By Karis Ryan
The West Coast Warriors have claimed their fourth straight win, and jumped into top spot on the Gold Industry Group WANL ladder, after a thrashing the East Freo Sharks by 19 goals.
Despite another impressive winning scoreline, Warriors Head Coach Lorraine Ward was still looking for more.
“I’m still not happy that there’s not full consistency there,” Ward said.
“They did some great stuff, some outstanding stuff but there’s still room for improvement, and I think we really missed Hayley McKee today with the fluency in the attack end to get that real flow happening.”
“But we got there in the end and I thought the defence was really good again today.”
The Warriors defence indeed continued to be outstanding, with Stephanie Cooper leading the charge aided by a just as imposing, Jessica Eales.
The Warriors were challenged in the first quarter, but the Sharks were unable to maintain this pressure over the full 60 minutes.
“I think in the first quarter we were struggling,” Ward said.
“Meara (Girvan) was struggling to find her space, but once she started to put more depth on the drive and do what’s natural and look for Nelly (Donnell Wallam) – I think she was a little bit Penny (Jessica Penny) focused and then once we got over that we were good then, she was great.”
The Sharks stuck with the Warriors in the first quarter, with Courtney Kruta, Kate Duncan and Emma Cosh combining well, while Donell Wallam was facing one of her toughest tests of the year to date in Jess Penny.
Wallam netted 11 goals in the opening term, which saw the Warriors head into the opening break up by two goals.
The Sharks managed to level the scores early in the second quarter, but the Warriors quickly took the ascendency and piled on the goals thanks to precise feeds from Girvan and Helen Taylor.
Nat Bright combined strongly with Cooper and Eales to stifle the Sharks attack, as they allowed just nine goals from 14 attempts, to lead by eight goals at half time.
The Warriors ran away with the game in the third quarter, with their midcourt speed a class above the rest, while Wallam started to impose herself on the game scoring all 16 of the Warriors’ goals.
Defensive pressure was a key message from Ward at half time.
“I wasn’t happy,” she said.
“I still felt they needed to step up their defence. I think we sagged too much and their was too many easy balls. I asked them to step up in that area and again just back themselves and let the ball go more and they did that really well.”
Kate Duncan and Emma Cosh continued to push hard for the Sharks, but the defensive pressure from the Warriors forced them into long shots, as they converted just 63% of their attempts on goal.
Sharks Head Coach Sue Gerrard injected Abbey Hicks into the shooting circle in the final stanza, with the move paying dividends, as she converted 12 goals from 13 attempts.
However, the damage was done, as Wallam continued to pile on the goals, as the Warriors ran out 19 goal winners.
“We said enjoy, take this time to recognise we’re probably top of the ladder now which is great but its not going to be there as a gift. We have to keep working for it. And if we want it, and want to retain it then we’ve just got to keep working hard for it,” Ward said.
The Warriors now face the Western Roar in another top of the table clash, while the Sharks have the bye.
East Freo Sharks
Cosh 19/27 (70%)
Duncan 13/18 (72%)
Hicks 12/13 (92%)
West Coast Warriors
Wallam 57/65 (88%)
Stokes 4/4 (100%)
Armstrong 2/3 (67%)