Season 8 AFLW preview: Western Bulldogs

THE Western Bulldogs broke through a barrier last season, returning to the finals for the first time since winning their Season 2 flag. However, their finals return was short lived as they went down in heartbreaking fashion to Collingwood.

But with a strong list retention and another preseason under the belt of those on the list, can the Bulldogs build on the achievements of Season 7?


#1 Elizabeth Snell
#2 Ellie Blackburn
#3 Isabella Grant
#4 Isabelle Pritchard
#5 Gabrielle Newton
#6 Kirsten McLeod
#7 Deanna Berry
#8 Daisy Bateman
#9 Eleanor Brown
#10 Katie Lynch
#11 Elle Bennetts
#12 Gemma Lagioia
#13 Celine Moody
#14 Dominique Carruthers
#15 Sarah Hartwig
#16 Naomi Ferres
#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis
#18 Britney Gutknecht
#19 Heidi Woodley
#20 Millie Brown
#21 Bailey Hunt
#22 Keely Coyne
#23 Jessica Fitzgerald
#24 Aurora Smith
#26 Maggie Gorham
#27 Kirsty Lamb
#30 Richelle Cranston
#33 Alice Edmonds
#37 Rylie Wilcox
#58 Brianna McFarlane


In: Aurora Smith (inactive list), Brianna McFarlane, Maggie Gorham, Dominique Carruthers
Out: Amanda Ling, Nell Morris-Dalton, Annabel Strahan, Brooke Vernon


Round 1: vs. Geelong @ GMHBA Stadium
Round 2: vs. Hawthorn @ Mars Stadium
Round 3: vs. Melbourne @ Casey Fields
Round 4: vs. Gold Coast @ Heritage Bank Stadium
Round 5: vs. St Kilda @ Whitten Oval
Round 6: vs. Carlton @ Whitten Oval
Round 7: vs. Adelaide @ Norwood Oval
Round 8: vs. Sydney @ Whitten Oval
Round 9: vs. West Coast @ Mineral Resources Park
Round 10: vs.  North Melbourne @ Whitten Oval


  • A quiet offseason
  • A talented forward partnership that’s only getting stronger
  • Talented midfield

Having a quiet offseason is not always a good thing, but for a Bulldogs side coming off successive years of high list turnover, a quiet offseason is certainly not a bad thing.

Last season saw the beginnings of a really exciting forwardline partnership between Gabby Newton and Celine Moody, and with Newton’s injury troubles behind her, that partnership is only going to grow stronger.

One of the Bulldogs’ biggest strengths is their midfield. Led by Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb, partner them with the likes of young stars Jess Fitzgerald and Rylie Wilcox and there is a lot of talent, strength and whit in that group.


  • Can they put the pain of last year behind them?
  • Can they avoid relying on Ellie and Kirsty too much?

The Bulldogs existed last year’s finals series in utterly heartbreaking fashion, not able to get over the line against Collingwood despite an almighty comeback. That kind of loss can really sting, but is the emotional toll of it behind the young pups?

The Bulldogs’ midfield is one of their strengths, but at times they seem to rely on their experienced heads in Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb too much, and if they are tagged hard enough it really slows the Dogs momentum.


When talking about the cream of the crop of AFLW, one cannot go past Bulldogs skipper Ellie Blackburn. Consistently one of the best in the competition and when at her best is hard to stop, if some of her fellow Dogs’ midfielders can really step up and make sure she does not get tagged out of the game, it is hard to see why Blackburn will not be in contention come Best and Fairest night.


Isabelle Pritchard is one of those young Pups who has sort of flown under the radar the past couple of seasons, but has caught the eye of coaches this preseason with how hard she has been working. If this growth can translate into on field performances and she can help take the pressure of the likes of Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb, that could prove a huge boost to her side.


Making finals again last season was certainly a huge tick in the success criteria column for the Western Bulldogs, and after a nice quiet offseason they have had the time to keep the squad growing and developing and continue to gel even further, so they should make finals again this season. The question will be, can they go a week or two deeper than they did last year?

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