Dogs brush past Dees to make AFLW grand final
Saturday, March 17 2018 @ 08:30 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
The Western Bulldogs won by two points, after goal sneak Brooke Lochland booted through the sealer to put an end to the Melbourne Demons season in an absolute classic game of AFLW at the Whitten Oval.
Image Source: @aflwomens
It was a high-pressure intensity filled game of finals type football with neither side giving each other an inch. This was reflected on the scoreboard, as the Dees were the only team who scored a goal in the opening term. Rochelle Cranston was the first goal scorer midway through the first quarter, because she was awarded a free kick. Sarah Lampard in her first match of the season unfortunately came off the ground in the hands of trainers, after she landed awkwardly on her leg. It was all the Dees in the opening quarter, as they kept the Dogs scoreless. Daisy Pearce, Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea all began the match well for the Dees. At quarter time the Dees led by 7 points over the Dogs.
The tight contest continued in the second term, which was filled with immense physicality, tackles and repeated efforts from both sides. Emma Kearney won a free kick and Kearney used the breeze to her advantage well and nailed through the Dogs first goal of the match. Lampard’s night was over as she was on the bench with crutches with what was reported to be a knee injury. Anna Teague held onto Katie Brennan for too long and Brennan was given the free kick. Brennan kicked the goal truly.
Deanna Berry provided some individual brilliance because she gathered the football and ran into an open goal, as she broke away clear. The Dogs had all of the running and attacking play in the second quarter. Karen Paxman marked strongly as she made her way from the back of the pack to the front and she kicked the goal nicely between the big sticks against the breeze. Paxman was huge for the Dees in the second quarter. Emma Kearney was a ball magnet and everywhere in the first half of the match, as she racked up 15 disposals with 13 of them contested and 5 clearances. Kearney is a gem of an AFLW player. At half time the Dogs were up by 7 points over the Dees.
It was a tense third stanza, as the Dogs were kept scoreless and the Dees scored the only goal of the quarter. The opening goal of the third quarter came from a stoppage in the Dees goal square and Katherine Smith slotted through the goal from the stoppage. This goal was Smith’s first goal in her AFLW career. Hannah Scott put a great rundown chase on Alisha Newman who went for a superb run and was going to kick one of the great running goals in the season. Even though she could not catch Newman it placed enough pressure on Newman who missed the running goal. It was one of the points of the season. The Dees had repeated inside 50s, but credit to the Dogs who held up well in their defensive 50. At three quarter time the Dees led narrowly by 5 points.
The final term was a tight tussle again from both sides who played a finals intensity brand of football and made it hard their opposition to score a major. Cranston placed a good hard hip and shoulder on Kearney and Kearney was slow to get back to her feet. A free kick was awarded to the Dogs after Monique Conti was tackled high and from the goal square she nailed through the goal from 15m out. Brennan gave away a free kick as she slung Harriet Cordner to the ground.
Cranston was influential in the final quarter for the Dees. Kate Hore put through the much-needed goal for the Dees into the breeze from a set shot. It was an intense last final five minutes in the final quarter and the Dogs had one inside 50 after another, but the Dees defenders held up strongly. Brooke Lochland snap kicked the goal and put the Dogs in front with minute and a half left in the match. Scott delivered as she took the saving mark, as the Dees pressed forward.
Lauren Spark put on a fine display in defense, as she kept Tegan Cunningham quiet up forward for the Dees. The Dogs were two point winners in one of the best matches of AFLW and they are now into their first AFLW Grand Final. It was heart wrenching for the Dees who gave it their all but just could not get the win.
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