Blackburn lifts Dogs to breakthrough win

IT has been a long time coming for Western Bulldogs fans, but the red, white and blue finally heard the club song post-game on the weekend, defeating West Coast to enjoy a much-needed victory. After going 0-8 to start the season in a year that has involved a horror run of injuries, the Bulldogs returned home from the west with the four points in the bank.

Unless the Dogs cause a stunning upset over premiership contenders North Melbourne, they will still accept the wooden spoon in Season 8, but getting a win on the board will release the pressure valve a touch more than a winless season would.

Unsurprisingly, skipper Ellie Blackburn lead from the front, with an enormous 32 disposals, nine marks, five clearances, eight inside 50s, four tackles and seven score involvements to be best on ground. She often went head-to-head with West Coast young gun Ella Roberts who helped herself to 27 disposals, five marks, six clearances, three inside 50s five tackles and seven score involvements, but Blackburn had the last laugh.

Along with the likes of former number one pick Gabrielle Newton – who if the Bulldogs keep it, will be joined by another pick one – and Daisy Bateman, Blackburn had some big moments and simply refused to lose that game.

Often underrated in AFL Women’s circles somehow, Blackburn is among the very best in the league. A heart and sole player, she has as much impact on the outside as she does on the inside, and the Bulldogs woes are definitely not an indictment on her.

Blackburn has been steadfast since day one, leading the Dogs to a flag in the league’s second season, and remains the face of the red, white and blue. The poor performance of the Bulldogs this season has overshadowed the fact that at 28 years-old, the skipper has found career-best form.


SeasonDisposalsClearancesCentre ClearancesCont. PossUncont. Poss

As the table above shows, Blackburn has career-highs across the board in all the key metrics for an inside midfielder. She is plus-5.7 disposals, plus-2.1 clearances, plus-1.0 centre clearances, plus-1.9 contested possessions and plus-1.5 uncontested possessions across her previous season highs throughout her illustrious career.

On those numbers, one would suggest she is in league best and fairest contention, but unfortunately for Blackburn, the Bulldogs consistently losing means she will rarely pick up the three votes. However if the Dogs do get votes, expect Blackburn to be among them heavily, and you can pencil in three votes for her performance on the weekend.

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