Roos end Dogs’ unbeaten run in AFLW
North Melbourne manager Darren Crocker hailed his team’s first performance in four quarters of the season after ending the Western Bulldogs’ unbeatable start in the AFLW season with a 15-point win at the Punt Road Oval.
The doors were locked before the holiday quarter on Friday and the Kangaroos were locked inside, triumphing from 6.7 (43) to 4.4 (28).
Jasmine Garner (26 eliminations) was brilliant and was cleverly assisted by Jenna Bruton as the Kangaroos had the lead over the Dogs’ vaunted ball brigade.
Intercept points from Katie Lynch and Isabella Grant in defense were a feature of the Bulldogs, while seventeen-year-old Rylie Wilcox’s two goals kept her team in play, which remained in the balance for most of the afternoon.
“We thought it was much closer to the four-quarter performance we were looking for,” said Crocker.
“We just had moments in matches that let us down in the first four rounds.
“For much of this match we were really challenged: they (the Bulldogs) weren’t 4-0 for no reason.
“We had the game as we would like”.
The Kangaroos combined their strength in the competition with fierce tackles to dictate the proceedings early on, throwing the first shot through the middle striker Isabella Eddy, who found the goal intelligently in the first 90 seconds.
The Dogs weathered the initial storm and stabilized, taking a lead in the quarter-time when Rocky Cranston walked in with the door open.
Irishman Vikki Wall, who was running strong, scored a goal early in the second term, which went mainly on Northern conditions.
The Kangaroos owned the lane and dominated the territory, but were unable to raise Wall’s major, largely thanks to a strong Bulldogs defense, led by Lynch and Grant.
Captain Ellie Blackburn had a great third term and the Bulldogs scored early but left North with three consecutive mistakes.
The Roos made the Dogs pay and were six points up with three quarters to go thanks to Emma King’s powerful sign and goal.
Wilcox’s second goal gave the Bulldogs a snort in the fourth, but North led the game stronger.
Garner went from strength to strength and skipper Emma Kearney led superbly with the finish in sight.
“I never expected to experience the season undefeated,” said Bulldogs manager Nathan Burke, who was upbeat and positive despite the result.
“Every victory you have, you are closer to your first defeat.
“(We’ve had) a lot of great lessons today. Losing will prepare us very well for the last five (matches). “