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Sharks set sights on inaugural WAFLW premiershipFriday, September 13, 2019 - 7:20 AM - by Chris Pike

EAST Fremantle won the last WAWFL premiership and now Philipa Seth is hoping it can all come together for the Sharks on Saturday in the first ever WAFLW Grand Final against Swan Districts.

East Fremantle booked its spot in the inaugural WAFLW Grand Final this Saturday at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park after beating Subiaco in the second semi-final two weeks before sitting back and watching Swan Districts earn a spot against them by also beating the Lions in the preliminary final.

One of the stars with the Sharks this season is Fremantle Dockers AFLW defender Philipa Seth as she now looks forward to the chance for East Fremantle to back up last year's WAWFL premiership by winning the first ever WAFLW Grand Final on Saturday.

While Seth obviously enjoyed the premiership triumph with the Sharks last year, she is looking forward to what awaits on Saturday even more in the first year of the new WAFLW competition.

Seth has certainly noticed and enjoyed the continued growth of female football in Western Australia as a result of the WAFL-endorsed competition starting up in 2019.

"I was probably lucky enough to be playing in the Grand Final last year but obviously this is the inaugural season of actual WAFL so it has that little bit more on the line and you want to be the first ones to get your name on that cup," Seth said. 

"I would definitely say this means more to me than the one last year and I'm just more hungry and excited to be here. Compared to last year you can definitely tell it's a step up in professionalism and people are actually talking about it. 

"Even just being in the Football Budget every week, you can tell there's actually a bit more hype around it. While it used to be just us down at games and maybe some friends and family, there's now young girls coming down just to watch us play footy. 

"That's made a real big difference and that's from the WAFL stepping up to endorse this competition."

Seth is now excited to be part of a WAFLW Grand Final on Saturday where he a good crowd is expected at Mineral Resources Park with plenty of activities planned with the day starting with the Rogers Cup Grand Final between South Fremantle and Peel Thunder, and then the reserves grand final also featuring the Bulldogs and Claremont.

The fact that the game will also be broadcast live on Channel 7 is another signal of the growth of the women's game and Seth is excited to be part of that, and hopes her teammates don't get too nervous with the big occasion.

"I guess you don't really want it to change anything so we hope that girls don't really play it on their mind too much the fact that it's on Channel 7," Seth said.

"I think on the day we'll try and keep to business as usual just like it's been all year, but it's just a benefit for people who can't come down on Saturday still have the opportunity to watch it at home.

"I think it's just a really good marketing tool for women's footy to be able to promote our game and to be televised on Channel 7."

There is no shortage of stars throughout the East Fremantle team entering Saturday's Grand Final including Evie Gooch, Taryn Priestly, Gabby O'Sullivan, Kim Bowey, Ashton Hill and the list goes on, but excitement machine Roxanne Roux is attracting plenty of focus this week.

Having kicked three goals in three separate games during the season, she kicked four in a standout performance in East Fremantle's second semi-final win over Subiaco and Seth is looking forward to seeing what she has in store for the Grand Final.

"She's a super exciting player to watch and you kind of feel her presence when she's out on the ground," Seth said. 

"She'll be up and ready for this weekend and be ready to go. I'm sure she'll want to make an impact on the ground straight away and she'll definitely have to be one that Swans have to watch for sure."

East Fremantle's form has steadily built throughout the WAFLW season before winning in the last round against Claremont to secure second position and then beating Subiaco impressively to win straight through to the Grand Final.

Seth couldn’t be happier with the way things have come together for East Fremantle this season and with their preparation for the Grand Final, but at the same time she's fully aware of the challenge that Swan Districts will present come Saturday.

"We were probably lucky because we had a lot of our AFLW girls come back quicker and we didn’t really have too many girls out with injury," she said.

"We were probably able to have our full squad pretty much from the get go so we could gel together that little bit quicker which is why we've been in form for a little while. 

"But at the same token, Swans have had a few girls come back so it means their lift between games probably changed quite a lot. Whether that will make an impact or not, I guess it will all come down to the day."

Another fascinating aspect of the WAFLW competition during 2019 with just the five competing teams has been the chance for the AFLW players in WA to play against one another.

Whether they are Dockers teammates from 2019 who are gearing up to be teammates again in 2020 or those who have signed with the new West Coast Eagles team for 2020, Seth has enjoyed that aspect of it and will again feature heavily in Saturday's Grand Final.

"It can be a little bit funny and it probably leads to a bit more banter on the field and you tend to get into each other a little bit more, but at the end of the day I'm always thankful I'll get to play with them on my team than against them," Seth said.

"But I actually think it's a bit of fun because we learn so much about each other in the Freo season and then to come up against each other, it's a good challenge. I think it's more fun and it's exciting that we know each and get to give it a go playing against each other."