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Match report: Dogs stay perfect against Lions

AFLW Highlights: Brisbane v Bulldogs The Lions and Bulldogs clash in Round 2 of the AFLW
Bulldog Kirsty Lamb breaks away from the pack - AFLW,Brisbane Lions,Western Bulldogs
Bulldog Kirsty Lamb breaks away from the pack

ISABEL Huntington's serious right knee injury has soured the Western Bulldogs' nine-point NAB AFL Women's victory over Brisbane on Sunday.

Huntington went down midway through the second quarter after her knee buckled following a jostle with Lion Nicole Hildebrand for a loose ball.

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The incident looked innocuous but the 18-year-old came up grimacing and clutching the knee before being taken off on a stretcher. 

Despite the devastating blow, the Bulldogs held off the hosts to win 5.3 (33) to 3.6 (24).

AFLW: No.1 pick suffers serious knee injury

Huntington is the second Bulldog in two weeks to suffer a knee injury, following fellow teenager Daria Bannister's ACL last week against Fremantle.

Coach Paul Groves said it was "deflating" to see Huntington go down.

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"I'm exhausted because I feel so much for her," Groves said.

"The character of her and the type of person she is, it's just another blip for her. She will get back from it.

"We don't know yet, we wait for the scans to make the diagnosis on that."

Huntington has a history of knee problems, having ruptured her ACL late in 2016, before returning to be drafted by the Bulldogs last year as the No.1 pick.

Huntington's injury came just minutes after she had single-handedly injected life into a dour contest at the South Pine Sports Complex on a hot and windy afternoon in Brisbane. 

After a goalless first term from both teams, Huntington split the game open with back-to-back contested marks in the goalsquare within the space of a minute to kick the first two goals of the game.

The Bulldogs never looked back. 

"It means a mountain for our girls and belief what that we're doing is the right way because they're a bloody good team," Groves said.

Despite a brilliant Jess Wuetschner goal from the boundary line early in the third quarter and some fight from the Lions in the fourth, the home team never seriously challenged. 

Their second quarter was particularly poor, and coach Craig Starcevich was not happy.

"I thought we were a bit lethargic all day," he said.

"It shouldn't take a bit of soul searching at half-time to work out where your attitude is.

"Maybe last week (against Adelaide), quite a euphoric win, coming into this game you're a bit off, but you shouldn't be.

"It wasn't terrible, but there's some work to do."

The win makes it two from two for the Dogs who join Carlton and Melbourne as the competition's three unbeaten teams.

The result also marked 2017 AFLW grand finalists Brisbane's first regular season loss in club history.

Did you see that?
It was a case of 'anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better' between Bulldog Hannah Scott and Lion Jess Wuetschner, who kicked two more early contenders for Goal of the Year. Scott's 40m effort from the outside of her right foot was quite spectacular, while Wuetschner opened the third term with an expertly taken shot from deep in the right forward pocket in windy conditions.

It was over when…
After some semblance of a fightback and a goal to Ally Anderson, the Lions drew within eight points midway through the final term. That was until Aisling Utri rammed the nail into the coffin with five minutes remaining. After a quiet day in general, Utri took an uncontested mark 40m out, played on and slotted truly with her right foot to ensure the Bulldogs would return to Melbourne with four premiership points.

Five minutes of madness
It was really three minutes of madness involving Isabel Huntington. With no goals in the first 20 minutes of the game, the 18-year-old launched herself above the pack to pull down a big goalsquare mark to kick her first goal. Sixty seconds later her long arms were again too much for Kate Lutkins, pulling down another contested mark in the square, and just over a minute later again, the devastating knee injury occurred. She was the hero and the heartbreak, all in three minutes.

Winning formula
In hot and windy conditions, the Bulldogs gave the home team a lesson on how to control the ball. While Brisbane was often under pressure and sprayed its forward 50 entries, the Bulldogs were prepared to chip the ball around, be patient and wait for an opening. They finished with five less inside 50s, but were more methodical and always looked the better team.

Say what?
"We were pretty cooked in that last quarter. They just battled. They're a gutsy little group and I'm very proud."
- Western Bulldogs coach Paul Groves

"It probably means we'll make a few changes and bring some other people into the group to make sure their effort is consistent."
- Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich

What’s next?
Both teams have a short turnaround and play next Saturday. The Bulldogs travel to Adelaide to take on the desperate premiers, the Crows at 1.35pm (ACDT), while the Lions face former marquee forward Tayla Harris and her Carlton teammates at Ikon Park at 7.40pm (AEDT).

BRISBANE                             0.2     0.3     1.4     3.6     (24)
WESTERN BULLDOGS     0.1     4.2     4.2     5.3     (33) 

Brisbane: Wuetschner 2, Anderson
Western Bulldogs: Huntington 2, Bruton, Scott, Utri

Brisbane: Anderson, Bates, Zielke, Lutkins
Western Bulldogs: Lamb, Kearney, Blackburn, Bruton 

Brisbane: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Huntington (knee) 

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Broadbent, Adair, Strybos 

Official crowd: 5300 (approx) at South Pine Sports Complex (Brendale)