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WAFLW Round 1 Wrap

Monday, February 22, 2021 - 3:45 PM by Owen Davies

The 2021 Optus WAFLW Premiership Season kicked off on Saturday afternoon at David Grays Arena on what was a perfect day for footy.

The Premiership flag was unveiled in front of a healthy crowd as the Premiers of the first two WAFLW seasons went head-to-head.

Aided by the breeze in the opening quarter, East Freo got off to the perfect start when Rachel Ashley kicked the first goal in the opening minute. 

The opening goal sprung the home side into action, Fremantle listed player Katie-Jayne Grieve back in Thunder colours for the first time since 2019, was instrumental through the midfield with 7 first quarter disposals providing real drive into the forward line.

The dynamic forward line duo of Kate Bartlett and Ella Roberts both hit the scoreboard in the first quarter. Bartlett firstly crumbed and snapped through a goal sharply on her left foot for her first of the season. The talented teenager Roberts soon followed by taking a contested grab and converted the resulting set-shot into the wind from 35m out to see the Thunder take a 5-point lead into the quarter time huddle.

In the second Jaide Briggs, a train-on player with Fremantle for most of the summer made a major impact, firstly winning a free kick from a forward line ruck contest and going back and slotting the goal. East Freo responded with a goal of their own before Abby Barnden found Briggs again about 40m out. Briggs kick carried the pack in the goal square and bounced through for her second of the afternoon.

Another forward entry from Grieve found open space and Ella Roberts showed why she will be a coveted AFLW player for years to come, surging onto the loose ball and snapping truly at speed. The Thunder taking a commanding 3-goal lead into half-time.

The third quarter was all about Kate Bartlett, the gun forward was influential with the Sharks unable to stop her on the lead as she had 6 possessions and 3 marks for the term. She then converted a long set shot kick into the breeze. The Thunder held up strongly in defence with new club Captain Cassie Davidson repelled numerous deep entries as East Fremantle failed to kick a goal even with the breeze at their backs.

Jaide Britton put on some great tackle pressure and had 6 possessions in the last. Katie-Jayne Grieve finished the game strongly, firstly setting up Greta McKinley in the goal square and then belted the ball forward. Kate Bartlett swooped on the ball in traffic and snapped through her third for the game as the Thunder comfortably went on to win 8.7 (55) to 3.5 (23).

Katie-Jayne Grieve was excellent on her return to the club with 15 disposals and 6 tackles, Jade Briggs was influential as a linking player at half forward with 17 disposals, 5 tackles and 2 goals. Kate Bartlett and Ella Roberts, who could possibly be the best forward line duo in the competition, showed that they will be a threat from anywhere inside the arc with 5 goals and 30 disposals combined.

The Thunder now look ahead to next weekend’s Grand Final re-match with Subiaco at Leederville.






8.7 (55)





3.5 (23)

PEEL GOALS: 3 K Bartlett, 2 E Roberts J Briggs, 1 G McKinley

PEEL BEST: J Briggs, K Bartlett, K-J Grieves, H Church, E Roberts


The new look Rogers Cup outfit featured sixteen new players, with four kicking their first goal. 

Megan Bain opened the scoring for the home side through a 50m penalty early in the opening term before Paige Vos added a second before quarter time.

Holly Britton and Tajah Griffiths added on in the second quarter as the Thunder kept the Sharks scoreless in the second period to take a commanding 4.2 to 1.0 lead into the half time break.

The scoring dried up in the second half for the Thunder with the side only mustering 5 behinds. The Sharks fought back gallantly and brought the game to within a kick in the closing moments of the game, the Thunder winning a crucial centre clearance as they clung on for a 3pt victory.

Lily Jetten and Megan Bain were both outstanding on the wings, Jorja Haines played a solid game on ball, the Thompson sisters Charlize and Jordain were both massive at each end. 






4.7 (31)





4.4 (28)

PEEL GOALS: M Bain, P Vos, H Britton, T Griffiths

PEEL BEST: M Bain, Jetten, Westra, J Haines, C Thompson


In the Reserves the Sharks proved too strong for a highly rated Thunder side that featured multiple League Premiership players. 

Starting slowly out of the blocks, the girls struggled to clear the ball from defence with the Sharks able to get a lot of repeat entries and put up an early score that proved too hard to recover from.

Whitney Benson was great down back in the opening half, repelling a number of the Sharks forays into attack, while Skipper Van Peer also provided a target and some dash on the wing.

With the ball locked deep in the East Freo forward line for most of the first half it was hard for Premiership players Kira Phillips and Bailey Molloy to really make an impact at the other end. Phillips did eventually mark and convert the Thunder’s opening goal in the second quarter before spending much of the second half down back to help stem the flow and provide some direction out of defence.  Narelle McIntyre, in her first game as Player Coach, worked tirelessly in attack and made the most of her limited opportunities by kicking a goal.

Premiership Captain Krystal Carter, extremely unlucky to miss out on League selection, toiled hard through the midfield but ultimately the girls couldn’t break through the Sharks defence as they sunk to a 29-point defeat.

Despite the loss it was great to see Tessa Kongras - one of two Rogers Cup girls that played up a grade kick her first goal.






3.1 (19)





6.12 (48)

PEEL GOALS: K Phillips, N McIntyre, T Kongras

PEEL BEST: K Carter, M Minchin