Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana Sunday, February 21 2021 @ 04:22 pm ACDT
Western Bulldogs recorded their third consecutive win with a 13-point victory over Melbourne at Whitten Oval on Sunday afternoon.
It was the Demons first loss of 2021 season and the Bulldogs secured the Hampson-Hardeman Cup.
Image Source: @BulldogsW
Dogs champion Ellie Blackburn capped off a terrific play slotting through a classy running goal at the start of the final quarter to secure the win over a flat Dees side.
It was an uncharacteristic performance from the Dees and they would feel dissapointed about how their afternoon eventuated down at Footscray in the west of Melbourne.
Up until the main break, Melbourne were their own worst enemy, as they had a lot of the ball inside 50 but they could not get reward for effort.
The Dees could not replicate the strong display shown in front of goals from last round against North Melbourne where they kicked nine goals and were nine-point winners.
It was a victory that showed how much the Dogs have grown as a team this season under Nathan Burke with them easily winning 6.1 (37) to 2.12 (24), providing the Dees with a minor hurdle to the their premiership hopes.
The Dees dominated the majority of the opening quarter, but for all their dominance only amounted to a four-point lead at quarter time.
In the second term, the Dogs started to get on top in the contest and were able to keep the Dees goalless.
Only one goal was scored via Jess Fitzgerald.
Izzy Huntington took the mark on the lead inside forward 50.
Huntington kicked the ball forward and Fitzgerald finished off the play with a ripper of a goal with precision after she used her craft and footy smarts.
It was a goal of the year contender.
The Dogs held a one point advantage at the main break.
It was a similar tale to the opening quarter, as the Dees struggled to convert and the Dogs were able to convert on their minimal opportunities.
The stand out at half time for the Dees was Maddi Gay with 13 disposals, but mainly because she was doing a stellar job on Blackburn in the opening half.
In the third quarter, the Dogs continued to flex their muscles and this time they were able to score two goals to the Dees one.
The Dogs were just cleaner in the contest and Huntington chipped in with a nice running goal.
Melbourne were able to get the answering goal after perfect craft work from Shelley Scott who snapped truly around the body to respond nicely to the Dogs.
Huntington nailed through her second goal of the afternoon at the 12th minute mark and the Dogs went in at three quarter time with a five-point lead.
It was a solid showing from the Dogs in what was a physical contest led by Blackburn with 16 disposals, 13 kicks, four tackles and a goal.
For the Dees, Karen Paxman accumulated 27 disposals (63 percent efficiency), 17 kicks, two tackles and a goal.
Fitzgerald slotted through her second major and to secure the Dogs their win of the season.
The Dogs are sixth on the ladder and go equal third with the Lions, Crows and the Dees.
Next round, the Dogs will play at Whitten Oval again as they host the Giants next Saturday afternoon, while the Dees will play in a blockbuster clash against the Pies at Victoria Park on Sunday afternoon.