AFLW DOCKERS SUNS
Fremantle have announced themselves as the clear favourites for this season's AFLW flag after pummelling Gold Coast by 70 points in Saturday's semi-final in Perth.
The Dockers were never troubled in the 12.8 (80) to 1.4 (10) win at Fremantle Oval, with the result setting up a preliminary final against Melbourne.
The win was the second largest in AFLW history - just behind the 73-point win the Western Bulldogs posted in 2018 over Carlton.
Best afield Hayley Miller (20 disposals, six clearances) was vital in helping Fremantle to win the midfield battle, while Kiara Bowers (22 disposals, 14 tackles) added important grunt.
Sabreena Duffy (three goals) and Gabby O'Sullivan (two goals, three score assists) were among the players to cash in, while forward Roxy Roux provided her usual spark.
Fremantle ended the regular season with a perfect 6-0 record, and their performance against Gold Coast is sure to send a shiver through their flag rivals.
North Melbourne were the other standout team during the regular season, but they were almost knocked out of the premiership race on Saturday before winning their semi-final over Collingwood by two points.
Fremantle coach Trent Cooper did his best to play down his team's favouritism for their preliminary final showdown with the Demons, and he's confident his girls will handle the external pressure.
"I don't know that we've really proven anything yet against the top sides," Cooper said.
"Internally, the expectations have always been there, and that hasn't changed.
"I don't think they're a group that really worry too much about what's said outside - they just focus on inside."
The Suns weren't only pummelled on the scoreboard - but also physically.
Tiarna Ernst and Jasmyn Hewett suffered game-ending concussions, while numerous other players were helped off the field nursing bumps and bruises.
Gold Coast's luck was so bad that Jordan Hickey was stung by a bee on the bench when the visitors were down to just one rotation.
The Suns finished fourth in their conference, but they qualified for the semi-finals after the AFLW brought forward the finals and expanded it to eight teams amid the coronavirus crisis.
"Every good ride comes to an end somewhere, and we've been on a hell of a ride and we've had a lot of fun," Suns coach David Lake said.
"What a great experience to now lock into your mind and say, 'That's the level we need to get to'."