AFLW Round 4 – Western Bulldogs v Carlton: Standing up for more

 

I get the sense that pulling on a AFLW jumper would evoke a sense of pride for many of the players after years pushing to get women’s footy to the forefront. I can’t imagine the feeling of pride that was felt during Friday night’s game when the jumper also stood for so much more.

 

The fight to get women’s footy out of the shadows and onto the national stage shares a lot of similarities to the fight for equality in Australia. Whether that be hiding the fact you were a woman that played football or hiding your sexuality, being told the game you played wasn’t worthy of attention or that you yourself didn’t deserve a place in the world.  Or having to put up with the multiple stereotypes that have followed women in football and the LGBTQI+ community for decades.

 

To see the jumpers adorned with rainbows in a show of support for the wider LGBTQI+ community and every LGBTQI+ player that has played the game must of resonated with so many.

 

And the ‘YES’ in the place of the ‘F.F.C’ emblazoned on the back of the Bulldogs guernsey in recognition of the long fought battle for marriage equality in this country would have no doubt meant to so much to the players wearing the guernsey that night.

 

I know it did because it meant so much to me.

 

The AFLW has already stood up AFLM in terms of accepting openly LGBTQI+ athletes but Friday night felt like a celebration of all the values women’s footy has stood for. It was a brilliant atmosphere with rainbow flags aplenty, so brilliant in fact that there were rumours the bar had run out beer!

 

However, that was just about where the positives ended for Carlton. It was always going to be a test to compete against one of the flag favourites without their captain Bri Davey and star forward Tayla Harris. However it was the double blow to the Blues in the moments before the game that really took the wind out of Carlton’s sails.

 

Their stalwart in defence and arguably best defender in the league Danielle Hardiman was forced out of the side a few hours before with illness and then tough midfielder, Katie Loynes, who should be leading Cartlon’s best and fairest count, was out after injuring herself in the warm-up.

 

In the space of a few hours getting the win went from difficult to almost impossible, and when you look at the now historic losing margin, you can see that not much went right for Blues on Friday night.

 

Carlton looked in the game in the first quarter, showing great fight around stoppages and spending a lot of time their forward half. However, the Dogs hit the scoreboard first through Bonnie Toogood, and much like the namesake of their first scorer, they were too good for the Blues for the remainder of game.

 

Of the top possession getters, only two Carlton players occupied a spot in the top 10 and the Dogs lead the Blues in every stat except, interestingly, inside 50s which were as good as even.

 

Without their best players, Carlton couldn’t find an answer to stopping the excellent run and carry of Emma Kearney, the strength of Ellie Blackburn, the agility of Monique Conti and of course the record breaking forward Brooke Lochland.

 

Carlton’s best asset this season has been their defence but there was no stopping Lochland. Gab Pound and Breann Moody stepped up to fill the holes in defence, without Bri Davey and Danielle Hardiman, except they couldn’t find an answer to Lochland who finished the game with 17 possesions, 7 goals and 4 tackles. It was a dominant display and to be honest I don’t think many teams would have been able to stop her from running riot that night.

 

Lochland seemed to evade any Carlton player sent to stop her, always found herself in front of goal and, for a small forward, impressively was always the target. It was a huge display from just one player but she definitely reaped the rewards from playing with the better side on the night.

 

For Carlton, it was great to see former captain Lauren Arnell return to the side and make an instant impact, as well as seeing current captain Sarah Hosking lead from the front with a team high 18 dis-posals.

 

Darcy Vescio and Nicola Stevens couldn’t find their usual spark and were not as influential as usual but there are a few questions to be asked of Carlton. While midfielders like Shae Audley, the Hoskings, Madeleine Keryk and Sophie Li are adept at getting the contested ball, who is providing the outside run to get the ball moving?

 

Additionally, while the Blues and Dogs had the same number of inside 50s, why were the Dogs able to have 10 more shots on goal then the Blues? Is there too much burden being placed on the shoulders of Darcy Vescio?

 

It’s been an interesting season for the Blues who put a lot on the line when they went hard on the trade table and not in the draft. They’ve said that anything less than a premiership isn’t good enough, so what must change for them to earn that coveted top two spot. Can they do it quickly enough now that that spot is slowly slipping from their grasp?

 

They’ll be disappointed to have lost on such an important night for so many players, but with the competition proving to be the definition of unpredictable, a few changes to the Blues lineup and focus on some problem areas, anything could happen.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS     1.4     6.8     8.9     12.14     (86)
CARLTON                               0.0     0.0     2.1        2.1       (13)

GOALS
Western Bulldogs: Lochland 7, Toogood 3, Blackburn, Bruton
Carlton: Arnell 2

BEST
Western Bulldogs: Lochland, Kearney, Scott, Toogood, Blackburn, Conti
Carlton: S Hosking, Arnell, Moody, Gay

INJURIES 
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Mirabile, Rowe, Howorth

Official crowd: 8987 at Whitten Oval

 

 

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says:

    Thanks for the great report Lucy. It was a game of extremes. Carlton can cross this year off. A wonderful celebratory night for LGBTI+ community.

  2. Yvette Wroby says:

    Oops, forgot the Q!

  3. Lucy Watkin says:

    Thanks Yvette!

  4. John Butler says:

    Good stuff Lucy.

    A tough night for the Blues. But a great night on so many other fronts.

    Cheers

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