Great Southern women play historic first Eagles game

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The Eagles before their first match against Collingwood on Sunday.
Camera IconThe Eagles before their first match against Collingwood on Sunday. Credit: AFL Photos/Getty Images

Great Southern trio Parris Laurie, Belinda Smith and Sophie McDonald were part of the West Coast Eagles’ historic first women’s team to play in the AFLW competition, falling to Collingwood at Victoria Park on Sunday.

The Eagles fell 27 points short of a fairytale win in their first game as an experienced Magpies outfit kicked three goals to nil after half-time on their way to a comfortable 5.8 (38) to 1.5 (11) win.

Dana Hooker kicked the Eagles’ first goal and it was their only major of the round one contest.

Laurie, who hails from Denmark, was signed by the Eagles after playing with Fremantle last year and shouldered the ruck duties in their round one fixture.

Eagles’ Parris Laurie competes in the ruck against Magpies’ Sharni Layton.
Camera IconEagles’ Parris Laurie competes in the ruck against Magpies’ Sharni Layton. Credit: Kelly Defina

She finished with 15 hitouts, eight disposals and two tackles.

McDonald was raised in Albany and drafted by the Eagles this season, and she played at centre half back, collecting four touches and laying three tackles.

The game was the 19-year-old’s AFLW debut, having turned her back on a promising hockey career to take up football. Starting in a back pocket, Pingrup’s Smith impressed in defence to finish with seven disposals and two tackles in her first showing for the Eagles.

Eagles’ Sophie McDonald contests with Magpies’ Sharni Layton.
Camera IconEagles’ Sophie McDonald contests with Magpies’ Sharni Layton. Credit: Getty Images

“It was our third ever game together. There was a lot to like ... but we probably fell a little bit short in some of the contests,” Eagles coach Luke Dwyer said.

Having grown up playing for the Lake Grace-Pingrup Bombers, Smith is now at her third AFLW club after stints with Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs. The Great Southern products and their teammates now have their attention firmly focused on their round two clash with the Dockers.

The first women’s derby between the two clubs will be played at Optus Stadium on Saturday, starting at 4.10pm. For Smith and Laurie, it will be the first game against their former club.

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