AFL 2 years ago

Kicking Off In Style: Dogs Kick Off AFLW Campaign With Resounding Win

  • Kicking Off In Style: Dogs Kick Off AFLW Campaign With Resounding Win

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 4: Bulldogs players celebrate on the final siren during the 2017 AFLW Round 01 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Fremantle Dockers at VU Whitten Oval on February 4, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs        2.0        3.0        5.6        6.8.44
Fremantle                       1.0        1.5        1.5        1.6.12

Western Bulldogs: Brennan 2, McLeod, Lambert, O'Connor, Blackburn
Fremantle: Caulfield

Alex Docherty's Best
Western Bulldogs: Kearney, Brennan, Blackburn, Ernst, Lochland, McLeod, Lambert
Fremantle: Donnellan, Smith, Houghton, Hooker, Antonio

The Western Bulldogs Women's team have registered their first premiership points in the inaugural AFL Women's league after accounting for the Fremantle Dockers to the tune of 32 points in a game that wasn't short in physicality in front of a packed crowd of just over 10,000 spectators at the Whitten Oval.

With the game in blustery conditions and the weather cooled down to an extent after a hot February afternoon, the Bulldogs hit the scoreboard first with livewire forward Kirsten McLeod running into an open goal, making her the first female player to register a goal for the Bulldogs in the AFL, whilst on the other end, it was Melissa Caulfield who registered Fremantle's first goal in the AFLW, converting an opportunity just moments after McLeod's goal.

But from the moment Jaimee Lambert goaled in the 14th minute of the first term, the Bulldogs never relinquished the lead, kicking the final five goals of the game, but the Dockers did have their chances in the second quarter, controlling the majority of the play, but failed to capitalise - registering five behinds for the term with most of them being easy shots on goal.

It was only after half-time when the Bulldogs began to take this game by the neck as they restricted Fremantle to just one point in the second half. Aasta O'Connor kicked the Dogs fourth only a minute into the third quarter, but like the Dockers in the second, The Bulldogs butchered shots on goal, before marquee player Ellie Blackburn snapped a fortuitous goal late in the quarter to give the Dogs' ladies a commanding 25-point advantage heading into the last quarter. 

A goal from Bulldogs' captain Katie Brennan late in the last quarter was the cherry on top of what was a fantastic first-up performance for the Daughters of the West. They had Fremantle well covered in disposals (190-156), clearances (30-14), inside 50s (28-15) and tackles (59-44)

Leading The Way

With the spotlight on marquee players Ellie Blackburn and Katie Brennan, both ladies shrugged off taggers to have a big influence on the result. Blackburn, who was closely followed by Lara Filocamo for most of the game, finished 12 disposals and a goal, whilst the skipper Brennan, who had Ebony Antonio for company started quiet, but finished strongly, with 16 disposals, six tackles, four marks and two goals. 

But it was Melbourne Stars cricketer Emma Kearney who led all players in disposals with 23 disposals and was able to manouvre her way through the Fremantle midfielders at times throughout the game, ruck Tiarna Ernst also was in the thick of it and was on top in the ruck duel, recording 19 hitouts to go along with four tackles and six disposals. Brooke Lochland (13 disposals, five tackles), Jaimee Lambert (10 disposals, three tackles and a goal) and Kirsten McLeod (nine disposals, five tackles and a goal) also stood out.

The Opposition

It was a rough night from the Dockers, but Kara Donnellan had a fine captain's game, recording 16 disposals and six tackles and showed the footy world why Fremantle chose her to captain the women's team as she tried to will the Dockers' ladies on all night, whilst Belinda Smith was also very impressive, racking up a team-high 17 disposals on the night.

Other players who starred for Fremantle included ruck Gemma Houghton, who had 11 disposals, 13 hitouts and five tackles, Dana Hooker who had 15 disposals and five marks and Ebony Antonio who battled on in defence and finished with nine disposals, five tackles and three marks.

Points To Take From This Game:

1. Don't write Fremantle out of this campaign just yet because of one bad game.  Had they not pepper all their shots on goal in that second quarter, this would've turned out to be a much different result, a result that might've gone in favour of the Dockers. Their physicality towards a contest will definitely cause a few headaches for opposition clubs over the next six weeks.

2. Ellie Blackburn is more than just a midfielder that accumulates possessions. Saturday night showed that she has the ability to push down forward and pose as a real threat towards goal. She kicked that crucial goal late in the third quarter and could've easily had two or three by the end of the night.

3. Underestimate the Bulldogs' midfield brigade at your own peril. Fremantle's plan to try and tag Blackburn out of the game to try and turn the game in their favour backfired, as the other midfielders stood up. Aside from Kearney who had the ball on a string, Brooke Lochland had 13 disposals, Nicole Callinan and Jaimee Lambert had 10 disposals each and Katie Brennan also pushed up the ground and had herself 16 possessions. They also have a number of other players who can play the midfield role brilliantly.

Next Week

The Western Bulldogs' women's team will be back at the Whitten Oval next Friday night to make it two wins in two games as the Adelaide Crows roll into Footscray, fresh off a 36-point trouncing of Greater Western Sydney. 

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