AFLW Season 7: Round 3 Talking Points – Dogs show bite for third straight
THE WESTERN Bulldogs maintained their unblemished start to Season 7, moving to 3-0 after a tense three-point win over Fremantle. It was a low-scoring affair at Ikon Park and despite leading at the first three breaks, the Dockers fell behind six minutes into the final quarter and could not quite claw back. Now, the West Australian club sits 0-3 but has shown signs of turning its form around.
There’s something in that
Fremantle was the opposition in the Bulldogs’ first AFLW outing, and that was the same for game 50 on Friday night. Captain Ellie Blackburn has been present for each outing and hit the same milestone, with the Dogs winning in both games. In victory, they broke a streak of three-straight Fremantle wins head-to-head, and moved to 3-0 for the season. They’re building nicely.
Where there’s a Wilcox, there’s a way
If she was overlooked for a Rising Star nomination in Round 2, Rylie Wilcox is just about a lock to get the nod this week. The Bulldogs identified her as filling a direct list need on the wing, and as a specialist there, she has lit up the first three rounds. It was no different on Friday night, as Wilcox’s speed and line-breaking ability helped her to 11 disposals and an outstanding goal on the run – her first in the AFLW.
Did you buy tickets? It’s the Gabby Newton show
Upon being drafted, Gabby Newton was pegged as a potential Katie Brennan replacement for the Bulldogs. Though she was adamant about her talent as a midfielder, the number one pick is now displaying traits in the Brennan mould as one of her side’s main forward targets. With six marks and what ended up being the winning goal on Friday night, the Bulldogs will be absolutely thrilled to have her back.
Contested marking wins the day
In the clutch moments, the Bulldogs controlled the game and held onto their lead with some huge contested marks. From the usual suspects like Newton and Katie Lynch, to spirited performers like Kirsty Lamb, the victors were able to control the airways all game and that was no different in the dying stages. All up, they took 49 marks to Freo’s 33, and six to one inside attacking 50 – including Newton’s match-winner.
Freo’s prime movers get going
After a tough start to the season, Fremantle showed good fight against a side in good form, and much of that started in the middle. Prime movers Kiara Bowers (17 disposals, 10 tackles, eight clearances) and Hayley Miller (16 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances) got their hands dirty against red-hot opposition in Lamb, Ellie Blackburn and Jess Fitzgerald, winning the centre clearance count five to three and just about breaking even overall (22-24). Down back, Emma O’Driscoll‘s attack on the ball was superb, providing tall cover alongside inclusion Jess Low, which freed up Sarah Verrier for a move to the wing. The pieces are falling into place.