Coach Michelle Cowan sheds light on Allies’ big defeat

It was a tough night at the office for the Allies on Saturday at Etihad Stadium, succumbing to the Victorians by 97 points in the first ever AFLW Origin match.

After giving up the lead to the Big V near quarter time, the visitors were never in the game for the remaining three terms, not only being crushed on the scoreboard, but also losing in every team stats category bar one.

A dejected Allies side – well, as dejected as Ebony Marinoff can get – after Victoria handed them a 97-point defeat.Image: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Speaking to Girls Play Footy, Allies assistant coach and Fremantle head coah Michelle Cowan said she was happy with her team’s start, but paid credit to the home side for taking the game away from there.

“We were really happy with our start to the game, and the first ten minutes,” Cowan said.

“Then I thought Victoria played exceptionally well, and then played an exciting brand of footy, and really played an elite brand of footy; really ran over the top of us.

“Credit to them; I think they played a really solid four quarters, and like I said, I think we really started well, but they were too strong.”

Cowan acknowledged that the story from last night’s stats which showed that the Victorians were simply hungrier for the ball, leading the tackle count 68-44 and contested possessions 157-99.

“They dominated in contested possession, and for us to not win the tackle count, when we didn’t have a lot of the footy, is pretty disappointing.

“They did play really well, and an exceptionally elite midfield in [Emma] Kearney and [Ellie] Blackburn, and Juddy [Kara Donnellan].

“Also, Daisy Pearce, who across the board AFLW or the AFL men’s game, she’s certainly one of the best in the business, that’s for sure.”

The strength of the Big V midfield was highlighted in the fact that eight players had a possession count of 20 or greater, while only one Allies footballer made it to the 20 mark, being Brisbane’s Emily Bates (7 kicks, 13 handballs).

Emma King was the sole shining light in the stats count for the Allies, owning the ruck by winning the hit outs 40-18 against Victoria’s Alison Downie.

In other stats, the Victorians beat the Allies in disposals 385 to 204, clearances 37 to 29, inside 50 entries 54 to 29, and inside 50 marks 24 to 6.

Despite the heavy loss, Cowan did say there’s lessons for the other states to take away from the Origin match to ensure the continual improvement of women’s football.

“What we look at I guess is the state of game of the VFLW, and the WA women’s footy league, and SANFL and the QWAFL as well. They’re all at different stages.

“I’d love to see a uniformed approach to those state leagues, where we’re all investing a lot more time and development into those players, and into that competition[s] as well, and getting a little more aligned across the nation would be fantastic.”

The next major date on Cowan’s calendar is the Fremantle Talent Search this Saturday.

Some of WA’s best talent will be put through their paces in the hoping of either gaining one of seven spots on the Dockers’ AFLW primary list, or one of three spots available on their rookie list.

The next time Cowan and her follow Allies coaches will be in the same room, albeit separately with their AFLW clubs, will be Wednesday, October 18th for the AFL Women’s Draft.

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