Bringing season seven forward was a blessing in disguise for Gabby Newton.
Missing season six with a dual shoulder reconstruction, Newton returned to the competition 520 days after her last outing – spearheading the Bulldogs’ new-look forward line.
Drafted with the first pick in 2020 as an athletic midfielder, Burke deployed Newton at full-forward – despite the 21-year-old having never kicked a goal thus far.
But her strength, contested marking and agility inside 50 made it seem as though she’d been a forward her whole career.
Newton finished the season with eight majors to be the Club’s leading goalkicker, while taking 10 contested marks and laying 33 tackles in a successful return to the action.
By the numbers
Total goals: 8
While Newton’s round three match-winner against Fremantle was a close second, it’s hard to look past her two-goal second quarter in the season opener.
Having never kicked a goal in her AFLW career, Newton shone against the Giants – buzzing around inside 50 to provide a strong marking target and threat forward of centre.
Those two majors helped her side to a seven-point lead at the main break, and was a return to remember for the 20-year-old.
What they said
“She was outstanding – leading into the game, we just wanted to bring massive pressure, so the fact that she had nine tackles for a key forward, and eight in the first half I think it was, is unheard of really. You don't really see those numbers from a key forward. For a player who's had two shoulder recos and missed a lot of football, you could probably forgive her maybe for being a little bit nervous of putting herself in those positions, but she did a massive amount of work to get her shoulder strength up." – forwards coach Dylan Roberton (following Newton’s round one performance).