Saints stop the Dogs' bite in a tense game at home
The Saints have recorded a close win over the Western Bulldogs to go 4.2 for the season.
Photography: Anthony Vella
The Southern Saints hosted the Western Bulldogs in our 2023 Pride Game in Round 6 of the 2023 rebel VFLW season. The rainbow guernseys represent acceptance, equality and inclusivity and were designed by Meg Ginnivan and Hannah Dyson.
Pulling on their guernseys for the first time as Saints this weekend were Charli Murphy (debut) and Mikayla Williamson (Dandenong Stingrays - Coates Talent League). Williamson had 11 touches and Murphy took a great mark on the wing in the fourth quarter to get the game flowing for the Saints again. Lucy Burke had a massive impact for us down forward kicking two goals and acquiring 15 disposals, whilst Gaby De Angelis also kicked a goal and finished with 23 disposals and seven tackles. Our match-winning goal kicker Tessa Boyd also had 24 touches to go along with her celebrations. The Saints dominated possessions all day in their fight against the Dogs - Caitlin Matthews finished with 20 touches and eight marks, along with Georgia Foran and Winnie Lang who both had 15 disposals.
The first quarter started fast as the ball came out of the middle down to our forward 50 and Burke was able to snap at goal in the first 30 seconds. Jemima Wrigley was impressive with her speed and class dominating clearances. The ball found its way to the hands of Burke as she kicked her second for the day.
The Saints were quick to get the ball out of the Bulldogs' forward 50 with Sarah Black winning a hit out in the ruck to get the Saints ball back and locked into our forward half. After a quick kick to the hotspot by Nicki Cormack, De Angelis was in the right place at the right time, taking a great contested chest mark and kicking a goal to give us a 19 point lead.
At the end of the first quarter we kept the Bulldogs to only two points, going into the break with a 17 point lead.
The Dogs came out firing this term, winning a clearance from the first centre bounce and using their speed to get the ball to their half. Fortunately, Foran took a contested mark to get us out of trouble. With a kick down the wing, the ball was turned over and the Dogs had possession again. With a missed kick from them back to their forward line, Saints Captain, Ali Hynes, used her body to get in front of her opponent and take a mark.
The Saints and Dogs fought backwards and forwards before the Bulldogs found themselves a 50 metre penalty in their forward half, resulting in their first goal for the day. Shortly after their first, they were too fast out of the middle as they began to build momentum, kicking their second from the goal square.
After more contested footy, the ball was once again in the Dogs' half and a shot on goal from 45 out was heading between the big sticks before a hard run from Deanna Joliffe and Boyd saw the ball touched on the line by both players, saving the goal. After a turnover from the kick in, there was another snap on goal from the Bulldogs, with Boyd once again pushing it over the line to save a major.
Nearing the end of the second, the Dogs managed to sneak another goal in, giving themselves a five point lead heading into half-time.
Losing our 17 point lead in the second, we were looking to come out firing however the Bulldogs had no intentions of letting us do so, keeping the game once again very contested.
After finally locking the ball in our half, Emma Stuber found an opening in the goal square and had a shot on goal. Unluckily the ball hit the inside of the post, giving us a minor score. Adding to the oncoming pressure from the Dogs, Wrigley had a running shot on goal from 40 out which ended up being touched on the line.
Our backline really impressed, keeping the hungry Bulldogs to only two points for the term. Matthews took a goal-saving pack mark, whilst Charlotte Ryan's one percenters and second efforts made a difference for the Saints.
Despite the scoreboard not showing our efforts in the fourth quarter, our pressure was immaculate and we managed to keep the ball in our half for majority of the quarter.
Boyd was impressive down back in the final term - her hands and run were super clean, getting her team out of trouble when needed. She managed to find space and put herself in positions to free herself up.
After a stoppage in our forward 50, Hynes managed to get a free-kick for high contact in the ruck. Boyd was free and on the run past Hynes, Hynes gave her the hands, leading to Boyd kicking the match winner for the Saints in the final two minutes. Players came from everywhere to get around her, very well deserved for our efforts all day.
Final Score: Southern Saints 4.7 (31) defeated Western Bulldogs 3.8 (26)
Goals: L. Burke (2), G. De Angelis (1) T. Boyd (1)