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AFLW Player of the Week: Round 6

Each week, will highlight a Player of the Week during the AFLW season.

With her side claiming their maiden AFLW victory, Fremantle skipper Kara Donnellan receives the Round 6 honour.

Donnellan was the best player on the ground in the 16-point win against the Blues, collecting 24 disposals and kicking two goals, one of which was during a crucial moment late in the game.

The 25-year-old is ranked in the top three in the competition for tackles and clearances and top 10 for disposals and inside 50s.

Fremantle assistant coach Paul Hasleby and teammate Ebony Antonio spoke to about Donnellan’s Round 6 performance.

Paul Hasleby

I thought it was the most complete performance that we’ve seen from a player in the AFLW competition.

She did everything, she won clearances, her ball use was outstanding and she really got forward and impacted the scoreboard with two goals of her own while also setting up many others.

She’s very natural at getting behind the ball and almost playing that defensive midfielder role but a challenge that I put to her was to push forward and that was the most pleasing part of her game for me.

She’s been super consistent for us and taken on a lot of the workload throughout the midfield but she’s been building up to the game she played on the weekend. By her standards, she was a bit quiet the week before and Kara’s a very proud person and would’ve really wanted to help the Fremantle Dockers win their first AFLW game.

It’s been difficult for her this year in regards to a few of the losses we’ve had and she’s taken them quite hard at times. She cares about this playing group, the competition and her own performance more than just about any other player I’ve coached, so she deserved to be the best player on the ground in the first win in purple.

She’s the complete package, she’s good with her hands and handballs well, she’s an elite kick and can actually penetrate the footy, which I think is a bit more advanced than a lot of the other players at the moment. She can also play in the backline, through the midfield and, as we saw on the weekend, she can push forward.

She’s the most complete player in this competition in my eyes.

Ebony Antonio

Playing alongside Captain Kara is very inspiring and she’s been a courageous leader throughout the entire season. She took her game to a whole new level on the weekend and that’s because of her dedication to hard work.

I like the way she pushed up forward and got a couple of goals, that’s been a focus of hers and the coaching staff have been encouraging her to sneak forward and get on the scoreboard, so it’s pleasing to see that paying off for her and hopefully it continues.

The game on the weekend capped off what she has been doing for the entire season. We can always count on Kara when the ball is in her hands, so I was pretty comfortable she would seal the victory when she had the ball inside forward 50 late in the game.

Kara is very inspiring and all the girls listen up when she speaks and really acknowledge what she has to say. She’s knowledgeable when it comes to footy and has been in the game a long time — we have nothing but respect for Kara.

Everything she does at training she translates to a game on the weekend, that’s why she’s our captain. She does everything at full effort and is vocal and loud around the ground — all the girls want to be like ‘Juddy’ one day.

After the announcement of the AFLW Players’ MVP Award to be presented at season’s end, Donnellan could potentially be in the running following a stellar Round 6 performance.