Western Bulldogs AFLW leader Izzy Huntington says not capitalising on opportunities in front of goal in the opening round loss to St Kilda is something the group will look to improve in rounds to come.

After a breakout 2020 season in defence, Huntington was deployed up forward on Friday night and was critical to the Dogs’ attack, contributing with two majors and seven marks.

By quarter-time the Dogs had managed to create double the Saints’ scoring shots, with only inaccuracy (3.3 to 3.0) preventing a greater advantage.

The reigning club champion said those misses proved costly in the end, going down by nine points in a hard-fought battle.


“It was obviously great to get back out there after a fair chunk out from footy, but it’s pretty frustrating to finish off like that,” Huntington told westernbulldogs.com.au post-match.

“We had some really good bursts, so to not get the reward in the end it hurts a lot coming back into the locker room, but I think we showed some strong signs and some of our younger girls did a great job so we’ll definitely take some positives away from it.

“I thought we worked really well and were fairly cohesive (up forward), but we just needed to capitalise on a few more opportunities.

“I think we kicked too many points at the start - I know I lacked composure for sure as well at times, so I think that’s something we need to work on going into the next few rounds.”

Huntington was not surprised by the efforts of captain Ellie Blackburn, who recorded 21 disposals, six score involvements and two goals – one of which brought the Dogs within two points in the dying minutes.

“She’s a joy to play with, and a joy to watch as well,” Huntington said of Blackburn.

“That was unreal for her to get that last goal (which) gave us some really good momentum, but unfortunately we lost it in the end.

“You know how she plays though – she’s going to come in every week and put out a huge performance because she’s such a team-orientated player.”


The 21-year-old also spoke highly of AFLW debutantes Jess Fitzgerald and Sarah Hartwig, and club debutant Katie Lynch.

“I had no doubts (the debutantes) were going to come in and just sort of seamlessly transition into the game,” Huntington said.

“Jess Fitzgerald is just an absolute ripper on and off the field and you could see that out there. She had a great practice match a couple of weeks ago as well and did really well.

“‘Twiggy’ and ‘Lynchy’ off the back-line as well gave us some great bursts, and they’re only going to get better from here as well which is exciting.”