AFLW Round 1 – Western Bulldogs v Fremantle: Hot night west of the city
Round 1: Western Bulldogs v Fremantle Dockers
My first visit to Whitten Oval was via public transport. Following the crowd at Flinders Street Station, then again once at West Footscray Station, and straight forward getting to the ground. No real queue, fast bag check, and I ended up in the stand with a bit of restricted viewing by 7 pm. Just in time for the Bulldogs to run out for their warm up. It was pretty humid out of the breeze. Fremantle soon on the ground. Some friends had got their earlier, and scored seats near the commentary box. Most of the crowd around me were Bulldog supporters or neutrals, just a few in Fremantle colors. The warm up continued until about 7.20. I couldn’t see any player numbers on the warm up jumpers.
Both teams had gone for rhyme with their banner.
Fremantle: Freo-sister-ship has set sail/to leave a purple legacy trail.
Bulldogs: Our boys of the west/have proven they’re best/rejoice again supporters/now we unleash our daughters.
The breeze prevented any numerous raising and lowering to display the banners, and one rope snapped on the Fremantle banner. Fremantle are wearing a white jumper (clash?), not shown in the photo on page 26 of the Record.
The Bulldogs won the toss and kicked with the wind. The stadium lights came on not long after first bounce. In the first quarter we got the first goal, a send off with the blood rule, and a set shot into the wind not going the distance. Indeed any lofted kick into the breeze was held up. At the quarter time break there was a pancake race overseen by the Pancake Parlour mascot (who knew!). I wonder if all contestants got to keep their t-shirts?
Freo shut down any kick out after scoring a point, and the Bulldogs went forward with no-one in front to kick to except Fremantle defenders. Katie Brennan had a set shot, kept the ball low, and scored an impressive goal into the wind. At the main break it was Bulldogs 3-0-18 to Fremantle 1-5-11.
Four Auskick matches took over the ground. Afterwards they lined up for the umpires and Fremantle run through. The Bulldogs had to do with their three mascots. The third quarter action was pretty much all up the northern end, with the Bulldogs scoring a lot of shots, but mainly points. Sometimes all 32 players were within that end 50m arc. There was a Bob Jane sponsored tyre obstacle and kick a dribble goal competition which was won by the first contestant. In the last quarter the free kicks seemed to go to the team kicking with the wind (as they had all match) but Fremantle couldn’t take full advantage of the breeze. There was one elbow to the head while off the ground incident, and the match review will probably look at that one. Over-running the ball was a bit of a problem, and clean pick ups few and far between, but that’s typical of any first round match. A final goal against the wind for the Bulldogs and it was virtually all over.
Western Bulldogs: 2.0, 3.0, 5.6, 6.8 (44)
Fremantle Dockers: 1.0, 1.5, 1.5, 1.6 (12)
Western Bulldogs: Brennan 2, McLeod, Lambert, O’Connor, Blackburn
Fremantle Dockers: Melissa Caulfield
Western Bulldogs: Kearney, Blackburn, Brennan, Ernst.
Fremantle Dockers: Donnellan, Hooker, Smith
UMPIRES: Cheever, Jankovskis, Toovey
MY VOTES: Brennan (Western Bulldogs) 3, Kearney (Western Bulldogs) 2, Callinan (Western Bulldogs) 1.