AFLW Round 3 – Adelaide v Western Bulldogs: On the road again

Adelaide v Western Bulldogs
1.35pm, Saturday, 17 February 2018
Norwood Oval, Adelaide

By Ed Carmine


As the final siren sounded last week signalling the second Bulldogs win in as many games played this season, my heart felt tremendously warm as it was also simultaneously breaking. The cruel cruciate injury to the season’s number one draft pick, Isabel Huntington, soured what had been a mighty team performance away from home.

Huntington’s form prior to disaster had been nothing short of sublime, as had that of her nineteen other teammates under the searing pressure of not only a determined Brisbane outfit, but also that of the oppressive thirty-six-degree temperature. Under such duress, they had undeniably proved to all and sundry that they were a team that didn’t mind winning the hard way.


With my day of toil completed, my interest levels piqued and a pizza en route, I settled in for a lazy afternoon on the couch to witness how the Daughters of the West, sans their young gun Huntington, would fare against the reigning Premiers in yet another game on enemy turf.


The crowd had begun to seek refuge in the shade or within arm’s reach of the several cans bars on the outer wing as the temperature rose beyond the thirty-degree mark. Hardly perfect footy weather. The attendance seemed down on what the Premiers had previously drawn to home fixtures, but I wasn’t naïve enough to imagine that they wouldn’t be staunchly and stereotypically parochial.


The first major surprise to the afternoon arose with Adelaide coach Bec Goddard’s decision to shift the out of form key forward and cult hero Sarah Perkins into the centre of the ground, whilst returning superstar Erin Phillips sat one out with the Dog’s rising star Libby Birch at the top of the Adelaide goal square. The old switcheroo. I like your style, Bec.


From the outset of the game it was clear that the Dogs coach Paul Groves was prepared to run with the same tactics that had accounted for the Lions the previous week, a deliberate possession based game with kicks over the quagmire to alleviate any potential for a congested game. Ellie Blackburn’s foot skills and accompanying vision shone early, as she managed to clear the ball from the stoppages, linking with her teammates classily down the field.


This controlled game paid early dividends, as goals to Emma Kearney and Aisling Utri provided the Dogs with a deserved lead heading toward quarter time. As the Bulldogs continued to play cool in the heat, Adelaide defender Dayna Cox lost hers when she landed back to back whacks to the stomachs of the dangerous Blackburn and Kearney and in turn finding herself on report. Phillips’ goal after the quarter time siren provided the only joy for the home fans in a quarter where their players had been dictated to by a side seemingly poised to pinch their crown.


My pizzas’ arrival was timely, as the previous openness of the game had been replaced by a genuinely enthralling arm wrestle with both teams desperate to pin the other down. Both sides had a case for the now mid-season desperation. The Crows season would be mathematically over if they buckled, whilst a three from three start for the dogs in a seven-week season would be priceless. The Dogs began to flex their biceps and firm their grip on the game with continual repeat entries into their forward fifty finally delivering Katie Brennan her first of the day after a myriad of one percenters from Brooke Lochland, the former speed skater. The Crow’s wings refused to buckle however, as Phillips slotted her second on her preferred right foot, abolishing any doubts that her injured quad was slowing her down at all.


Bec Goddard shuffled the whiteboard at half time, with Perkins and Phillips ‘unswitcherooing’ (yep, I’m going to run with it) and returning to their preferred positions. As though inspired, the crows lifted immediately with Phillips’ midfield apprentice, Ebony Marinoff returning to her All Australian form of last season. In turn, the congestion lifted and the Crows edged ahead narrowly on the old manual scoreboard after a wobbly set shot from dual athlete Jenna McCormick.


The Bulldogs remained adamant to force me into further arm wrestle analogies as they stole back the momentum with rebounding supply from the tenacious Hannah Scott as well as the lead with a valuable goal from the dominant Lochland. Scott’s repeat involvement lead to further deep forward fifty entries with another goal to Brennan coming after some altruistic play from rookie Monique Conti. Ascendancy was once again ripped away as Phillips tapped through a soccer goal late in the quarter to keep the home team’s score within a comfortable distance of their visitor’s.


With the margin in the Dog’s favour by less than a goal heading into the final quarter, it was no longer solely the pepperoni that had my mouth watering.


The final quarter added the last scoop in an irresistible sundae. The pace was frenetic with only the skills of each list’s veterans evident in patches, as the Sherrin made its way the length and back again of Norwood Oval. Erin Phillips added the maraschino cherry on top with another goal of the year contender from deep in the grandstand pocket to put the Crows back in front.


A miskick by Emma Kearney shortly after tied the scores with only minutes to play and the ball locked into the Dog’s forward line by a Hannah Scott lead wall across the centre of the ground. However, the Crow’s last line of defence refused to yield, with all three members dump tackling Brennan only moments before she devastatingly and innocuously injured her leg with the ball trapped on centre wing.


With the aforementioned parochial crowd providing the gust beneath the wings on their Crows, Rachel Killian offered her best Barry Breen impersonation with an ugly stab at the sticks to provide the point of difference, before McCormick sealed the game with her second after the siren to gift the pride of South Australia their first four points of the season.


The defeated Dogs having lead at every change, shuffled from the field understandably dejected. After a brutal week in which the team suffered two injuries to key players (adding to the loss of Daria Bannister in round one), were forced to travel upwards of five thousand kilometres and perform in oven like temperatures. I can only imagine how fatigued they feel as I lie drained on the couch after having done nothing more than eat and lap up the air conditioning.


ADELAIDE                         1.1     2.2     4.4     6.5     (41)
WESTERN BULLDOGS      2.1     3.1     5.3     5.4     (34)

ADELAIDE: Phillips 4, McCormick 2.
WESTERN BULLDOGS: Brennan 2, Kearney, Utri, Lochland.

ADELAIDE: Phillips, Marinoff, Randall, S. Allan, Rajcic.
WESTERN BULLDOGS: Lochland, Blackburn, Kearney, Brennan, Conti.


UMPIRES: Matthew Young, Jamie Broadbent, David Newell.

CROWD: 4,900

Phillips (A) 3, Marinoff (A) 2, Lochland (WB) 1.


About Ed Carmine

Lit grad, luddite and lover of the game.


  1. G’day Ed,

    How did your pizza taste while watching the good footy?

    As I was working during the match, I watched the replay on Watch AFL after work. Erin Phillips was too good. Leading Crow and she was everywhere. Leigh Montagna says she is the AFLW of Dustin Martin. And I was impressed with attacking footy played by Perkins.

    But Bulldog girls played hard too. Kearney, Brennan, Conti, Lochland and Scott chased footy and kicked well. I wished Katie was better than Erin on the field.

    I am sad to see mighty daughters of the west didn’t win, but admire their great efforts and hardworking.

    Go Doggie girls!


  2. G’day Yoshi,

    One of the many truths I have discovered over the course of my life is that it is impossible to go wrong with a pizza.

    I’m not one to make player comparisons, so I won’t echo Joey’s sentiments, but she is certainly a dominant force and rightfully deserves her place as one of the AFLW’s superstars.

    You’re spot on I feel about the Dogs. Their work rate all day was superb and I found it hard to omit many of them from my post match votes. The fact that they had to back up interstate after such trying conditions the previous week only makes the Lions win over the Blues last night that much more impressive as well.

    I share your sentiments in regards to the playing lists efforts and work rate. They’ve certainly attracted my interest ,along with the Lions, for such traits, along with their desire to play an attacking brand of football.

    I look forward to their game on Friday, but it’s still a ‘Go Saints’ from me.


  3. Yvette Wroby says

    Thanks Ed. Love the mix of pizza and footy and it was an incredible game to watch. All you have to say is ‘Erin Phillips’ and the spine tingles.. like the hyenas in Lion King when they said Mufasa! Broke me to see Katie hurt. Nice report!

  4. Thank you very much Yvette!

    I’m just wondering if she’ll be able to win back to back league B&F’s after missing the first fortnight. If I was a betting man I’d have a few quid on her.

    Hopefully Brennan will be back sooner rather than later. It would be nice if her body would allow her a full season. I also hope the Dog’s rotten run with injuries halts soon as well.


  5. Well played Ed the Rachel Killian offered her best,Barry Breen inpersonation line 3 Votes thank you

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