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Dogs find their bite again in AFLW

A five-day break hasn’t deterred the Western Bulldogs as they continued their AFLW mid-season surge at home.

The Bulldogs were always in control of a wasteful Geelong to win 3.10 (28) to 2.4 (16) at Whitten Oval on Friday night.

Building on the one-point upset of flag favourite Adelaide on the road last weekend, the Dogs surged away after an even first term against a Cats unit that fell away badly up forward.

It took until early in the last quarter for Geelong to threaten on the scoreboard with goals from Chloe Scheer and Phoebe McWilliams providing hope of a late comeback.

But the home side steadied, despite the weariness of their fifth game in 21 days, grinding out back-to-back victories that keeps alive finals hopes.

The Bulldogs monopolised the midfield duels, with rucks Celine Moody and Alice Edmonds feeding dynamic midfield duo Ellie Blackburn, who had 22 possessions, and sidekick Kirsty Lamb, even more dominant with 26 disposals and seven clearances.

Blackburn said that collective resolve and calmness to ward off a fast-finishing Crows side in a hostile environment last Sunday fuelled the Bulldogs’ confidence when challenged in the last quarter.

“For our group, it’s something we’ve been building over a number of years, that resilience that right to the final siren we keep fighting and fighting,” the Dogs skipper said.

“Geelong’s a really competitive side and they started well and put the heat on in the midfield, but credit to our players for being persistent to keep trying to get things on our terms and I think we did a good job with that.

“I’m feeling every bit of 26 at the moment, but, hey, I love playing footy and getting out here with my teammates. It’s great that we’ve got a lot of under 21-year-olds because they recover beautifully.”

Geelong sent Julia Crockett-Grills to tag Blackburn in the second half and it was only when Scheer went into the midfield at the start of the last quarter that the Cats looked potent to win the vital clearances. But it was all too late and the Bulldogs shut down the contest after conceding those two early last term goals.

The home side largely wasted the first use of a steady breeze in the opening quarter by overusing the handball after dominating the inside forward 50 entries. And the Cats defended stoutly with pressure on the ball-carrier to force a quick kick or turnover.

But the Dogs were a transformed unit after a stern lecture from coach Nathan Burke at the quarter-time break. With tall Moody controlling the hit-outs, the home team looked more cohesive and dangerous against the breeze.

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