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Groves lauds players as season ends on positive note

March 20, 2017 1:25 PM

Post Match: Groves Press Conference (Rd 7) AFLW Coach Paul Groves spoke to the media after his teams victory in Rd 7 against GWS Giants.
AFLW 2017 Rd 07 - GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: The Western Bulldogs celebrate victory after the round seven AFL Women's match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Western Bulldogs at UNSW Canberra Oval on March 18, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs AFLW coach Paul Groves says his side's win over GWS at Manuka Oval on Saturday evening was just reward for a season-long effort from the players.

Groves said that he was pleased to see the players get a chance to celebrate their hard work with a season-ending victory.

"It was a really positive way [to end the season]. It's great for our girls to get the reward for effort. There's still our goal-kicking - 7.10 - we haven't really rectified [the accuracy] part of it, but we controlled a lot of the game, especially the second half, so it was really quite pleasing."

The comfortable win over the Giants saw the Bulldogs bookend the season with 32-point victories, with the team competitive in all five of the matches in between. 

Groves said that while the Bulldogs' season finished short of what might have been expected in terms of wins and losses, there were plenty of positives to be taken from it.

"It was probably under expectations but when you go back through it and you look at the games individually, there's little five-minute periods where we've just leaked a couple of goals,” he said. 

"We've had the second most shots on goal in the competition [behind Adelaide] so we're doing something right. We're getting the ball in there, we just need to finish it."

Groves also identified other areas that give his side cause for optimism as he looks to next season.

"Our kicking [for goal] probably and our skill efficiency around the ground [are potential areas of improvement].

“You can look at injuries that happen to teams and we've missed a couple of key players for a long period of time from the comp, namely Katie [Brennan] and Aasta [O'Connor], and Jaimee Lambert's been sore the whole way through and has battled just really, really hard to keep playing, so that's a factor."

Groves was full of praise for the way midfielder Ellie Blackburn stepped up in the win against the Giants.

"She's a pretty good player, isn't she? She's a big game player and there's times when she realises that she needs to step up and she really stepped up tonight.

“She's been really consistent the whole year."

The win lifted the Bulldogs to sixth on the AFLW ladder, and a final percentage of over 100 is another positive to be taken from the season.