Season 7 AFLW preview: Western Bulldogs
SEASON 6 was certainly a frustrating one for the Western Bulldogs.
Covid outbreaks were a huge issue at the club and it hampered their season. They did almost make finals, and certainly may have if the Covid outbreaks had not happened, but ultimately they fell short.
However, expansion was not too kind too the Bulldogs, so they have had to rejig particularly their forward line in the offseason.
Best & Fairest: Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb
Leading Goalkicker: Bonnie Toogood
IN: Daisy Bateman (North Melbourne), Millie Brown (Geelong), Rylie Wilcox (Northern Knights), Keely Coyne (Sandringham Dragons), Heidi Woodley (Calder Cannons), Brooke Vernon (Carlton VFLW)
OUT: Ellyse Gamble (Essendon), Ashleigh Guest (retired), Isabel Huntington (GWS), Brooke Lochland (Sydney), Hannah Scott (retired), Bonnie Toogood (Essendon)
Daisy Bateman, Elle Bennetts, Deanna Berry, Ellie Blackburn, Eleanor Brown, Millie Brown, Keely Coyne, Richelle Cranston, Alice Edmonds, Naomi Ferres, Jess Fitzgerald, Lizzie Georgostathis, Issy Grant, Brtiney Gutknecht, Sarah Hartwig, Bailey Hunt, Gemma Lagioia, Kirsty Lamb, Amanda Ling, Katie Lynch, Kirsten McLeod, Celine Moody, Nell Morris-Dalton, Gabby Newton, Isabelle Pritchard, Elizabeth Snell, Annabel Strahan, Brooke Vernon, Rylie Wilcox, Heidi Woodley
Inactive: Aurora Smith (knee injury)
Round 1: vs. GWS | Ikon Park
Round 2: @ Port Adelaide | Alberton Oval
Round 3: vs. Fremantle | Ikon Park
Round 4: @ Hawthorn | Box Hill City Oval
Round 5: vs. North Melbourne | Swinburne Centre
Round 6: vs. Geelong | Mars Stadium
Round 7: @ Melbourne | Casey Fields
Round 8: vs. St Kilda | Mars Stadium
Round 9: @ West Coast | Mineral Resources Park
Round 10: @ Carlton | Ikon Park
B: Naomi Ferres – Katie Lynch
HB: Millie Brown – Eleanor Brown – Sarah Hartwig
C: Isabelle Pritchard – Kirsty Lamb – Isabella Grant
HF: Kirsten McLeod – Gabby Newton – Daisy Bateman
F: Nell Morris-Dalton – Richelle Cranston
R: Celine Moody – Ellie Blackburn – Jessica Fitzgerald
INT: Elle Bennetts – Rylie Wilcox – Elisabeth Georgostathis – Deanna Berry – Bailey Hunt
EMG: Alice Edmunds – Gemma Lagioia – Britney Gutknecht
Remaining players: Deanna Berry, Keely Coyne, Amanda Ling, Elizabeth Snell, Annabel Strahan, Brooke Vernon, Heidi Woodley
Inactive: Aurora Smith (knee injury)
LEAGUE B&F CONTENDER: Kirsty Lamb
Despite having another stellar year in season 6, Lamb is still underrated by many in the AFLW world.
When others in the Bulldogs midfield like Ellie Blackburn got tagged out of games last season, Lamb was still able to get out the back of contests and provide a lot of run this season.
There is no reason to suggest Lamb will not have another stellar season, and despite Blackburn outpolling her last season, hopefully Lamb will finally get some of the recognition from the umpires she deserves.
BIG YEAR FOR: Millie Brown
After having a season off, Brown is back at a new club and a new outlook on her career.
Season 7 is the perfect opportunity for a complete refresh for Brown. She is in a completely different environment now so has the opportunity to come out and really prove why she was such a high draft pick.
KEY TALKING POINTS:
Can they ensure Ellie Blackburn does not get tagged out of games this season?
On more then one occasion last season, opposition teams were able to really quell the influence of Ellie Blackburn and it really hampered the Dogs and their attacking forays forward.
So the question is, what can the Dogs do about that this season so that it does not become a continuing problem? Who can step up and ensure that if she does get tagged, it is not the end of the world?
Can they take the next step and make finals?
As previously mentioned, they just missed out on finals last season, but with the expanded finals format for season 7 can they nab one of those last few finals spots? It is going to be a hard fought battle for those last few spots in the finals so they are certainly going to have their work cut out for them.
How will their new look forward line go?
One of the talking points of the offseason was how many of their top forwards they lost to other clubs, like Brooke Lochland and Bonnie Toogood.
In a recent chat with us here at Rookie Me Central, Bulldogs assistant Melissa Hickey hinted that they may look to go smaller this season then in previous seasons, so it will be fascinating to see how that prevails this season.
How will Daisy Bateman go at her new club?
Brown was not the only one to move to the Bulldogs in the offseason, with Daisy Bateman moving across from North Melbourne.
With the Bulldogs losing so many forwards in the offseason, this is the perfect opportunity for Bateman to come in, show her class and really make an impact on her new side.