Women’s Premier Division MOTW: Dogs withstand fast finishing Uni


Written by Phoebe McWilliams

The UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs held off a challenging Sydney University Bombers outfit by three-points on Saturday at Sydney University Oval No. 1.

Unfortunately the loss means last year’s grand finalists, the Bombers, will miss out on finals in 2018. For the Bulldogs, they have finished the home and away season in second place, giving them the double chance in finals.

The weekend’s game was played at a high intensity with large amounts of defensive pressure applied by both sides. There were hardly any free-flowing passages of play, with hard tackling resulting in a number of stoppages.

The many stoppages meant the ruck battle between in-form Bulldogs’ ruck, Ingrid Nielsen and the Bombers’ All-Australian AFLW ruck, Erin McKinnon was vital. It was a great contest to watch. The efforts by both rucks across the ground were outstanding and hit outs were reasonably even. The height difference gave McKinnon a slight edge, as she was able to out reach Nielsen on occasion.

It didn’t matter who was winning the ruck tap, Bulldogs midfielder Meagan Kiely was able to read the ball either way. Kiely is one of the best clearance players in the competition, bursting through stoppages and delivering to her forwards, which she did many times on the weekend.

Speaking of the Bulldogs forwards, I was concerned that the three-pronged attack of Jacinda Barclay, Roxy McGee and Rebecca Privitelli may prove difficult for the Bombers to match up on. However, Bombers defender Kristen Hay did an excellent job on Privitelli who would have been high on confidence after a five-goal-bag the previous week. Hay kept Privitelli to one goal, in a best on ground performance for her side.

Barclay was involved in two of her side’s four goals for the day, both taking place in the second quarter. Her defensive pressure caused a turnover on a Bombers kick-in, which she followed up and gave the hands off to Tia Bool who was running past. Bool made no mistake putting it through. The second goal came when the ball spilled free to Barclay from a stoppage.

For the Bombers it was Stephanie Gillon who was the only multiple goal scorer for the game. She kicked two in the first half, one snap from close range and another that rolled through from 35 metres out.

As they always do, Sera Kaukiono and Sandra Janjetovic proved to be a formidable duo on the half-back line for the Bulldogs. They provided plenty of rebounding from defence.

The Bulldogs had an eight-point lead heading into the final quarter and the desperation of the Bombers to win the game was encapsulated in defender Jennifer Lew. Lew threw herself at every contest and willed herself to every stoppage in her side’s defensive half. Unfortunately her efforts weren’t enough to get her side over the line, the Bulldogs holding on to win by three-points.

The final four are now set. Macquarie University finished top of the ladder having only dropped a single game for the season. As mentioned earlier, the Bulldogs have finished in second place, eight-points behind the Warriors. Auburn-Penrith finished third and the final spot was filled by Southern Power.

Macquarie University (12.7.79) had an impressive win against the Western Wolves (0.1.1). Seven of the Warriors’ goals were kicked by forward Laura Russell who came out of nowhere to take become the competitions’ leading goal kicker. Auburn-Penrith (8.4.52) defeated Southern Power (4.5.29) by 23-points. Finally Newtown (3.7.25) finished their season on a high defeating UTS Shamrocks (3.3.21) by four-points.

Phoebe McWilliams is a current AFL Women’s player, recently signed by the Geelong Cats after two years spent with the GWS GIANTS. McWilliams is also a freelance writer for publications such as Inside Football Magazine. Following the 2018 NAB AFL Women’s season, McWilliams is playing for Hawthorn in the Swisse VFL Women’s competition in Victoria, while writing for AFL Sydney.

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