Western Bulldogs 1.3 1.3 3.4 4.5.29
Melbourne 1.1 3.5 5.7 6.7.43
Western Bulldogs: Clarkson, Gardner, McLeod, Wildes
Melbourne: Mifsud 3, Berry, Cordner, Hickey
Alex Docherty's Best
Western Bulldogs: Blackburn, Kearney, Scott, Gogos, Wildes, Spark
Melbourne: D. Pearce, Paxman, O'Dea, Mifsud, Scott, Hickey, Mithen
The Western Bulldogs women's team and their bid for a maiden Grand Final berth is in some serious jeopardy after they lost their second-straight match at the Whitten Oval, going down to Melbourne by 14 points on Saturday night. In the second match of the double-header between the two teams, with Melbourne's men getting the job done over the Bulldogs earlier in the day, thousands of spectators stuck around to watch a good game of football between two sides that started it all a few years ago when these two teams squared off in an exhibition game at the MCG.
With the Dogs kicking with the wind in the opening term, they nabbed the lead just a minute into the contest with Courtney Clarkson converting a free-kick from point-blank range, but much like last week, they squandered a number of opportunites to go further ahead, before an impressive contested grab from Harriet Cordner resulted in Melbourne's first goal late in the term to keep them within a kick at quarter time.
Unfortunately for Bulldogs' supporters, the Demons took control of the contest after the first break with a dominant second-quarter performance that resulted in 30 more disposals, 10 more inside 50s and denying the Bulldogs a single score. However, the Demons butchered shots on goal themselves, kicking 2.4 for the quarter to give them a 14-point advantage at the long break, when it could've been so much more.
The Daughters of the West pushed hard to comeback from the deficit, with Jess Gardner and Kirsten McLeod goaling to reduce the margin to just three points, but Melbourne held their nerve and responded well to what the Dogs were giving them. Led by Alyssa Mifsud, Melbourne held firm to regain that two-goal buffer heading into the final break, but the Dogs weren't going to go down so easily this week. Hayley Wildes goaled in the opening minutes of the last term, but that was the last goal the Dogs would kick for the night.
They were much better compared to last week, conceding only 12 free kicks as opposed to the 30 that they conceded to Adelaide last week, but there were still a couple of silly 50-metre penalties given away throughout the match, none more important than one given to Melbourne's Melissa Hickey late in the quarter. She converted from long range to give Melbourne their sixth and final goal of the night and with that ensured Melbourne's second win on the trot.
Leading The Way
The Bulldogs didn't have many standouts, which was a key factor why they failed to get the win on Saturday night. Emma Kearney and Ellie Blackburn combined for 51 of the team's 170 disposals. Marquee signing Blackburn, who was named as the captain for Saturday night for the injured Katie Brennan, led from the front with 26 disposals and six tackles, whilst Kearney had 25 disposals and four tackles.
From there they didn't get much support. Hannah Scott and Lauren Spark were the next best disposal getters, both of them tried hard, with Scott recording 16 disposals and four tackles and Spark having 12 disposals and four marks, whilst Angelica Gogos proved to be a tackling machine, going on to record a game-high 11 tackles for the night.
Whilst the Dogs left it to too few, the Demons had a good spread of contributors, led by captain Daisy Pearce, who had a fantastic captain's game with 26 disposals and six tackles and Karen Paxman who had 27 disposals and five marks. Both ladies struggled in the first quarter, which made their stats even more impressive.
They also had good support in the middle from Elise O'Dea who had 19 disposals, Shelley Scott with 16 disposals and Round two's Rising Star nominee Lily Mithen, who also had 16 disposals. Alyssa Mifsud proved to be a match-winner down forward as she kicked three goals from seven disposals and four marks.
Points To Take From This Game
1. Melbourne have greatly improved from their round one loss. Whilst we understand that their loss is to a Brisbane team that is yet to be defeated in this competition, the Demons struggled to get much going on that wet Casey Fields surface, but since half time last week against Collingwood, something has clicked in this team. They kept the Pies scoreless in the second half and they were equally as impressive against a Bulldogs' team that looked like they were ready to redeem themselves this week.
2. The Bulldogs can find other avenues to goal. With their marquee forward Katie Brennan sidelined for this game, a major concern was where the Bulldogs were going to get their goals from, but they managed to find four goals from four different goal-kickers, but while that wasn't enough to get them the points, that's a big plus for this team going forward in this next month of women's footy. But having said that, they'll need her influence on the contest if they're a shot to make the Grand Final.
3. Daisy Pearce continues to show why she is the best women's footy player in the country. When the Melbourne and Western Bulldogs drafted their initial teams back in 2013, Pearce was the first overall selection given her fantastic ability. Since that day, she has proven time and time again that she's a star and on Saturday night, she continued her fine start to year with a stellar 26 disposal effort. Right now she would have to be amongst the front-runners to win the AFLW's best and fairest award, she's that darn good.
The Dogs play their final game in Footscray in this short season as they are back at the Whitten Oval next Saturday night to host the win-less Collingwood in a game that they must win if they are to remain an outside chance to play off in the first-ever AFLW Grand Final. For the Pies, this looms as a chance to get their first-ever win in the AFLW, whilst the Bulldogs will see this as a golden opportunity to get back on the winners list.