The Western Bulldogs have finished their 2021 AFLW campaign on a positive note with a 13-point victory over Richmond in their final-round clash at Whitten Oval.
After opening up a three-goal lead at half-time, the Bulldogs were tormented by their former captain Katie Brennan, who kicked two of her three goals for the Tigers in the third quarter to trim the deficit to just four points.
But despite being held goalless in the third term, the Bulldogs reasserted themselves in the final stanza, booting two of the last three goals to seal the deal.
Making the 7.3 (45) to 5.2 (32) result even sweeter for the hosts was that it came against Brennan and star midfielder Monique Conti who were both playing their old side for the first time.
Kirsty Lamb was the Bulldogs’ best player with 23 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances and a goal, while Elisabeth Georgostathis (10 touches) did a magnificent tagging job on the usually prolific Conti (12).
Brooke Lochland (23 and a goal) and Ellie Blackburn (20) were also instrumental to the victory.
Brennan (14 disposals) stood out for the Tigers, and she was well supported by Harriet Cordner, who who shut down star Bulldogs forward Izzy Huntington.
The Bulldogs, who were out of finals contention heading into the match, made the most of the strong breeze in the first quarter, doubling the Tigers for inside 50s (10-5) and tripling them for marks inside 50 (6-2), to kick four of the first five goals.
Two of those were booted by Kirsten McLeod, one of them a magnificent running effort from 52 metres out after taking the intercept mark on the wing and taking two bounces.
Kicking into the wind in the second term, the Bulldogs set up cleverly defensively, making it hard for Richmond to get it out of its backline, and not even a mark-of-the-year contender from Ellie McKenzie over Lochland could inspire the Tigers to cut the three-goal deficit by half-time.
The Tigers dominated the third period but despite Brennan’s best efforts in the second half, she was not able to drag her side over the line as the Bulldogs held firm.