A tough tussle between two extremely hard at the ball sides, the Western Bulldogs had a few too many answers for the lowly Geelong Cats.
1. Ellie Blackburn
What more can be said? The skipper has registered three sublime games on the trot and is surely raising more than whispers for the league's best player awards. Her tally of 25 touches was worthy enough, but the magic of Blackburn's performanc could be bottled in one moment where she broke from the midfield, measured the play in front and weighted the perfect 40m pass to a streaming Izzy Huntington, who nailed the goal from close range. Just sit back and watch.
2. Cats might not yet be capable, but still developing
In an eerie coincidence, almost eleven months to the day after the Cats played in front of a crowd before Covid-19 restrictions bit for the first time, they again hosted the only game of the round with fans in the stands.
That might feel like the Twilight Zone for Cats fans, but even scarier is the fact that the women from Kardinia Park have only registered a major score in three of their last 12 quarters. Their game against the ascendant Bulldogs was another frustrating affair; scrappy for long periods and for substantial passages their forward structure looked non-existent.
However, a courageous performance from Meg McDonald (who played the last stanza with her upper leg strapped, which showed in her final minutes), coupled with some Aasta O'Connor smarts, Phoebe McWilliams presenting fairly strongly as a key forward and the second highest possesion count from Amy McDonald meant this was the best showing by the hoops all season. Effort was the buzzword of the night, with praise for Geelong from both coaches noted.
The absence of Nina Morrison also continues to be felt through lacking possession chains especially; fortunately for the Cats the dynamo is set to take to the field via the VFLW in the coming weeks. Should the effort of her teammates continue to remain high, perhaps she will return to a side in a slightly better overall position than their current 0-3.
3. Bulldogs are capable, but also still developing
The Dogs still have a ways to go before imposing their will on sides like the best in the business. Faced with pacy opponents who more-or-less took the game on in the opening rounds, the 'brick wall' of Geelong had a way of blunting most attacks until the dam sprung a moderate leak in the final quarter.
The core of this side is its youth; nothing is more emblematic of this than debutant Isabella Grant's assured mark on the wing to rapturous cheers - followed by audaciously stepping around the woman on the mark. The relatively "experienced" Jess Fitzgerald was probably the best of the pups, again among the best on in just her third game for the club.
For a side in the very process of being moulded by the flames of gameplay, it wouldn't be a huge suprise if an opponent with better finishers and cooler heads turns the tables if the same Dogs turn up.