WEST Coast had a tough debut in the NAB AFLW competition, winning just the one game and struggling to hit the scoreboard.
The Eagles saw their fair share of thumpings in their baptism of fire season, but debuted 13 players and did at least get the opportunity to sing their song.
Over the next few weeks, womens.afl will look at each of the seasons of the 14 AFLW teams, kicking off proceedings with Adelaide and moving alphabetically from there.
Coach: Luke Dwyer
Leadership group: Emma Swanson (captain), Dana Hooker (vice-captain), Maddy Collier, Courtney Guard, Alicia Janz
2020 finishing position: Seventh (last) in Conference B, one win, five losses, 32.1 per cent.
Best win: West Coast 4.6 (30) defeated Western Bulldogs 3.8 (26), round four
The club's first AFLW win was also its only four points for the season. The Eagles were on their home deck and comfortably kicked their highest score. Emma Swanson and the Kelly sisters, Niamh and Grace, led the way for the Eagles.
Best individual performance: West Coast may have been comprehensively outplayed by Gold Coast in round six, but Dana Hooker stood firm in the midfield. The experienced campaigner recorded a career-high 31 disposals, along with six marks and six tackles.
Club best and fairest candidates: Emma Swanson, Dana Hooker, Parris Laurie
NAB AFLW Rising Star nominations: Nil
Debutants: Emily Bonser, Mikayla Bowen, Hayley Bullas, Imahra Cameron, Mhicca Carter, Ashton Hill, Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly, Sophie McDonald, Kate Orme, Chantella Perera, Danika Pisconeri, Tarnee Tester
Star recruit (existing AFLW player): We finally got to see an injury-free season from Emma Swanson in her fourth season in the competition. The midfielder was elected captain this year and her performance went to another level, averaging 17 disposals and five tackles a game.
Star recruit (open-age or draftee): Mikayla Bowen didn't at all look out of her depth in her first year of AFLW. A star junior, Bowen was added to the side as an under-age expansion selection, and the contested midfielder slotted in nicely to the top level.
Unsung hero: In a season where the ball was in defence an awful lot, Chantella Perera stood firm. The 33-year-old key back and former WNBL player was in her first season of AFLW but provided some composure to defence.
- While too much was left to the pair, the acquisition of Emma Swanson and Dana Hooker was a shrewd move. The high-quality midfielders were clear standouts in a tough season, and form a strong leadership core.
What needs improvement:
- Scoring was comfortably West Coast's biggest issue in 2020, averaging just 1.8 goals a game, the lowest of any club. Once inside 50, the Eagles only scored 24.8% of the time, again, a competition-low. Hayley Bullas was the only player to kick more than one goal.
- While injuries meant a revolving door at selection, making it difficult to build continuity, controlling play was a big problem for West Coast. The team averaged the fewest marks, effective kicks and inside-50s in the competition, and the second-fewest overall disposals, kicks and handballs.
Season in a song: Bad Day (Daniel Powter). While the win against the Dogs was comfortably the high point, the Eagles' average losing margin of 36.8 was the worst in the competition.
Early call for 2021: Like Richmond, West Coast is still a fair way off the pace. Two wins and smaller losing margins should be the Eagles' aim.
Season rating: 3/10