Essendon VFLW has suffered a disappointing loss, going down to the Western Bulldogs by 44 points at Whitten Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The home side overran the Bombers following a tough first-quarter effort, which laid the groundwork for its 0.3 (3) to 6.11 (47) victory.
It took two minutes for the Bulldogs to notch their first major, asserting their physical presence from the opening bounce.
Essendon’s back six, led by Kirby Hicks, were under pressure early as the Dogs proved dangerous in attack.
It was a frustrating term for the Bombers, unable to break away as the opposition controlled the majority of play.
A strong mark and late goal to Brooke Lochland saw the Bulldogs take a four-point lead into the first break.
The Bombers came out firing in the second term, transitioning from defence into attack, as they attempted to steady the contest.
Simone Nalder and Eleanor Cornish were prolific off the half-back line, helping the Dons through the centre as they looked to secure the ball in their offensive 50.
Essendon had opportunities in front of goal but couldn’t capitalise on the scoreboard as the wet weather conditions proved costly.
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A stunning run of play from the midfield gave Felicity Theodore and Alex Quigley the chance to find the goals for the first time, but strong winds saw the launches amount to behinds.
Taking advantage of the Bomber’s inaccuracy, the Western Bulldogs made the most of their chances to take a 22-point lead at half time.
The Bulldogs continued to kick away in the third term, adding to their ascendency with two early goals.
Quick ball movement sparked the visitors into life, as the Bombers increased their inside 50 numbers, but it quickly returned to a scrappy contest as a downpour covered the ground.
Calder Cannons duo Georgia Patrikios and Alana Barba impressed defensively, doing their best to keep the opposition at bay.
But for all their efforts, the VFLW Dons couldn’t respond to the challenge, trailing by 35 points heading into the final term.
Despite the rain easing off, the home side did not, throwing everything into offence in attempt to extend the margin.
Maighan Fogas, Shae Audley and Lori Stepnell each had promising performances, attempting to put a stop to the Dogs’ momentum.
Late scoring opportunities midway through the term sparked the Bombers, but it was the Bulldogs who finished 44 points the better side.
Senior coach Brendan Major said his side struggled to adjust to the trying conditions.
“We didn’t turn up for half the game,” Major said.
“When you’re scoring, it’s because you’re winning the ball and moving it the way you want to move it, we really struggled with slippery conditions today and at times we were second to the footy.”
Brendan Major was disappointed with the Bombers’ performance on Saturday. (Image: AFL Photos)
Major said there was a lot to learn and take away from the match as the team prepares to face Collingwood next week.
“If you have the ball, they can’t score and that’s where we kind of fell away today,” he said.
“We just coughed up the footy way too easy and when they got it our tackling technique was really poor.
“Next week, it’s back to our decision making, we need to compete for longer periods of time and when they have the ball, we need to tackle better.”
Essendon VFLW will take on Collingwood at Victoria Park from 12pm on Saturday, August 17.
Essendon 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.3 (3)
Western Bulldogs 2.3 3.6 5.7 6.11 (47)
Western Bulldogs – Lochland 2, Ward 2, McLeod, Blackburn
Victoria Raptis is in the final year of her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree at RMIT University. As part of their strategic partnership, Essendon Football Club and RMIT University are committed to providing opportunities for students, staff, players and the wider community.