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The Western Bulldogs have defeated the Geelong Cats by 18points at Whitten Oval on Saturday evening.
With a strong breeze favouring one end of the ground, the Bulldogs were able to capitalise on their opportunities and then defended brilliantly when Geelong repeatedly went inside 50.
Just two points behind at the first break, the Western Bulldogs were really able to attack the second term, putting three quick goals on the board to no score for Geelong.
Geelong were only able to add a further one goal and two behinds to their score when they had the wind in the third term, they went scoreless in both the second and fourth quarters when kicking against it.
In the end the reigning premiers ran out three-goal victors, starting their title defence with two wins.
Ellie Blackburn (19 disposals, 9 tackles, 1 goal) was instrumental again for the Bulldogs, while Monique Conti (19 disposals) and Kirsty Lamb (17 disposals) were busy around the ball.
There were five individual goal scorers for the Bulldogs: Deanna Berry, Ellie Blackburn, Aisling McCarthy, Bonnie Toogood and Aisling Utri.
Overall, a very even performance across the field, with Lauren Spark and Libby Birch solid down back as well.
Geelong clearly missed the outside run of their Round 1 star Nina Morrison, the Cats will have to focus this week on who can play that role in her absence.
Meghan McDonald (19 disposals), Olivia Purcell (16 disposals, 5 tackles) and Julia Crockett-Grills (12 disposals, 8 tackles) worked hard inside for the Cats.
AFLW debutant Georgia Clarke got on the board with a major, as did club debutant Phoebe McWilliams.
The main concern from the match for the Cats was Aasta O’Connor. Her right knee was heavily strapped after a collision on the wing.
Western Bulldogs 5.4.34
Geelong Cats 2.4.16
After one-point wins in round one, the Western Bulldogs will host the Geelong Cats at VU Whitten Oval. Join The Roar for live coverage of the clash from 7:15pm AEDT.
In a nail biter, the Bulldogs kicked off their season with a one-point win over the Crows in Adelaide.
The players were thankful for the late start time, but still suffered through sweltering 36-degree heat for much of the first half.
Back-to-back goals by Katie Brennan and strong intercept marking by Lauren Spark changed the game for the Bulldogs and helped them across the line.
In Geelong, the Cats also won a thriller over Collingwood to start their first AFLW season.
It took some time, the Geelong women showing some nerves in the first term, but they settled in the second term and went into the main break in front by 11.
Collingwood fought back in the third, before two behinds for Geelong in the final term put them one point up, enough for a historic win in their first AFLW game.
Just the one change for the Bulldogs this weekend, while the Cats have three.
Irish recruit Aisling McCarthy will make her debut for the Dogs; named as the travelling emergency last weekend in Adelaide, McCarthy will take the field this week.
Belinda Smith has been omitted.
In devastating news for Geelong and the broader AFLW competition, number one draft pick and round one Rising Star nominee Nina Morrison has ruptured her right ACL at training on Thursday night.
Georgia Clarke will take Morrison’s place in the 21.
Georgie Rankin and Maighan Fogas make way for two big inclusions: Erin Hoare and Phoebe McWilliams.
McWilliams was a late withdrawal last Saturday, unable to recover from a tweaked hamstring at training, but will make her debut for Geelong this weekend. Erin Hoare is returning from a foot injury sustained in the VFLW last year.
Following the unfurling of their 2018 premiership flag, the Bulldogs will be eager to continue their winning form on their path to back-to-back titles.
Bulldogs by seven points.
Join The Roar for all the action from 7:15pm AEDT.
Venue: VU Whitten Oval, Footscray
Time: 7:15pm AEDT
TV: Fox Sports, Seven Network
Betting: Western Bulldogs $1.70, Geelong $2.15
B: Libby Birch, Lauren Spark, Bailey Hunt
HB: Naomi Ferres, Tiarna Ernst, Hannah Scott
C: Kirsty Lamb
HF: Nicole Callinan, Katie Brennan, Bonnie Toogood
F: Kirsten McLeod, Emma Mackie, Aisling Utri
FOL: Kimberley Rennie, Monique Conti, Ellie Blackburn
I/C: Celine Moody, Eleanor Brown, Angelica Gogos, Deanna Berry, Aisling McCarthy
B: Anna Teague, Rebecca Goring, Cassie Blakeway
HB: Denby Taylor, Meghan McDonald, Rebecca Webster
C: Renee Garing
HF: Georgia Clarke, Madeleine Boyd, Sophie Van De Heuvel
F: Kate Darby, Phoebe McWilliams, Jordan Ivey
FOL: Aasta O’Connor, Julia Crockett-Grills, Olivia Purcell
I/C: Erin Hoare, Mia-Rae Clifford, Madaleine McMahon, Danielle Orr, Madeline Keryk