AFLW Round 7 – GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs: Breaking sushi with my daughter
GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs
7:10pm, Saturday 18 March
Ikon Park, Melbourne
With the Giants deciding to play their final home game not too far from where we live, I decided to make this game a bit of a family event and use it as an opportunity to continue my ongoing AFL indoctrination program aimed at my 12 year old daughter. The program itself had been an abject failure to date, but just maybe…
Listening to the various Melbourne radio stations over the past six weeks or so, hearing stories of how fathers and daughters had bonded while enjoying the AFL Women’s, I pictured a life-changing event. My daughter and I would have a meeting of minds, united by these awesome women playing our great game.
First step of the indoctrination program was to bribe her with some yummy food. We settled for some sushi purchased in one of Manuka’s trendy eateries, but made a grave error in deciding to take the sushi with us to consume at the ground, just across the road.
The officious and over-bearing security guard examined our tiny plastic bag of unbranded sushi, barely enough for two people, and loudly declared that this was commercial food which could not be brought into Manuka Oval.
Really? A tiny bit of unbranded sushi, in a small, plain plastic bag? Under the glare of other patrons lining up, we suffered the ignominy of being turned away from the turnstile, forced to find a seat in nearby Telopea Park where we could consume our sushi in silence.
The indoctrination program was off to a bad start, but we were able to quickly move past this initial let-down.
The Giants made the early running once the game started, and were pretty much in control of the game for a quarter and a half. Deep into the 2nd quarter they led in both contested and uncontested marks, controlling the footy with precision passing.
This came as quite a surprise to me, and the thought then occurred to me that with such a short off-season, the girls were starting to enter a period of peak match fitness and ball handling ability, just as the home and away season was about to end. Something for the administrators to ponder.
In relation to this period of dominance by the Giants, it’s worthwhile mentioning who their prime movers were:
Jess Dal Pos: I have noticed Dal Pos in other games and I rate her as one of the very best footballers in the whole comp. She’s a smooth mover, with a sweet left foot, often setting up quality inside 50m entries, but she’s a very hard worker as well, as 8 tackles for the night attests.
Jacinda Barclay: Plays as a permanent forward target, she took a few big marks early on, scored the opening goal of the game from distance, and continued to present for most of the night.
Rebecca Beeson: The busy bee of the team, covers stacks of ground, an important link player with 7 handballs on the night. When she scored the Giants’ 2nd goal mid way through the 2nd quarter, things looked dire for the Bulldogs.
Late in the 2nd quarter, we witnessed a massive momentum shift, with the Bulldogs scoring two goals in the final three minutes to snatch the lead just before half time, a lead which was never surrendered.
I would put the momentum shift at the Bulldogs upping their tackling pressure, and working hard to cut off the easy uncontested marks, which the Giants had excelled at up to that point in the game.
As usual Ellie Blackburn and Emma Kearney were in the thick of the action, but the pleasing thing is that they managed to bring a few of their team mates into the game, especially in the 2nd half which the Bulldogs dominated.
Hannah Scott had 13 disposals, 8 tackles and a goal. Brooke Lochland worked hard with 7 tackles. Kirstly Lamb chipped in with two goals.
The Bulldogs were able to turn around the marking stats in that 2nd half, with contributions coming from Lauren Spark and Rebecca Neaves.
Positives I took out of the game:
- For the Bulldogs, it was important to not end up with the wooden spoon in the inaugural season and show we are a team of contributors (for the first time since round 1).
- For the Giants, it’s pleasing for the competition as a whole that a team with two-thirds of the players coming from NSW/ACT could be very competitive for the whole season.
And how are we to judge my AFL indoctrination program? Well…
W Bulldogs: 0.2 2.5 4.6 7.10 (52)
GWS Giants: 0.1 2.1 2.2 3.2 (20)
W Bulldogs: Lamb 2, Gogos, McLeod, Lambert, Scott, Blackburn.
GWS Giants: Barclay, Beeson, McWilliams.
W Bulldogs: Blackburn, Kearney, Scott, Lochland, Lamb.
GWS Giants: Swanson, Dal Pos, Barclay, Beeson, Barr.
UMPIRES: Nic McGinness, Vic Rawlings, Matt Geddes.
OUR VOTES: Blackburn (WB) 3, Kearney (WB) 2, Dal Pos (GWS) 1.