Bulldogs scrape home against Dockers to maintain unbeaten start to AFLW season

Gabby Newton has produced the goods in the clutch moment to help lift the Western Bulldogs to a thrilling three-point AFLW win over Fremantle at Princes Park.

Key points:

  • The Bulldogs now hold a 3-0 win-loss record this season
  • The Dockers had led the Bulldogs during the final quarter
  • They are yet to record a victory this season

The Dockers managed just a single behind in last week’s 26-point loss to Geelong, but they were full of fight on Friday night as they threatened to pull off a huge upset.

Fremantle led by four points with less than nine minutes remaining in the match, but Newton pulled off a big contested mark near the top of the goal square to give her side the lead.

Kirsty Lamb (23 disposals, six marks) and Ellie Blackburn (19 disposals, eight tackles) dug deep to ensure Fremantle could not hit back, with the Bulldogs winning 3.5 (23) to 3.2 (20).

The result lifted the Bulldogs (3-0) to the top of the ladder, while Fremantle (0-3) is second last and with its finals hopes fading fast.

Newton, a former number-one draft pick, missed all of last season after undergoing a dual shoulder reconstruction.

The 21-year-old midfielder has been stationed up forward this season to ease her back in, and she stood tall against the Dockers with a series of important marks.

Her last-quarter goal helped save the blushes of Bulldogs teenager Rylie Wilcox, who cost Blackburn a goal early in the final quarter when she attempted to mark the ball as it was going through.

Fremantle midfielders Hayley Miller (16 disposals, seven tackles) and Kiara Bowers (17 possessions, nine tackles) battled hard all day, while Emma O’Driscoll provided important rebound from defence.

It took Fremantle just 10 seconds to equal their entire score from last week when forward Amy Franklin sent a shot flying into the post.

A snapped goal to Aine Tighe just before quarter-time gave the Dockers a one-point lead at the first break and the margin extended to eight points when Dana East nailed a goal on the run early in the second term.

Wilcox produced her own piece of magic a short time later to pull the margin back to two points when she trapped the bouncing ball before kicking truly on the run.

Fremantle forward Megan Kauffman kicked the only goal of the third quarter courtesy of her run-down tackle on Katie Lynch.

But Fremantle’s slender lead was not enough, with Newton standing tall in attack when her team needed her most to help snatch victory.




Author: Ivan Robinson