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Top Dogs thrash Hawks in wet AFLW clash

Kirsty Lamb feels something special brewing in the Kennel after the Western Bulldogs moved to the top of the AFLW ladder with a convincing 30-point victory over winless Hawthorn at rain-ravaged Box Hill City Oval.

Lamb was best-on-ground in her 50th game as the Bulldogs (4-0) combined toughness and precise finishing to prevail 6.1 (37) to 1.1 (7) in treacherous conditions on Sunday.

Feeding off the ruck supremacy of Alice Edmonds and combining with captain Ellie Blackburn to dominate the Hawks in the clinches, Lamb (25 disposals, seven clearances, one goal) celebrated her milestone match in style.

“To do it, (reach) 50 games at one club is something I’m really proud of and I’ll look back on in years to come,” Lamb said.

“It’s obviously taken a number of seasons to get here.

“We’re really building something here – four straight (wins) now.

“We’ve got such good camaraderie in our group and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has.”

After the first quarter finished in a scrappy, scoreless stalemate, the Bulldogs began to assert their authority in the second term before extending it in the third.

The gulf between the experienced Dogs and expansion Hawks became more and more pronounced as the afternoon’s slog wore on.

Blackburn broke the deadlock in the fourth minute of the second period with the first goal of the match, before Hawthorn quickly equalised when Kaitlyn Ashmore converted after holding on to a juggling mark.

It would be the Hawks’ only moment to celebrate.

After Rylee Wilcox and Gabby Newton built on the Bulldogs’ advantage before half-time, the visitors continued to dominate in the third, as the relentless rain pelted down.

“It was clearly very wet, very muddy and was a bit of a sloppy game,” Lamb said.

“We wanted to get the score on the board early and really put them under the pump.

“We were a bit sluggish in the first quarter but we kicked our bums into gear in the second quarter.”

Back-to-back snapped goals out of stoppages from teen Heidi Woodley and Lamb made it five without a miss to the Bulldogs, an impressive strike rate given the conditions.

Winger Isabelle Pritchard swung around on her left after a nifty hand-off from Eleanor Brown and nailed her maiden AFLW goal to start the fourth quarter.

Hawthorn refused to wave the white flag and kept charging to the end but they were totally outclassed when it mattered.

Seventeen-year-old sensation Jasmine Fleming (25 disposals, seven clearances) continues to blossom and was easily best for the Hawks, who were also well served by the experienced Ashmore.

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