CAPTAIN Ellie Blackburn proved the difference as her Western Bulldogs outlasted Geelong in an arm-wrestle at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night.
With just one point separating the two sides early in the last term, the Dogs kicked the final two goals to run away 3.6 (24) to 1.3 (9) victors.
CATS v DOGS Full match coverage and stats
In the only NAB AFLW match of round three in Victoria to be played in front of fans due to the state's latest lockdown, Blackburn collected 25 disposals and directly set-up the Dogs' first two goals.
Dogs No.2 draft pick Jess Fitzgerald was then left to ice the match, fending off two Cats opponents before finishing off a brilliant solo running effort.
It conspired Geelong to its third consecutive defeat of the season with the Cats goalless in nine of 12 quarters for the season.
The Dogs, now placed at 2-1, should've been further in front at half-time through the dominance of Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb (20 disposals) around the contest.
The Cats brought a stronger tackling edge after the main break and kicked their sole major through Phoebe McWilliams but were unable to make the most of territory dominance.
Blackburn again got the ball rolling in the final term with the Dogs registering five scoring shots to one and claim back-to-back victories.
Young talent time
Dogs father-daughter debutant Isabella Grant was quick to show off her bag of tricks in the opening minutes. After a mark on the wing, Grant sold a bag of candy to Cats first-gamer Nicole Garner on the mark before waltzing forward to record her first kick at AFLW level. Grant donned her dad Chris' No.3 guernsey, one he made famous in a super career for the Dogs.
Cats to click soon
Coach Paul Hood insists his side is on the verge of a breakout game after matching the Dogs for most of the night. Despite a goalless first half the Cats only lost the contested possession count by two and tackles by seven, leaving Dogs coach Nathan Burke to compare their intensity to a "brick wall". Cats defender Meg McDonald copped a cork to her knee in the third term but is expected to be fine to continue her pairing with rising young defender Amy McDonald (23 disposals).
Dog in the wars
Ash Guest is going to wake up sore on Saturday morning. The Dogs defender was winded in a crunching blow in the opening stages before coming off second-best from a head clash in the final term. Guest copped a monstrous egg above her left eye and will be put through concussion protocols, coach Nathan Burke adding, "Luckily Guesty didn't look in the mirror because she's a bit squirmish and might've fainted at her own sight."
"Sometimes you've got to win ugly and that was a bit of an ugly win. (I'd) probably give us 10/10 for work-rate and 5/10 for footy smarts, the way that we played the game and the fact we can still win a game with those numbers is a good sign." – Western Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke
"I thought the effort was fantastic, we can't find any fault with that. It was the most complete four-quarter performance from an intensity perspective we've given. But we're not content with the result and want to keep working on our ability to score and find each other inside 50." – Geelong coach Paul Hood
GEELONG 0.0 0.1 1.2 1.3 (9)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.1 1.3 1.3 3.6 (24)
Western Bulldogs: Huntington, McLeod, Fitzgerald
Geelong: McWilliams, A.McDonald, Purcell, O'Connor, M.McDonald
Western Bulldogs: Blackburn, Lamb, Huntington, Lochland, Ferres, Georgostathis
Western Bulldogs: Guest (cut eye)
Crowd: 1124 at GMHBA Stadium