Bulldogs overcome scare to beat Dockers

·2-min read

Fit-again star Gabby Newton has produced the goods in the clutch moment to help lift the Western Bulldogs to a thrilling three-point AFLW win over Fremantle at Ikon Park.

The Dockers managed just a single behind in last week's 26-point loss to Geelong, but they were full of fight on Friday night as they threatened to pull off a huge upset.

Fremantle led by four points with less than nine minutes remaining in the match, but Newton pulled off a big contested mark near the top of the goalsquare to give her side the lead.

Kirsty Lamb (23 disposals, six marks), Ellie Blackburn (19 disposals, eight tackles) and defender Katie Lynch (14 disposals, seven marks) dug deep to ensure Fremantle couldn't hit back, with the Bulldogs winning 3.5 (23) to 3.2 (20).

The result lifted the Bulldogs (3-0) to the top of the ladder, while Fremantle (0-3) are second last and with their finals hopes fading fast.

The Bulldogs' contested marking power proved the difference against the Dockers, with Lynch rock solid in defence.

"She's been outstanding," Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke said.

"I've challenged her to be an All-Australian centre-half back, and she's started the season like she's going to be that."

Newton, a former No.1 draft pick, missed all of last season after undergoing a dual shoulder reconstruction.

The 21-year-old midfielder has been stationed up forward this season to ease her back in, and she stood tall against the Dockers with a series of important marks.

Her last-quarter goal helped save the blushes of Bulldogs teenager Rylie Wilcox, who cost Blackburn a goal early in the final quarter when she attempted to mark the ball as it was going through.

It was an otherwise sublime game from Wilcox, who provided plenty of dash from the wing and also kicked a stunning goal on the run in the second term.

"She's amazing," Burke said of Wilcox, who finished with 11 disposals.

"I don't know who picks rising stars. I thought she might have got the nod last week. I think she's going to be very hard to overlook this week."

Fremantle midfielders Hayley Miller (16 disposals, seven tackles) and Kiara Bowers (17 possessions, nine tackles) battled hard all day, while Emma O'Driscoll provided important rebound from defence.

"We're disappointed but proud of the efforts," Fremantle coach Trent Cooper said.

"Tonight was a big step in the right direction."