Dogs premiers after strong second half
Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 02:45 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
Western Bulldogs are the 2018 AFLW premiers, which was set up on the back of a strong superb second half of football played by the daughters of the west. It was heartbreaking for the Brisbane Lions who were unlucky again to go down in the AFLW Grand Final two years in a row. This grand final was a tale of two halves, as the Lions played a great first half of football and then were quiet in the second half where the Dogs became played dominant football in the premiership quarter. It was a very tough high intensity match of women’s football played by both teams this afternoon at a wet and slippery, Ikon Park.
Image Source: @MichaelCWilson
It was a tough and relentless start to the match from both teams in the opening quarter of the grand final. The Lions brought the pressure early to the Dogs with their superb tackles and they stood up well in their defensive 50. Jess Wuetschner kicked to Sophie Conway who slotted through the opening goal of the match for the Lions. Angelica Gogos placed a great run down goal saving tackle on Wuetschner who was on her way to put through a certain goal, but due to the pressure from Gogos she just missed it. Rising Star Sophie Conway was on fire in the opening term with her forward pressure for the Lions and her two shots on goal. Kate Lutkins played great in defense for the Lions. In a low scoring quarter, the Lions led by a goal at quarter time.
This second quarter was a scoreless and intense second term from both teams. Kate Lutkins continued her strong start in defense for the Lions in the second quarter. Neither team was able to break away clear with possession due to the strong tackling pressure put on from both teams. The Dogs found it hard to get out of the Brisbane wall in defense and also the defensive pressure from both teams was outstanding. Particularly, Lutkins was a brick wall in the Dogs forward line and the Dogs could not get the football past her.
In the second quarter, the Lions played better in the wet than the Dogs, possibly a factor was they had played more football this year in the wet than the Dogs. They made it difficult for the Dogs forwards to score a goal. Kaitlyn Ashmore placed a great rundown tackle on Tiarna Ernst. Sabrina Frederick-Traub kicked the football in the forward half, but Lauren Spark intercepted the mark brilliantly in defense. It was a high pressured and high intensity second half from both teams. Lutkins was the best player in the first half. At the main break the Lions were up by a goal over the Dogs.
The Dogs came out with all the run in the third quarter and they took control, as they outscored the Lions three goals to one. It was a good tight contest from both teams even though the Dogs lifted their intensity in and around the contest. Deanna Berry who was recruited from the Demons in the offseason kicked the Dogs first goal of the match after a quick breakaway, bursting out of the contested situation. Berry kicked the goal from just on 50m. Kirsten Mcleod dribbled through the goal for the Dogs second of the third quarter of the match.
Emma Kearney showed her courage as she put her body on the line. Kearney came off second best, but she did not let it faze her because she brushed off the trainers. Breanna Koenan placed a sling tackle on Kirsten Lamb who was slow to get to her feet and Lamb came to the bench to get assessed too. Monique Conti from 40m out on the run and nailed through a beauty of a running goal for the Dogs. It was an impressive goal from the young gun Conti who had a massive third term. The Dogs were on fire in the third term and at three quarter time the Dogs had a 13-point advantage over the Lions. It was a very exciting tight last stanza.
In the final stanza, the Lions outscored the Dogs two goals to one but it did not matter at the final siren as the Dogs held on to win. The Lions had an ideal start to the final quarter with the opening goal via Wuetschner who booted through the goal from the pack. It was a hot football due to the toughness shown from both teams in and under the contest. Hannah Scott went down and Sabrina Frederick Traub also went down after they put their bodies on the line but both continued to play. This passage of play summed up how much it meant to each of the players, because each and every woman out there gave it their all and put their bodies on the line making for some tired bodies out there late in the fourth quarter.
Ellie Blackburn placed a strong tackle on Shannon Campbell who looked to knock her head into the ground. Campbell did not look to be in a good way, as she was taken from the ground in the hands of trainers. Shane Campbell took no further part in the match with about five trainers on the bench supporting her neck.
Kearney placed a good match winning tackle on Kaitlyn Ashmore and was awarded the free kick in front of goal and slotted through the goal between the big sticks. Emma Zielke picked up the football and put it on the boot, but former Wimbledon Hawks player Lauren Spark was there on the last line with a defensive spoil. Wuetschner scored a great goal and a much needed one for the Lions late in the final quarter.
It was a nail biter of a match between both sides who played brilliant top-notch football all afternoon. The Dogs held on by a goal to become the 2018 AFLW premiers after a dominant second half of football. Conti was the player of the grand final. The youngster has been brilliant in her first year in the AFLW after switching codes from Basketball to AFLW.
Image Source: @MichaelCWilson
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