AFLW Round 2 – Western Bulldogs v Adelaide: Not The Same Bulldogs
It hasn’t even been a week since the Western Bulldogs women’s team walked onto the Whitten Oval turf for the first time in their history and recorded a memorable victory over another highly-fancied opponent in the Fremantle Dockers. Now they find themselves back onto the same ground tonight to take on another opponent that’s looking to find themselves in the frame of that maiden Grand Final berth in the Adelaide Crows.
As the thousands flocked to the ground to witness the Dogs attempt to go two wins in two games in the AFLW competition, I found myself stuck at work a little disappointed I couldn’t get myself out of work and in my car to Footscray again, but I did record the game to Foxtel so I can watch it afterwards.
I’m home at 10:30pm and after getting out of my work gear and into some more comfortable summer clothes, I jump onto the couch in the family lounge room and switch on the footy. Another beautiful summer evening in Footscray sees the Dogs kicking with the wind in the first quarter.
Kirsten McLeod, who made history last week by being the first Bulldog to kick a goal in the AFLW competition opened up the scoring again tonight, only this time it would be a behind, Ellie Blackburn and Hayley Wildes also miss chances on goal within the opening four minutes of play, seeing the Dogs up 3-0 at the four-minute mark.
Enter a talented young forward by the name of Sarah Perkins, who was overlooked in last year’s AFLW women’s draft due to her size, but Adelaide took the punt on her, signing her on as a free agent, and boy, oh boy has she delivered for the Crows so far in this competition. She kicks the opening goal of the game from just outside the goal-square, she’d go on to play a huge part in Adelaide’s first half.
Kirsten McLeod has shown us in only two games of Women’s footy that she is incredibly dangerous around the goals, but the one thing that’s letting her down is her finishing. She kicked 1.2 last week and tonight she has three behinds to her name before quarter time, the Dogs behind by three by the first break, only managing five behinds in total with the breeze. I fear it to be a very costly quarter for the girls.
They needed someone to step up and kick goals, and it took until midway through the second quarter for the Dogs to get their first goal, through their leader Katie Brennan, and gives the Dogs a three-point lead. From there, the Crows started to assert some control into this game. Shortly after McLeod registers her fourth behind of the evening, it was Jessica Sedunary, who had looked dangerous all throughout the first half, kicks a superb, gut-running goal, this was followed by Perkins nailing her second goal of the evening from long range – Jeeeezus this girl’s got a booming kick, how did nobody draft her?
With the Crows ahead at the half-time break, I took this time to go and fix myself up a nice cold drink after what has been a reasonably long evening.
‘Whiskey will do tonight I reckon’. I say to myself, as I set myself down on the couch again and prepare for a second-half Bulldog revival. It looked good early as I tucked into my whiskey. McLeod finally gets that goal she’s been searching for all night less than a minute inside the third, whilst Lauren Spark has provided the spark (I apologise for this bad pun) this team had been searching for, taking a number of a impressive contested marks, and missed a couple of shots on goal that the red, white and blue ladies could’ve done with.
But on the other end it was the Adelaide ladies getting it done. Rachael Killian kicks a standard crumbing goal, but it was the brilliance of Jenna McCormick and Kellie Gibson late in the third that would’ve killed off the Doggies’ girls. Young Canberra United soccer star McCormick gathered the ball just as it was going to bounce over for a point and then snapped over her body from the pocket to give Adelaide a 14-point advantage. Just a minute later, it was marquee signing Gibson that ran onto a loose ball to ram it through for a 20-point lead on the brink of three-quarter time.
It wasn’t looking pretty for our ladies, but things have happened in footy before. But sadly not on this occasion. An Angela Foley goal at the 11-minute mark sealed the result well and truly. The Dogs consistently butchered their opportunites inside 50, and most of this was due to Adelaide’s frontal pressure. It didn’t help that the girls were a bit agitated with the result not going in their favour, with a few of them looking to get into a bit of a push and shove with the Adelaide ladies. It was another game that displayed physicality from start to finish, but to me, this was not the same Bulldogs team that put on a clinic on the Dockers just six nights ago.
They didn’t look as well-structured, they were so horrendous with the ball by foot, but the one thing that stood out like Dog’s bollocks as I watched this all unfold, was the ill-discipline displayed by a few of our girls. Too many silly free kicks, whether it was late shoves in the back, late hits behind play or clumsy high tackles, by the fourth quarter it looked as if the Doggies girls were more interested in hurting the opposition than winning.
As I sat there and watched the clock tick down to the inevitable, I poured another glass of whiskey, waiting for that siren to sound and reflected on this game I just witnessed. It’s fair to say that Adelaide deserved this result, and with this win, they have firmly stamped themselves as one of the team’s to beat this year and proved that last week’s thumping of the Giants was not a ‘flat-track bully’ job. Not many people would’ve had them at 2-0 to start the season, but they travelled to Footscray and beat these ladies at their own game, have they earned the right to be a premiership favourite, I reckon so.
As for my Bulldogs, they were wasteful with their shots on goal tonight, but if they had kicked even one or two goals in that first quarter, could it have drastically changed the result of this game? Maybe, maybe not, we’ll never know for certain, but I’m confident that this was just a bad game for the Daughters of the West. Every team has them once and a while, but as they walk off the ground with an empty feeling that comes with losing a football game, I’m very confident that they’ll bounce back against an old foe next week.
Western Bulldogs 0.5 1.6 2.9 2.11.23
Adelaide 1.2 3.5 6.5 7.6.48
Western Bulldogs: Brennan, McLeod
Adelaide: Perkins 2, Sedunary, Killian, McCormick, Gibson, Foley
Western Bulldogs: Kearney, Blackburn, Scott, McLeod, Spark
Adelaide: Marinoff, Phillips, Perkins, Sedunary, Randall, Holmes
Umpires: Cheever, Burns, Mirabile
Crowd: 7,669 at Whitten Oval
Votes: 3: E.Marinoff (Adelaide), 2: E.Kearney (Western Bulldogs), 1: E.Phillips (Adelaide)