Supplied/Twitter
The Dockers are red-hot favourites to wipe the floor against the Eagles. Picture: Supplied/Twitter

WESTERN derby bragging rights will be up for grabs this Saturday, and Fremantle fans will probably come away smiling for a change.

A crowd in excess of 30,000 is expected to turn out for the inaugural AFLW derby between West Coast and Fremantle at Optus Stadium.

The Eagles have dominated the rivalry in the AFL arena, holding an overall ledger of 30-20.

That includes winning the past nine derbies – the most recent being a 91-point rout in July.

But Fremantle are in the box seat to turn the tables when it comes to the women’s contest, with the Dockers red-hot favourites to wipe the floor against the Eagles.

Fremantle reached the AFLW preliminary finals last year and started their 2020 season with an impressive 16-point win over Geelong.

West Coast are in their debut season and booted just one goal in last week’s 27-point loss to Collingwood.

Dockers coach Trent Cooper believes his side deserve the favouritism tag, and says his players need to get used to it.

“With that comes a bit of expectation, but we’re not shying away from that,” Cooper said.

“We want to play finals. We’ll probably start favourites in quite a few games.”

The Eagles have named seven former Dockers players in their team for this week, headlined by Dana Hooker.

“I’m sure there’ll be some extra nerves around seeing some former teammates out there,” Eagles coach Luke Dwyer said.

“But we’re really confident these girls will take that challenge on and be really well prepared.”

Eagles captain Emma Swanson knows all too well the significance of the western derby after growing up in WA.

She said her team would embrace the historic occasion.

“I guess a lot of that tradition and rivalry will be taken into the weekend,” Swanson said.

“It’s a historic moment for female footy and for WA.”