Katie Brennan of the Tigers lays injured after copping a high bump.
Katie Brennan of the Tigers lays injured after copping a high bump.

Bulldogs upset by lowly Eagles, Brennan floored

AFTER three challenging weeks to open their AFLW life, the West Coast Eagles are on the board after holding on for a four-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Leederville Oval in Perth.

The Eagles didn't show a whole lot in their opening three losses to Collingwood, Fremantle and the GWS Giants. They only kicked five goals in total in those matches but they were a vastly more impressive looking team on home turf. West Coast kicked three goals to one after half-time with Grace Kelly kicking what was ultimately the sealer early in the fourth term in the 4.6 (30) to 3.8 (26) victory.

Eagles captain Emma Swanson was brilliant with 22 possessions and six clearances. Dana Hooker also had it 19 times, Niamh Kelly 16 and her sister Grace 14 as the Irish pair showed exciting signs.

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It was a tough loss to take for the Bulldogs, who now have one win from the opening four rounds. They also lost spearhead Bonnie Toogood to a knee injury before quarter-time.

Ellie Blackburn collected 19 possessions for the Bulldogs, Gabby Newton 16 (10 tackles), Kirsty Lamb 15 and Hannah Scott 15.

It was an impressive start for the Eagles. After a couple of chances, they got the game's first goal courtesy of a clever snap from Ashlee Atkins. That would be the only goal of the term despite a couple of strong marks in attack for the Bulldogs from Toogood before she left the field hobbling with a knee complaint.

The Dogs lost in a tight encounter away from home.
The Dogs lost in a tight encounter away from home.

The Bulldogs then kicked the only two goals of the second term, to Danielle Marshall from a free-kick in the goal square and then Kim Rennie after a strong contested mark.

That had the visitors up by five points at the major break.

West Coast took back control in the third quarter. It led to an early goal from Emma Swanson and then a strike of luck when it came off Hayley Bullas' back-heel as she was falling to the ground.

West Coast went into three quarter-time up seven and that became 12 early in the fourth when Grace Kelly ran into an open goal.

The Bulldogs clawed one back through usual defender Isabel Huntington. They continued to attack and had another golden chance courtesy of Kirsten McLeod. She missed her set shot and the Eagles held on for the four-point win.

SCORE

WEST COAST 1.3 1.4 3.6 4.6 (30)

WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.2 2.3 2.5 3.8 (26)

Goals: West Coast Eagles: A Atkins E Swanson G Kelly H Bullas.

Western Bulldogs: D Marshall I Huntington K Rennie.

Venue: Leederville Oval.

 

BRENNAN FLOORED AS CATS GET ON WINNERS LIST

Geelong are on the board in the 2020 AFLW season, with two goals apiece to Richelle Cranston and Georgia Clarke propelling the Cats to a 22-point win in a shootout with Richmond in Bendigo.

The sides were both winless at the bottom of Conference A heading into Saturday afternoon's clash but put on a highly entertaining show. The Cats kicked their highest score to prevail 10.7 (67) to 7.3 (45).

Geelong hadn't booted seven goals in a game since they entered the competition last season, but reached that mark by halftime as they set the win up with a six-goals-to-two second quarter.

A clumsy tackle attempt saw Katie Brennan take no further part. Picture: Michael Wilson/AFL Photos
A clumsy tackle attempt saw Katie Brennan take no further part. Picture: Michael Wilson/AFL Photos

Cranston also had 15 possessions to be among the best players, with Olivia Purcell outstanding with 20 touches and a goal.

The result leaves the Tigers bottom of Conference A, but there were promising signs for Tom Hunter's team.

Monique Conti had a day out with 28 disposals in a best-afield display and Courtney Wakefield booted three goals as Richmond kicked the highest score of their inaugural season.

The Tigers were left with an injury concern, however, as Katie Brennan didn't see out the contest, the Richmond skipper left dazed by a clumsy front-on tackling attempt by Jordan Ivey on the three-quarter time siren. Both teams hit the scoreboard early as the match began in warm conditions, with the Cats up by two points at the first break.

Clarke banged through her two goals as Geelong ran riot in the second term to lead by 27 points at halftime.

The situation looked grim for Richmond as the margin blew out to 41 points in the third quarter, but Wakefield's third major was one of four goals in succession as the Tigers made it an 18-point game at the final break. But Geelong's Julia Crokett-Grills kicked the only goal of the final term to seal the win.

The Cats will attempt to build on the win when they take on Gold Coast on Friday night in Mackay, while the Tigers will travel to Wagga Wagga to face GWS on Saturday.

Renee Garing celebrates after a Cats goal. Picture: AAP Image
Renee Garing celebrates after a Cats goal. Picture: AAP Image

SCOREBOARD

GEELONG 1.3 7.4 9.7 10.7 (67)

RICHMOND 1.1 3.1 7.1 7.3 (45)

GOALS

Geelong

G Clarke 2 R Cranston 2 A Teague D Higgins J Crockett- Grills K Darby O Purcell R Garing.

Richmond

C Wakefield 3 C Bernardi K Jacques L McClelland S Frederick.

BEST

Richmond: Conti, Wakefield, Monahan, Brennan, Molan, Campbell

Geelong: Purcell, Cranston, McWilliams, M.McDonald, A.McDonald, Crockett-Grills

 

ARDEN STREET HOMECOMING PERFECT FOR ROOS

North Melbourne star Jasmine Garner earns a crust as an apprentice plumber finding leaks and stopping them.

The midfield jet used those skills and some on Saturday at Arden Street to help the Kangaroos eke out a hard-fought 13-point win over AFLW expansion side Gold Coast Suns.

North Melbourne's spiritual homecoming was not without a nervous moments and rib-rattling tackles for the hosts, who came under fierce Gold Coast physicality.

It caught the Kangaroos on the hop, truth be told, especially in the first half as the Suns ripped in with reckless abandon and created scoring opportunities accordingly.

As plucky as the Suns were, however, it was the cool heads and superior ball-winning ability of North extractors Garner and Emma Kearney who ultimately prevailed in front of a crowd of 3280.

Jasmine Garner was a standout for the Roos on Saturday. Picture: Getty Images
Jasmine Garner was a standout for the Roos on Saturday. Picture: Getty Images

Garner started slowly with only the three disposals to quarter-time but the former Collingwood forward-turned-bullocking midfield ball magnet ran amok after the first change of ends.

The 25 year-old finished with 29 disposals, including 18 contested possessions and six clearances.

Kearney was equally as effective around the ground, with 26 touches including five forward 50 entries.

ARDEN SWEET

Mission accomplished.

The idea behind the redevelopment of Arden Street Oval - a large part of it anyway - was to bring footy back to North Melbourne and on Saturday the club's AFLW outfit christened the venue in style.

If the beautiful sunshine wasn't enough, or the pristine turf, the first three words on the Roos' banner captured the mood perfectly: "Back at home".

Even a Richmond supporter - going by the scarf draped over the balcony railing - in an apartment across the road kept a close eye on proceedings.

North returns to Arden Street on March 21 to host Western Bulldogs and with an even bigger crowd predicted who could argue against more games next year for all teams - AFL, VFL and AFLW.

WHAT THE COACH SAID

Kangaroos AFLW coach Scott Gowans heaped praise on his team's ability to absorb the Suns' pressure.

"We always knew that when we came up against a contested side that would be our test," Gowans said.

"I thought the game could've gone either way late into that last quarter but I was pretty pleased.

"We pulled the trigger during the last quarter and it worked, and I think gave the girls a little bit of belief that if you come up against a side like that you don't have to just play one way, you can play a different way and be OK."

The leadership of Kearney and Garner through the middle was not lost on the coach.

"I actually think she's running across the ground better than I've seen for a long time and what that's doing is taking the attention away from the other midfielders," Gowans said.

"Our pressure around the footy is allowing us to win a lot of outside footy and that's largely due to the workrate of Emma Kearney and Jaz Garner is getting better and better, and she is a pleasure to watch play footy."

HEARTBREAKERS

It will work out for Gold Coast Suns - eventually.

They play with great hunger and vigour.

It is a tough, brutal and uncompromising brand that, with time, will reap just rewards.

BEST

North: Garner, Kearney, Gavalas, Riddell, Gillespie-Jones

Gold Coast: Ernst, Ahrens, Stanton, Bella, Dunn



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