Dogs lay down a marker for rivals in AFLW
THE Western Bulldogs staked their claim for AFLW glory after a comprehensive 32-point win over Fremantle on Saturday night.
More than 10,100 fans packed Whitten Oval in another ringing endorsement for the new women's competition on a bumper opening weekend.
The majority of them left happy as the Dogs punished Fremantle for sloppy finishing during the second term and ran away with the match after half-time, winning 6.8 (44) to 1.6 (12).
Midfield star Emma Kearney, a medium-pace bowler for Melbourne Stars in the WBBL, starred for the Dogs, gathering 21 disposals in the middle, while captain Katie Brennan broke free after quarter-time to kick two majors.
The Bulldogs led by seven points at half-time but the Dockers added just one behind to their score after the main break.
And Freo's troubles could be compounded during the week, with the match review panel likely to assess a high hit by impressive defender Ebony Antonio on Jess Gardner during the final term.
Dana Hooker (15 disposals) and captain Kara Donnellan (13) were among the Dockers' most prolific ball-winners, with Lara Filocamo playing her defensive role well in the middle.
Bulldogs coach Paul Groves was happy with the result.
"They've got some exceptional players in that team and they're going to be really hard to beat so for us, we're really happy with that scalp," he said.
"We were able to grind it out and then get the game on our terms a little bit. Our run-and-carry is a pretty big feature of what we're trying to do."
Fremantle coach Michelle Cowan praised the effort of the Bulldogs, saying her side needed to match their intensity.
"This is AFL football and they've got to bring that effort and that endeavour and be relentless," she said.
"The Bulldogs were incredible with their relentless pressure and tackling. We need a lot more players giving better effort."