'We're more than happy to do so': Dockers prepared for potential hubs

FREMANTLE is prepared to go into a hub if required during the 2021 NAB AFLW season.

While a last resort given the part-time nature of the AFLW and consequent external work commitments of players, the Western Australian border and COVID-19 quarantine restrictions in the state could prove a fixturing issue for next year's season, set to kick off in February. 

"We've talked to our girls about that possibility, we're very positive if it comes about that we can hit those hubs in a positive mindset and enjoy that time together," Cooper told womens.afl.

"The key is to have as short as possible time away from work. If we have to play games closer together than normal, we'd be up for that challenge for sure.

"We're very fortunate to have Kate Starre as our high-performance manager. She has basically had her whole professional life in hubs coming from hockey, involved in Olympics as a player and specialist coach, so she's well-versed in what it takes to succeed in that environment.

"Fingers crossed we don't have to, but we're more than happy to do so."

The Dockers have quickly moved on from last season's abrupt ending, where the undefeated side was poised to play Melbourne in a preliminary final before the COVID-caused cancellation.

"We've moved on from that and we know what last season gave us was momentum for this year. We'll go back to 0-0 and we won't get any credit for last year, and neither do North Melbourne, Carlton and Melbourne, who were still in it," Cooper said.

"We want to go back and prove ourselves again, but it did give us really good momentum, so we want to take that into 2021."

AFLW Match Highlights: Fremantle v Gold Coast

05:25 Mar 21. 2020. 6:54 PM

The Dockers and Suns clash in the AFLW semi-finals

One of the feel-good stories from the 2020 NAB AFLW Draft was the re-drafting of midfielder Tiah Haynes by Fremantle.

"She was delisted just before I came onto the scene here (after the 2018 season), and we were looking at picking her up, but she did her ACL during the WAFLW season," Cooper said.

"Last year she was back but not convincing, and then this year, she's really got her body right. She's a lot stronger, her running's really good and she's had a great season for Subiaco. 

"It was a very popular decision amongst our girls when we picked her up, because she's a great character, a really hard worker and she's versatile as well, so she can play a number of positions for her, so it's great to have her back in the group."

AFLW: Haynes hurt in sling tackle

Feb 18. 2017. 1:30 PM

Fremantle's Tiah Haynes leaves the field after a heavy tackle

Cooper said ruck Aine Tighe (currently in hotel quarantine after returning from Ireland) and the hard-running Steph Cain are both on track to play in the early rounds of the season in their comebacks from knee reconstructions. 

Defender Ann McMahon – who broke one leg and tore her ACL in the other in a horrific workplace accident in her role as a police officer – is a little behind the pair, but expected to be available for selection at some point in 2021.


Gabby O'Sullivan
"She had an outstanding WAFLW season. The girls only played limited games, I think they played four games and then finals if they made it. She was outstanding for East Fremantle, so look for her to carry that form into the season. 

Hayley Miller
"She was again instrumental in Subiaco's charge, she's really passionate about her WAFLW and went back and captained 'Subi' and got them into the Grand Final.

Laura Pugh
"She finished her AFLW season strongly and had a great final against Gold Coast, and took that form into the WAFLW season and was very good for Claremont down back. She was a mature-age recruit and plays what others might consider a minor role in the backline, but she does a good job and really stood up in a couple of games this year, particularly against Collingwood when we were under the pump."