On this day two years ago, the AFLW Bulldogs made history.
On Saturday, March 24 2018, the Western Bulldogs defeated Brisbane in the 2018 AFLW Grand Final at Ikon Park, to win their inaugural premiership.
From sixth position the previous season, and missing the likes of their captain and No.1 draft pick, here’s how they did it.
03:55 - After an intense couple of opening minutes, the first score of the match comes via a rushed Kirsty Lamb snap that bounces through. Bulldogs by one point.
08:11 – The ball travels back and forth across the ground, before Brisbane’s Sophie Conway puts her side on the board. Lions by five.
15:06 – Angelica Gogos runs down Jess Wuetschner inside the Lions’ forward 50, affecting her kick just enough to force a minor score. Lions by six.
A tight and contested second term sees both sides desperate to get an advantage.
From Lauren Spark and Hannah Scott in the back-line, to acting skipper Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb in the centre, to Bonnie Toogood and Brooke Lochland up forward – the Bulldogs are doing all they can across the ground.
The Dogs aren’t giving up yet.
No change to scores.
02:26 – Dee Berry gets her side off to the perfect second-half start. After a clean pick-up in the forward half, Berry runs to just outside the arc and goes for home. The ball bounces, bounces, bounces – and it’s a goal. Scores level.
05:16 – Ash Utri intercepts, puts boot to ball and aims for the big sticks, but an unlucky bounce clips the inside of the post. Bulldogs by one.
05:59 – On the rebound, Hannah Scott takes a strong, defensive mark and sends the ball back inside the Dogs’ forward 50. No mark is taken, but Kirsten McLeod cleans up out the back and snaps truly. Bulldogs by seven.
18:15 – The Bulldogs find their third goal of the term through a Monique Conti around-the-body kick, keeping the Lions scoreless in the process. Bulldogs by 13.
01:59 – Brisbane’s Jess Wuetschner breaks through a pack of Dogs and cuts the deficit. Bulldogs by seven.
03:41 – Brisbane tries again, this time through Sabrina Frederick-Traub, but she misses to the right. Bulldogs by six.
12:26 – Emma Kearney pins Kaitlyn Ashmore, is awarded a free kick inside-50 within range and converts. Bulldogs by 12.
14:21 – Lion Emma Zielke puts boot to ball quickly, but goal-keeper Lauren Spark is there on the line to rush it through. Bulldogs by 11.
15:05 – Jess Wuetschner plays on from a free kick and goals, chipping away at the Bulldogs’ now narrow lead. Bulldogs by five.
18.37 – Desperation on the Dogs’ goal-line. Kirsten McLeod argues the back of her foot found the ball before it was rushed over, but the umpires disagree. Bulldogs by six.
21:12 – In a last-ditch attempt during the dying seconds, Jess Wuetschner kicks the ball inside 50. But it’s Bulldog Naomi Ferres who finds herself under it and takes one of the most important marks of the match.
Bulldogs win by six points.
“From pioneers to premiers…the Western Bulldogs are champions of AFLW,” says Channel 7 commentator Jason Bennett.
The Bulldogs embrace in hugs across the entire ground, to the tune of their ‘Daughters of the West’ theme song.
March 24, 2018.
A day to remember for the red, white, and blue faithful.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.1 0.1 3.2 4.3 (27)
BRISBANE LIONS 1.1 1.1 1.1 3.3 (21)
Western Bulldogs: Berry, McLeod, Conti, Kearney
Brisbane Lions: Wuetschner 2, Conway
Western Bulldogs: Conti, Blackburn, Kearney, Birch, Spark, Bruton
Brisbane Lions: Lutkins, Stanton, Wuetschner, Zielke, Ashmore
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Brisbane Lions: Campbell (head knock)
Umpires: Mirable, Howorth, Adair
Crowd: 7,083 at Ikon Park
AFLW Grand Final Best Player Voting
9 – Monique Conti, Western Bulldogs
8 – Kate Lutkins, Brisbane
5 – Ellie Blackburn, Western Bulldogs
1 – Emma Kearney, Western Bulldogs
1 – Ally Anderson, Brisbane