Bulldogs outclassed by Demons in their first game of the season

By Molly Magennis

The Western Bulldogs were outclassed by Melbourne in their AFLW season opener, recording a 24-point-loss at Whitten Oval on Saturday night.

Melbourne’s 6.10 (46) to 3.4 (22) win meant they were able to take home the annual Hampson-Hardeman Cup, the seventh time the Demons have done so since its inception nine years ago.

The Dog’s were left goalless in the first quarter, managing to snag their first major in the early minutes of the second term thanks to star key forward Izzy Huntington.

However two minutes after hitting the scoreboard, Huntington sustained a serious knee injury which took her off the ground for the rest of the match.

The rest of the game was largely uneventful for the Bulldogs and they were easily outscored by the Demons.

Despite the loss, several players impressed, including captain Ellie Blackburn who managed to notch up 21 disposals, one goal and seven tackles.

Blackburn was named in the Bulldogs best alongside Huntington and Bonnie Toogood.

Speaking in his press conference after the game, coach Nathan Burke said the start to the game was terrible.

“We just didn’t play the type of football we wanted to play – the good thing was that we were able to change that,” he said.

“I would’ve been really disappointed if the way we started was the way we continued, so the fact that we were brave enough to say ‘no, that’s not us’, let’s change it and play a different way, that pleased me.

“There were glimpses of how we want to play the game that actually worked, and so the message to the players is one, we have to learn how to start better; two, we can change things when we’re not playing well, and that will happen again; and three, when we play our style of football, it works and stacks up against a really good side in Melbourne.”

Burke said he was pleased with Blackburn’s performance despite her being quiet to begin with.

“She will give everything she’s got, and that’s why she’s an amazing player and amazing captain.”

Former Greater Western Sydney player Elle Bennetts also managed to impress in her first game for the Dogs, with 12 disposals and six tackles.

“Elle was a bit of a barometer for our team – she probably started a bit slow, but as she got into the game and into the positions we want our midfielders to get to, I think it gave the others a bit of confidence,” Burke said.

The Dogs will take on Geelong this Saturday at 6.40pm at GMHBA stadium.

WESTERN BULLDOGS: 0.1 1.1 3.4 3.4 (22)

MELBOURNE: 3.0 4.6 5.8 6.10 (46)

GOALS: Huntington, Toogood, Blackburn