Dons' first-half blitz sets up AFLW win

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Essendon ruck Stephanie Wales has put on a first-half masterclass to help lift her side to a crushing 52-point AFLW win over West Coast at Mineral Resources Park.

The Bombers kicked the opening nine goals of Sunday's match en route to the 13.6 (84) to 4.8 (32) victory.

Wales was the key cog in the early onslaught, snaring three goals in the first half to set the tone.

The 19-year-old kicked the opening goal of the match with a 45-metre set shot, and followed it through a strong mark on the goal line later in the term.

The demolition continued in the second quarter when Wales kicked truly on the run from 40m.

"I was actually trying to get her to be a bit more behind the football," Essendon coach Natalie Wood said.

"But then she drifted forward and took that first kick. You've got to let that go."

Essendon's first-half of 9.4 (58) was the highest in AFLW history, beating Adelaide's 9.2 (56) from their 2019 grand final win over Carlton.

West Coast's first goal of the match didn't come until the dying minutes of the first half, when Imahra Cameron snapped truly from the tightest of angles.

By that stage the lead was already 56 points and it was game over.

"Our start was a concern," Eagles coach Michael Prior said.

"I think more than anything it's mental, and we need to get on top of that.

"The girls need to look at how they prepare for games. If it's not working, try some different things.

"We'll do the same as coaches with our pre-match routine and our warm-up and so forth."

Wales tallied just one possession in the second half, but had already inflicted the necessary damage.

Star Bombers midfielder Madison Prespakis was best afield with 22 disposals, two goals and two score assists, while Paige Scott (three goals), Daria Bannister (14 disposals, two goals), and Jessica Wuetschner (two goals) were also crucial.

Eagles captain Emma Swanson battled valiantly to finish with 25 disposals and eight clearances, while Ella Roberts (17 disposals, five clearances) and Aimee Schmidt (two goals) were also among their team's best.

The result lifted expansion side Essendon (2-1) into sixth spot, while West Coast (1-2) are 13th.

Prespakis appeared to injure her shoulder before half-time but was able to play out the match.

"I don't think there's anything significant there. She's a pretty robust character," Wood said.

"She's always first to put her head over the football."