Home

AFLW season seven starts as Mid West stars prepare to shine

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Julia Teakle, centre, had an outstanding season for East Fremantle. Pictured with her are Hayley O’Donnell (no.4) and Ashleigh Gomes (no.35).
Camera IconJulia Teakle, centre, had an outstanding season for East Fremantle. Pictured with her are Hayley O’Donnell (no.4) and Ashleigh Gomes (no.35). Credit: WAFL/Tom Campbell/RegionalHUB

The AFLW started on Thursday, as for the second time this week one of the biggest rivalries in footy took centre stage as Carlton faced off against Collingwood.

In just six years the competition has gone from eight teams and a seven-game season to a full 18-team competition as the growth of women’s football has exploded since the AFLW’s inception.

Three players from the Mid West and Gascoyne will be flying the flag for the region headlined by recent Port Adelaide signing Julia Teakle, who if selected will make her debut, along with her team, in her home State of WA as they take on the Eagles this Saturday.

You could barely script a better story as Teakle would become the latest in a line of elite football talent from the fertile grounds of Northampton just months after her cousin Brynn made one of the more memorable debuts in recent times.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.

READ NOW

Hopefully, Teakle can avoid injury should she get the nod and the Power could spring a surprise over the Eagles despite being one of four expansion sides this year.

Teakle averaged two goals a game in the WAFLW this season and was second in the league despite only playing 13 out of 17 games which also helped her win rookie of the year. She did play in the Power’s practice match loss to Essendon on August 13 and is likely to line up in the forward role.

She will be alongside newly appointed captain Erin Phillips, the most decorated player in league history, after she made the switch from Adelaide to play for the club her father Greg made himself a legend in the SANFL.

You would struggle to find anyone better to learn from in the league and Teakle will gain invaluable experience lining up alongside her.

The Eagles have had a turbulent offseason losing five players to retirement and bringing on 15 new players including seven from the draft in what will be a very different side from the one that won the spoon last year.

But they did kick their highest ever score in a preseason win over Hawthorn 11.4 (70) to 6.5 (41) before pushing Fremantle 2.7 (19) to 2.1 (13) in atrocious conditions.

They will turn to the experience of Emma Swanson and Dana Hooker to help guide the inexperienced side that will be hoping to better their one win last season.

For both the Power and Eagles it will be a season to gel and build for future years in what should be a fantastic clash out Mineral Resources Park at 1:10pm.

Dongara’s Roxy Roux and Mim Strom, from Exmouth, will both be back in action for Fremantle in what could be a tough year for the side coming off their fifth-placed finish last year.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Roxanne Roux of Fremantle attempts to mark the ball during the AFLW Qualifying Final match between North Melbourne Kangaroos and Fremantle Dockers at Arden Street Ground on March 19, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Camera IconRoxanne Roux of Fremantle attempts to mark the ball during the AFLW qualifying final match between North Melbourne Kangaroos and Fremantle Dockers at Arden Street Ground on March 19. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

After missing on finals glory because of COVID when they were unbeaten 2020 the team has slid back behind the likes of Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane in recent seasons.

They have already been cruelled by injury already as Ebony Antonio suffered a PCL injury in their practice match win over West Coast joining her wife Kara on the sidelines while they lost Gemma Houghton to Port.

They also got smashed in their first preseason match against Richmond by 63 points managing just one goal against the Tigers.

But the Mid West duo could play key roles if Freo are to mount a challenge this season now with three seasons worth of experience under their belts.

Mim Strom this season.
Camera IconMim Strom this season. Credit: Will Russell/via Getty Images

Strom was the lone dedicated ruck in her first two seasons working under legend Aaron Sandilands before Aine Tighe joined her last year and she produced her best season.

She averaged 13.5 hit-outs, 4 tackles and 8.5 disposals a game last season — all career bests — and played well in their preseason clash against West Coast.

Roux was support for Strom in the ruck in her first few seasons but the acquirement of Tighe should free her up to play a more dedicated role in the forward.

With the loss of Houghton and Antonio, there is certainly a hole to fill and Roux could really lay down her mark in their absence to progress from emerging talent to full-blown star.

Fremantle will start their season against Brisbane at the Gabba on Sunday at 12.10pm.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails