West Coast players celebrate a goal in their practice match against Gold Coast on April 28, 2024. Picture: West Coast FC

WEST Coast kicked off life under Daisy Pearce in the best way possible, winning an unofficial practice match against Gold Coast by two points.

With the clubs' men's sides playing each other on Sunday, the Eagles' AFLW team flew across the country on a charted flight containing both teams from the western club.

Non-Victorian clubs have been working out how to best manage their AFLW players over the off-season, which for non-finalists has run from November to the start of June.

All Victorian clubs have either a standalone or affiliate VFLW side, while Sydney and Greater Western Sydney are currently at the tail-end of their six-week VFLW incursion.

Adelaide and Port Adelaide are running select players through the SANFL competition, while a number of Fremantle and West Coast players have taken to the field in the WAFLW.

Gold Coast has found itself in a difficult spot, unable to freely rotate its players given its QAFLW-aligned clubs Bond Uni and Southport are already juggling the absence of Suns under-18 Academy players currently featuring in the Coates Talent League.

It hasn't been smooth sailing in the VFLW, either, with the AFLW-strength NSW sides thumping Victorian teams containing only a small handful of (mostly young) AFLW players. The Swans have a percentage of 456, with the Giants sitting at 381.

The Suns reached out to the Eagles to pull together the scratch match, and will also play another club-funded game against Sydney in Sydney on May 11. West Coast has another practice game against Fremantle next weekend.

West Coast brought 14 players across, with recruit Jess Hosking and No.2 draft pick Jess Rentsch giving a facelift to the midfield, alongside young gun Bella Lewis, who captained the side.

No.2 pick Jessica Rentsch is presented her jumper by West Coast coach Daisy Pearce during the 2023 AFLW Draft at Marvel Stadium on December 18, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Veteran Kellie Gibson booted three goals, with the Eagles' squad supported by QAFLW players from Bond Uni, a handful of 19-year-old Gold Coast Academy players and ex-Eagle Krstel Petrevski, who still works at the club after her delisting last year.

"It was a good opportunity to come up and play against AFLW opposition," Pearce told West Coast's social media channels.

"It can be a really long pre-season in AFLW, given the home-and-away season is only 10 weeks, so to get these opportunities to bring most of the group up and get some context and see it in a game situation, some of the things we've been practicing, it's been really important.

"We're keeping it all in perspective, given it's a practice match and there's plenty of things to work on.

"They fought it out, that competitiveness was on show throughout and just some of the team-first stuff – Lauren Wakfer and Amy Franklin, who are key forwards a lot of the time, given we didn't have Sarah Lakay here to ruck, just their preparedness to get in the ruck against a really good AFLW ruck in (Lauren) Bella, some of that stuff was impressive."

Gold Coast rotated 23 AFLW-listed players through the game, as well as AFLW Academy member Tatyana Perry, a Darwin-based defender who spent the week training at the club and with the Suns academy.

Senior stars Claudia Whitfort, Jac Dupuy and skipper Tara Bohanna played limited minutes, with most of the time given over to Gold Coast's younger brigade and recruits.

Perhaps a signal for the season to come, usual defender Elise Barwick played in attack.