The Western Bulldogs have won the 2018 AFLW premiership by one straight kick over the Brisbane Lions in a thrilling contest at Ikon Park.
The Bulldogs won the match 4.3.27 to the Lions score of 3.3.21 in wet conditions in the second season.
After fighting off the wooden spoon last year, the club has won their second premiership in three years after the success of the men’s team in 2016.
The match was an arm wrestle all day with the Dogs kept goalless in the first half, but the Dogs kicked away in the third quarter with three goals to none to take the lead at the end of the premiership quarter, before holding on for the one-goal win.
Bulldogs’ Monique Conti picked up 8 disposals (14 in total) in the third quarter to gain the attention of voters in the Best on Ground performance.
For the Lions, Kate Lutkins (19 disposals, five marks) was a pillar in defence all day, while Jess Wuetschner kept them in the game late in the match with her second goal coming in the final quarter. Jamie Stanton (19 disposals), Nat Exon (16 disposals, nine tackles), and Alex Anderson (15 disposals, 6 tackles) can hold their heads up high.
Brisbane were hot on the contest in the first half, but failed to put away the Bulldogs early, with just one goal to their name for the first quarter, and both teams goalless in the second quarter.
They’ll be left to wonder how they’ve let two grand finals in a row slip away after losing to inaugural premiers Adelaide last year.
Almost every statistical category went in the favour of Brisbane, however, the telling statistic of the day would be the clearances to the Dogs, with the low-scoring affair at a gridlock for most of the match.
For the Dogs, Ellie Blackburn had 17 disposals, Emma Kearney (15 and one goal), Conti (14 and one goal). Jenna Bruton, Kirsty Lamb and Angelica Gogos were all solid contributors on the day.
The crucial third quarter saw Katie Brennan’s forward replacement Kirsten McLeod snag a goal in a return of faith.
Putting behind a week of controversy, acting captain Ellie Blackburn raised the cup with suspended star Katie Brennan and premiership coach Paul Groves.
Groves (who also became a father again during the week) paid tribute to his side after the game saying the program was set up, but said the club’s decision to contest the Katie Brennan suspension was spoken about to the team’s understanding.
But in the end, it mattered little as the Bulldogs will ride celebrations for the rest of the weekend in Footscray.
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