K rock Football

Dynamic duo boosts Dogs’ finals hopes

WESTERN Bulldogs dynamic duo Kirsty Lamb and Ellie Blackburn starred as they kept alive their AFLW finals hopes with a 60-point victory over struggling West Coast.

In a lopsided contest on Saturday, the seventh-placed Bulldogs triumphed 10.8 (68) to 1.2 (8) at Optus Stadium to close the gap to two points on sixth-placed Collingwood, who play Adelaide on Sunday in the penultimate round.

Tough onballer Lamb (20 possessions and four tackles) and skipper Blackburn (23 possessions) led the charge for the Bulldogs who kept the Eagles scoreless until late in the third quarter when Hayley Bullas snapped their only goal.

Brooke Lochland kicked three goals while Nell Morris-Dalton and Bonnie Toogood got two each for the Bulldogs, while Katie Lynch (18 disposals and eight marks) was brilliant across half-back, intercepting the Eagles’ attacking forays at will.

“It’s not really a conversation we had,” Blackburn told Channel 7 when asked about their finals situation.

“It’s in the background, you know finals are still an opportunity if things go our way but it’s about focusing on the things we can control and that’s how we play a game of footy.”

The Bulldogs dominated the disposal count 259-192 and contested possessions 112-85 as well as 37-17 inside 50s, with a telling 12-1 marks inside 50.

West Coast, who had conceded an AFLW record score last round, appear destined for the wooden spoon following second-last St Kilda’s win over Geelong earlier in the day.

Evie Gooch was West Coast’s best with 22 disposals, but it was a rough night for the home side, who lost 2020 club champion Dana Hooker to a left shoulder injury in the second quarter, with the two-time All Australian leaving the ground before full-time for X-rays.

Richelle Cranston broke the deadlock after a scoreless opening 10 minutes, while second-quarter goals from Toogood and Lochland opened up a 23-point lead at the main break.

The Bulldogs added three goals in the third term with Lochland getting her second after an inexplicable Niamh Kelly turnover before Bullas roved a pack to snap the Eagles’ only goal.

Deanna Berry, who only returned last round after more than 12 months out with an ACL injury, kicked one of the Dogs’ four final-quarter goals from a difficult angle as they cruised home.

(C) AAP 2022