Marshall Makes Most of AFLW Debut

Arizona Hawk and USA Freedom player Danielle Marshall made the most of her historic AFLW debut, scoring a goal with her first kick of senior football as the Western Bulldogs defeated the St Kilda Saints by 25 points.

Match report by Alyce Collett:

Round One of the 2020 AFLW season saw a debut in the competition for St Kilda and return to their spiritual home at Moorabbin, but it was the Western Bulldogs who got their season off to the best start, winning by 25 points.

It was tough and contested footy early on, with the Bulldogs managing to use their speed to their advantage, particularly through the midfield, to break away and create forward momentum. They stamped their dominance on the game early, scoring three goals within the first ten minutes.

The conditions got much trickier in the second quarter. The wind started to pick up and play havoc. There were plenty of wind aided kicks out on the full and make things pretty hard to score, particularly for the Saints who had the tricky wind up their end of the ground.  

The third quarter was a much closer affair. The defensive pressure was up all across the ground, particularly from the Saints. The Bulldogs had plenty of chances but the Saints were always able to repel, and it was still a fairly even game in the last term. The Bulldogs were able to maintain their lead and take out the win.

Marshall certainly played her part in the Bulldogs win, but at the same time was probably not in the best players list for the Dogs on the afternoon.

She helped consolidate the Bulldogs’ early dominance in the first quarter by kicking the second goal of the match. She didn’t give away any free kicks, with her only visible error in the match coming after the halftime break, where after accidently going to the bench when she was meant to start on the ground, started running to the wrong end of the ground before eventually taking her place.

She also proved to be a valuable option as the second ruck, holding her own in contests and getting three hit outs. She also achieved something not very many footballers have achieved, by scoring a goal with her first kick in elite football.

The goal, which came five minutes into the opening term, was the end result of a great run by Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn.  After leaving one opponent in the dust on the wing, Blackburn’s kick fell into the goal square where Marshall tracked it and soccered it through.

The 28-year-old Colorado native ended up with a goal and a behind from seven possessions.  She recorded four tackles, as well as three hitouts from her time in the ruck.

“To run out there alongside all the women that you’ve been training with – that’s really the best part,” Marshall told after the game.

“You work with these girls, you respect each other, you love each other – getting to play with them and win with them is one of the best feelings.”

The Bulldogs will be looking to build on this win next week when they take on Melbourne next Friday night at home.

St Kilda 1.0 1.1 1.1 2.2.14
Western Bulldogs 4.1 5.1 5.2 6.3.39

 Milestones from Dani Marshall’s debut in AFLW:

  • 1st American woman to play in AFL Women’s
  • 1st USAFL recruit to play in senior AFLW / AFL men’s football
  • 3rd USAFL recruit to play in an AFL sanctioned match (Katie Klatt, Kim Hemenway)
  • 3rd bornand-raised American to play senior football (Jason Holmes, Mason Cox)
  • 5th American citizen to play senior football (Holmes, Cox, Don Pyke, Sanford Wheeler)
  • 2nd American to score a goal with their first kick of senior football (Cox)

Photo credit: Alyce Collett

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