Punt that paid

Rookies pull off stunning cup win

THE South Fremantle women’s AFL youth team is on cloud nine after an extraordinary win at the Rogers Cup Premiership last Saturday. 

With 15 debutants this season, the team’s 42-point grand final win against Peel Thunder was so emphatic it could bring long-suffering Docker’s fans to tears after after 26 barren years and excuses about “rebuilding”.  

Bulldogs club manager Marty Atkins and coach Adrian Ivancich are ecstatic and say the team spirit was unlike anything they have seen in 10 years of football.

“If I could bottle the team morale for every year, I would – they were so mentally positive and strong for the final,” Mr Ivancich said, adding that training young women was refreshing because of their eagerness to learn.

“If Longmuir wants some tips for the Dockers, just tell him to give me a call,” he laughed.

Dockers

The win was even more extraordinary given that Mr Ivancich didn’t have a team a week and a half before the first game. He literally went down to the South Coogee junior footy club to watch its year 9s and 11s play, telling the coach he needed the best seven or eight to join the WAWFL big league.

Captain Taite Lanske said leading the team was easy because of how quickly they gelled: “This is my fifth season and third grand final, I just try to lead by example,” she said.

Covid-19 restrictions shortened this year’s season to just seven games, which Mr Ivancich said prompted him to focus less on strategy and more on having fun and building morale. It came after a couple of heartbreaking grand final losses in previous years.

The team’s great season has seen Lanske come to the attention of talent scouts from rival teams as she transitions towards the women’s league, but she says South Freo’s camaraderie means the world to her. 

“I want to be a one-club player,” she said.

by STACEY HARDING 

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