CAMPERDOWN export David Lake’s inaugural season as an AFLW coach came to an end on Sunday when Fremantle defeated his Gold Coast Suns in their semi-final contest at Fremantle Oval.
The Suns first season within AFLW ranks proved to be a fruitful one with a finals berth a big tick for the newcomers.
They won two games and drew another to finish fourth in Conference A when it was announced the home and away season would be cut short.
They had previously expected to miss out on a finals berth with the AFLW structure featuring the top three teams from each conference.
However, the AFL instead opted to proceed with an eight team finals series, meaning the Suns received an unexpected call-up to the post-season to face the undefeated Dockers.
Lake said his players were thrilled to have their season extended but knew they were always going to find it tough against a Fremantle outfit known for its physicality.
The task only became harder throughout the contest with the Suns losing defensive winger Tiarna Ernst and forward Jasmyn Hewett to concussion, while another player was bitten by a bee on the bench.
Those injuries left Lake without rotations, which proved problematic for a side which plays a fast-paced brand of football.
Nonetheless, the Suns battled on gamely but constantly fell down across half-forward with the Dockers often creating turnovers and capitalising on the scoreboard up the other end.
“We tried hard but we just couldn’t get it the full length of the ground,” Lake said.
“We’d be going alright for the first 10 minutes or so but it was late in quarters that we’d open up.
“It was the last three, four, five minutes that they would score on us so I thought we did well to keep it to 70 points based on what was happening and what I could see was happening.”
All disappointment aside, Lake found plenty of positives within the Suns first taste of AFLW.
He said the Suns finish and the shape of their list meant they were well placed to grow further next year.
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