AFLW Round 4 – Western Bulldogs v Collingwood: The Footy Gods have their say
25 February 2017
Round 4: Western Bulldogs v Collingwood
In Round 4 of the AFLW Season we learned that the Footy Gods giveth as much as they taketh away.
As Collingwood defeated the Western Bulldogs to secure their first win in the inaugural competition and the highly touted and scrutinised full-forward Moana Hope kicked her first goal for the season, we were reminded that AFLW isn’t the dream it promised to be for everyone.
We have seen a few season-ending injuries in the first few rounds of AFLW and they have all been heart-breaking. But there was something different about seeing what we fear will be an ACL for Kate Sheahan when she went down late in the second quarter on Saturday night.
Her story was one of the many ‘dream come true’ tales we have heard during the evolution of this competition. She played footy until she was fourteen and was then told she had to give it up. Now thirty-four, she was pushed into the AFLW system by none other than AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan. She was then rookie listed by the Pies.
Saturday night was her debut. She was a late call up after Christina Bernadi was a late exclusion due to injury. This was her chance. Collingwood posted a picture of Sheahan on Twitter announcing her debut with a bright and beaming smile next to father, football journalist Mike Sheahan. It was all set in place for Kate to finally have her fairy tale moment.
Then all in an insignificant instant, the fairy tale turned into a nightmare as she twisted and buckled, falling to the ground clutching her knee. The image of her father in the stands broadcast on the big screen no longer beaming with the same pride as the previously posted picture. His face now one of fear and concern as his daughter was carried off the ground, tears of pain streaming down her face.
After the half time break Collingwood came back onto the field galvanised and with their increased pressure they converted to make an impact on the scoreboard – Jasmine Garner slotting a handy two goals into two minutes a significant factor in boosting their lead.
The Bulldogs charged and stand-in captain Ellie Blackburn was remarkable as she opened the final quarter with an impressive goal but it wasn’t enough to bring her pups back into the game. The Bulldogs now finish their four weeks at home with 1-3 record.
The fairy tale would tell us that the Bulldogs, one of the two teams who committed to women’s football long before this season seemed possible would be one of the fiercest participants and would have used their first four matches at the Whitten Oval fortress to flex their muscle on the competition. But while football has its fairy tales it also has a cruel way of turning them quickly into horror stories. The Bulldogs’ season may not be a horror story yet but work needs to be done to bring back some of the magic that we saw in Round 1.
As for Sheahan, we can only hope for the best and that this is not the only chance she has to get her football happily-ever-after.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.2 1.4 1.4 3.7 (25)
COLLINGWOOD 1.1 1.1 5.2 5.2 (32)
Western Bulldogs: Lamb 2, Blackburn
Collingwood: Garner 2, Hope, D’Arcy, Eva
Western Bulldogs: Blackburn, Kearney, Lochland, Lamb, Callinan
Collingwood: Eva, Garner, Hutchins, Cameron, Kuys