AAP AFL

Blues bite back to beat Bulldogs in AFLW

By AAP Newswire

Western Bulldogs AFLW coach Nathan Burke hailed his "brave" side for toughing it out until the end of their 21-point loss to Carlton on Saturday despite a significant injury toll incurred during the game.

The Dogs finished the day three players down, with Angelica Gogos (knee), Deanna Berry (concussion) and Aisling McCarthy (cut lip) all unable to run out the match.

Ominously, Gogos finished the day with her entire right leg in a brace, but fortunately for her the initial suspicion is that she has suffered a medial ligament injury rather than the dreaded ACL.

"I think brave is a really good word," Burke said post-game.

"At one stage there in the last quarter I was looking for some fresh legs, I turned around and (Bulldogs women's football manager) Debbie Lee was the only one sitting on the bench and I looked at her and she said, 'nah'," Burke laughed.

Carlton coach Daniel Harford admitted his team benefited from the Bulldogs' personnel issues in the decisive final quarter given how "cut-throat" the sport is.

"We really took the game on and made them defend and made them win contests they probably won in quarters two and three but weren't able to do in the last quarter because maybe they ran out of a little bit of gas, I'm not sure," Harford said.

The Blues led all day at Whitten Oval and, with the help of Georgia Gee (three goals), rebounded well from their loss to arch rivals Collingwood last week to run out 8.3 (51) to 4.6 (30) winners.

The Doggies have made their equal-worst start to a season and with just one win to their credit, they find themselves in a bit of a rut, having lost their last two games.

Gee was ably supported by Lucy McEvoy who had 19 disposals and a goal while star forward Tayla Harris (13 touches, one goal) and Maddy Prespakis (24 possessions, six tackles) also starred for Carlton.

Kirsten Lamb (13 disposals, one goal), Ellie Blackburn (20 and seven clearances) and Isabella Huntington (15 and seven marks) were influential for the Dogs.

Carlton burst out of the blocks booting the first three goals, including a spectacular Lauren Brazzale effort on the run from 50 metres out, to jump out to an 18-point lead.

It took the Bulldogs over 11 minutes to enter their forward-50 zone for the first time, but after being stunned by the early Carlton blitz, the Doggies regrouped to keep the Blues scoreless in the second term and trail by four points at halftime.

Carlton restored their 18-point advantage at three-quarter time with goals to Gee and Harris as the Bulldogs failed go inside 50 for the entire period while the Blues did so 14 times.

A spectacular Kirsten McLeod goal sparked the Bulldogs into life in the final stanza, reducing the margin to nine points. However, the Blues responded with goals from Nicola Stevens and Gee to ensure the result.