Michelle Cowan says she would love to see a record-breaking crowd turn out for the inaugural AFLW western derby at Optus Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking on Episode 7 of Sport Insights with Emageo, West Coast AFLW Assistant Coach Cowan said while the focus early in the week would have been on reviewing their round one loss to Collingwood they would quickly turn their attention to Fremantle.
“We want to embrace what it actually is but we want to just stick our head down and move on and get to work,” Cowan said. “It’s just such an incredible group of girls who are just getting along so well and are so united that they are certainly hungry to get out there and it will be exciting at Optus Stadium.
“There’s a lot of respect for Fremantle and they’ve started their campaign off incredibly well. We saw the addition of Kiara Bowers, the influence that does have on the weekend. She’s a fantastic leader and they’ve got some great young talent in Sabreena Duffy and Gemma Houghton playing really well as well.
“I look across their playing group and a lot of them are still really good friends as well but I think once you cross that white line it’s game on.”
Cowan, who was the inaugural Fremantle AFLW coach, expects a fierce contest early on.
“I think in AFLW those first five minutes it’s generally a hot footy with lots of contested footy,” she said. “Hopefully once we get through those five minutes we can play our style and our brand of footy.”
And she wants to see the stands packed.
“It would be nice,” Cowan said. “We had 53,000 people watch the AFLW grand final last season with Adelaide Crows and Carlton (in Adelaide). That’s the current record for women’s sport in Australia so if we can see 60,000 come to Optus Stadium then we can hold that record.”