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AFLW: Fremantle to test preliminary final progression in pre-season practice match against Richmond

Fremantle will be without their two best midfielders when they face Richmond in a practice match on Saturday with reigning club champion Hayley Miller (calf) and star Kiara Bowers (COVID) ruled out.

The Dockers named a 28-player squad to tackle the Tigers at Lane Group Stadium but Miller, Bowers, defender Sarah Verrier (COVID) and forward Kara Antonio (hamstring) couldn’t be considered.

Irish recruit Orlagh Lally, who touched down in Perth on Thursday days after winning back-to-back championships with her county Meath, will also get her first taste of AFLW from the stands.

The absences have paved way for all five draftees – Madi Scanlon, Tara Stribley, Megan Kauffman, Amy Mulholland and Tahlia Read – to stake their claims for selection.

The Dockers will also get their first look at off-season recruit Nikki Gore, the premiership Adelaide star pushing for a midfield spot after spending her time at the Crows in defence.

Trent Cooper and the Dockers are eyeing success.
Camera IconTrent Cooper and the Dockers are eyeing success. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

“It’s a really exciting time for our players to play together against opposition, particularly a really evolving team like Richmond who I expect will be challenging to play finals,” coach Trent Cooper said.

“We’ll experiment with different positions as well and it’s a good opportunity for the players to play with each other and get used to the minor tweaks to the game plan.”

West Coast will also get chance to tune up for the upcoming season when they face AFLW expansion outfit Hawthorn on Sunday at Mineral Resources Park.

Midfielder Bella Lewis said fans can expect a more connected Eagles unit as the club prepares to rebound from a wooden spoon earlier in the year.

“We want each other to succeed so I think there is going to be a lot of that in the way that we gel on the field and our drive and consistency to do better,” she said.

The pre-season will culminate in a derby next Saturday at Fremantle Oval.

The match was originally scheduled as a curtain raiser to the round 22 AFL western derby but has been relocated to ease the load on the Optus Stadium turf.

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