Bulldogs lose three in loss

Bulldogs' captain Ellie Blackburn (AAP Image/James Ross)

The Western Bulldogs slow AFLW start continued on Friday night against Adelaide at Norwood Oval.

The Bulldogs are yet to register a win from their first seven matches of the season, this is the first time they have started a season 0-7 since the scrapping of the conference system in 2020, while the Crows remain undefeated with just three rounds left.

The Dogs were on the back foot from the outset, losing 9.5 (59)-2.5 (17).

Alice Edmonds (25 hitouts) starred in the ruck for the forlorn Bulldogs alongside Naomi Ferres (six intercept possessions), while the usually prolific Ellie Blackburn overcame a rare slow start to collect a game-high 13 contested possessions.

With the Bulldogs losing gun forwards Deanna Berry (leg) and Celine Moody (shoulder) to season-ending injuries earlier in the week, the visitors were further hit when young midfielder Keeley Coyne went down with a knee injury five minutes into the opening quarter.

Less than two minutes later, fellow teammate Kirsten McLeod was taken out of the game with a concussion.

Sarah Hartwig kicked a major to keep the visitors alive but Adelaide picked apart the rattled Bulldogs to gain a four-point lead before quarter-time.

And just when life couldn’t get worse, the Bulldogs lost Dominique Carruthers in a courageous marking contest against Eloise Jones in the second term.

“I was extremely proud of them,” Bulldogs’ coach Chris Grant said.

To have three players down at the start of the second quarter… to keep them to 59 (points) was enormous, top team playing a bottom team who’s lost three players in perfect conditions you probably think they are kicking 90 odd.

“I’ve been proud of them a lot but probably never as proud as what I am tonight.

With just three rounds to go in the home and away season, Grant said there is still a lot to play for.

“We still want to win, we’re still aiming to win games,” he said.

“As I said to the coaches, this is where we need to earn our money, this is when coaching needs to comes to the fore.

“You really need to coach as best as you can, I think our assistant coaches have been sensational.”

While it has been a “tricky” season to navigate, amid losses and injuries, Grant said the mentality of his group has been fantastic.

“Most of the credit goes to the players, they are just a really connected, resilient group,” he said.

“I give 90 per cent of the credit for how they are mentally to the actual playing group themselves.”