Marshall Hanging Tough Through AFLW Midway Point

by Alyce Collett

Last weekend saw round four of the AFLW season take place, which means we’re officially halfway through the home and away season, and also halfway through trailblazer Dani Marshall’s first season in the AFLW. Let’s take a look at how Dani and her team the Western Bulldogs have gone so far this season, and what they have to come for the second half of their campaign.

Round 1 saw the Bulldogs come up against competition newbies St Kilda.

The Bulldogs got a jump on the Saints early, scoring three goals within the first ten minutes to take the early lead. Although the Saints did come back at the Bulldogs in the following three quarters, that early ascendancy sealed the result in favour of the Bulldogs.

Marshall certainly played her part in the ‘Doggies win.  She helped consolidate their early dominance in the first quarter by kicking the second goal of the match.

She 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.

In round two the Bulldogs came up against Melbourne, and in the opening minutes of the game the Dees were able to do what the Dogs did to the Saints. The Dees had the opening two goals within first eight minutes, and they never looked back. In the end, the Dees won by 20 points.

Coming off the bench, Marshall had a much quieter game that week. In the end, she finished with the stats of three disposals (all kicks), three hit outs and one tackle.

Things didn’t get any better for Dani or the Bulldogs in Round 3, the annual Pride Match against Carlton. 

The Blues looking the more dominant side early on, and had three goals on the board before the Bulldogs were able to even get one on the board. The Bulldogs came back at the Blues as the match went on, at one stage in the last quarter trimming the margin back to nine points. But, in the end, the Blues were able to hold them off and get the win.

Marshall started the first quarter on the bench, but finally came onto the ground towards the end of the term and into the ruck, then pushed forward to help drive the Bulldogs forward.

She started on the ground for the second term, but unfortunately did not make much of an impact on the match, with only three tackles to her name for the entire match. 

Round four saw the Bulldogs travel outside Victoria for the first time this season as they took on West Coast.

Although the Dogs had early chances to score, it was the Eagles who put the first three tallies on the board, including the first goal of the game. The Bulldogs continued to pepper the goals as the quarter went on but the goals remained elusive. In the end the Eagles took a seven point lead into the opening change.

Marshall was in the action early. Although listed to start in the forward line, she was involved in a ruck contest in the opening minutes, and spent much of the opening minutes of the term in the ruck.

She started the second quarter up forward, and made an impact in the opening minutes of the second term, scoring the Bulldogs’ first goal of the match. She also spent some time in the ruck during the term. The Bulldogs got a second goal with only two minutes left in the term to take the lead, and at the half time break held a five point lead.

Once again, West Coast got the first goal of the quarter, and retook the lead. Although the Eagles kept attacking the goal, the Bulldogs were able to repel every time until the Eagles were able to sneak a second through in a contest on a goal line. In the end, the Eagles took a seven point lead into the final change.

Marshall started the third quarter in the forward line, and was involved in a contest in the opening four minutes. She eventually got moved into the ruck, and got more involved in the action after that.

She also started on the ground in the final term, and was in the action quickly, getting two kicks in the space of seconds within the first few minutes of the quarter. She was also in the ruck and in defence at times during the quarter.

Although the Bulldogs managed to get the first score on the board in the final term, it was the Eagles who got the first goal on the board for the quarter. The Bulldogs did manage to score one goal to bring the margin back, but in the end they fell just short.

Marshall finished the game with eight disposals (which included six kicks and two handballs), two hitouts, two tackles and one goal.

The Bulldogs’ run home could be described as mixed. In the next four weeks they have Collingwood, Fremantle, North Melbourne and GWS. The Bulldogs’ injury list has started to mount up as well, with a particular worry for fans being the fact that Bonnie Toogood, who’s been their main target up forward and arguably their best forward this season, is out for at least the next three weeks with a PCL injury.

Regardless, both the ‘Dogs and Dani Marshall will no doubt be looking to improve their recent form.

They’ll be back in action against Collingwood on Saturday (US Time) at 9pm EST / 6pm PST on WatchAFL.  The game will be shown via tape delay at 7:30am EDT / 4:30pm PDT on Fox Soccer Plus.

Photo: westernbulldogs.com.au