Ninth loss of the season for West Coast as they finish AFLW season as wooden spooners

Cameron Newbold and Eliza ReillyAlbany Advertiser
Eagles’ Belinda Smith of the Eagles in action against North Melbourne.
Camera IconEagles’ Belinda Smith of the Eagles in action against North Melbourne. Credit: Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images

A ninth defeat of the season ensured the West Coast Eagles claimed the wooden spoon in the AFLW competition, after a final round loss to North Melbourne on Saturday.

The Eagles side, containing Great Southern trio Belinda Smith, Parris Laurie and Sophie McDonald, fell short in the round 10 clash at Arden Street Oval.

Despite a strong start, the Eagles went down by 39 points as the Kangaroos kicked seven unanswered goals at one stage of the match.

While the Eagles claimed their maiden wooden spoon in a season that yielded just one win, the Great Southern products were all solid contributors in the 9.5 (59) to 3.2 (20) loss.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Emma King of the North Melbourne Kangaroos takes a contested mark during the round 10 AFLW match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the West Coast Eagles at Arden Street Ground on March 12, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)
Camera IconKangaroos’ Emma King takes a contested mark. Credit: Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images

Pingrup’s Smith toiled hard in defence yet again, and finished with 13 disposals, five marks and three tackles.

Albany key defender McDonald also battled hard despite the Kangaroos winning the inside 50 count, 47-14.

McDonald collected nine possessions, two marks and laid three tackles deep in defence.

Denmark-raised Laurie also had nine touches to go with three clearances, two marks and 15 hit-outs.

Prolific Kangaroos midfielder Ashleigh Riddell broke the AFLW record for the most disposals in a match, surpassing Adelaide’s Anne Hatchard’s previous benchmark of 35 to finish with 42, 15 of which were contested.

West Coast have only tasted victory four times in their first three AFLW seasons, walking away from 2022 with a sole win against St Kilda in round three.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Sophie McDonald of the Eagles is pictured during the round 10 AFLW match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the West Coast Eagles at Arden Street Ground on March 12, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)
Camera IconEagles defender Sophie McDonald. Credit: Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images

The Eagles lost their final three games of the year by a combined 173 points.

Coach Michael Prior vowed to remain in charge of the Eagles next season.

“Our group is crying out for a bit of stability,” he said.

“We’ll give our girls a chance and I’ll hang around. They’ll have to kick me out the door.

“No team wants to win the wooden spoon, that’s for sure, but we look at the positives and what we can take out of this year. We know where we’re at and where we’re heading.

“We’re all in this together and we’re going to look to get better pretty quickly.

“Finishing last on the ladder will really hurt them but drive them forward.”

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