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AFLW: Cats go down to reigning premiers

AFLW post-match: Cats Watch Geelong's press conference after round 2 match against the Bulldogs

REIGNING premiers the Western Bulldogs were too good for Geelong today winning by 18 points.

The Bulldogs struggled with scoring in the opening round, managing just two goals, but it wasn't an issue in their 5.4 (34) to 2.4 (16) win at Whitten Oval on Saturday night.

The Cats got off to a good start when key forward Phoebe McWilliams, playing her first game for the club after missing last week with hamstring soreness, duly converted a set shot from 30 metres.

But a three-goal second quarter from the Dogs, who were kicking with a considerable breeze, turned out to be the difference in the match.

Deanna Berry (wearing long sleeves in an unseasonably cool Melbourne night), Bonnie Toogood and Ellie Blackburn all slotted goals, the latter a whopping 45-metre set shot which just cleared 194cm Erin Hoare's outstretched hand.

After struggling in the clearances last week, the Bulldogs were cleaner around the ball, with Kirsty Lamb (17 disposals), Blackburn (19 and six tackles) and Ange Gogos combining well. 

Monique Conti was dangerous off the half-back flank, while Hannah Scott patrolled the backline with confidence.

Even with the addition of McWilliams (who will be ruing several missed opportunities, finishing with 1.2), the Cats seemed to lose their structure up forward on occasion.

Cats draftee Olivia Purcell (16 touches) was busy in the midfield alongside Renee Garing (nine and 11 tackles).

Two scoreless quarters, the second and fourth against the breeze, were costly for Geelong.

Say what?

"Really pleased, you walk away with four points. They were really good with their set-ups and structures, and we couldn't get our game flowing, but again we found a way. We defended pretty strongly when they had momentum at different stages." - Western Bulldogs coach Paul Groves

"The Bulldogs were terrific with the way they used the ball, particularly in the front half in front of goal. [They kicked] five goals straight and we missed a few of ours. You've got to take your moments. We competed for large periods of the game … we did a lot right, we just need to take our moments and make them count." - Geelong coach Paul Hood

What's next?

The Bulldogs have a tantalising match-up against competition pace-setter North Melbourne at University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston on Friday night, while the Cats have their first interstate trip, coming up against Adelaide at Norwood Oval on Sunday.

WESTERN BULLDOGS   1.0   4.0   5.0   5.4 (34)
GEELONG   1.2   1.2   2.4   2.4 (16)

GOALS
Western Bulldogs:
 Utri, Berry, Toogood, Blackburn, McCarthy
Geelong: McWilliams, Clarke

BEST 
Western Bulldogs:
 Blackburn, Lamb, Scott, Conti, Berry
Geelong: Purcell, McWilliams, Garing, McDonald, Keryk

INJURIES 
Western Bulldogs:
 Mackie (concussion, replaced in selected side by Smith)
Geelong: O'Connor (right leg, TBC)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Heffernan, McGinness, Annand

Crowd: 8612 at VU Whitten Oval

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs