Dees' AFLW win streak ends in Dogs upset

Isabel Huntington and Jessica Fitzgerald kicked two goals each as the Western Bulldogs snared a 13-point win over Melbourne at Whitten Oval on Sunday.

ISABEL HUNTINGTON of the Bulldogs.
ISABEL HUNTINGTON of the Bulldogs. Picture: Jason O'Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images

Melbourne found out the hard way that possession is only nine-tenths of the law as they slumped to their first loss of the AFLW season in a 13-point defeat to the Western Bulldogs.

Most of the major indicators on Sunday pointed towards a comfortable win for the Demons, who had 20 of the first 21 inside-50s, won more than twice as many clearances as their opponents and dominated contested possession.

But the plucky Bulldogs made the most of their opponents' wastefulness in attack to post a 6.1 (37) to 2.12 (24) win, much to the delight of a 3180-strong crowd at Whitten Oval.

Isabel Huntington and Jessica Fitzgerald kicked two goals each for the home side, who turned for home five points in front and pulled away in the final term.

Ellie Blackburn had 16 disposals and four clearances for the Dogs, despite close attention from Shelley Heath, and capped her strong display with a crucial goal early in the final quarter.

Former All-Australian defender Hannah Scott was particularly influential on her return to the Bulldogs' backline, which stood firm as the Demons pressed time and again.

Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke praised his side's "gutsy" performance after they kept their opponents goalless in the final quarter for a third consecutive week.

"There's an intangible quality that really good teams have and when they need to dig deep they just do it," the former St Kilda champion said.

"Three weeks in a row now the game's been in the balance in the last quarter and we've come over the top.

"I can get up and give as many speeches about the importance of that, but it's having that deep down inside your gut that you want to do it, even though you're tired and hurt and sore.

"That's what this group have got, which makes my job easy."

Melbourne gun Karen Paxman had 27 disposals and nine clearances, with Tyla Hanks, Maddison Gay and Lily Mithen also busy through the midfield.

But the Dees' forward line couldn't take advantage, with Eden Zanker and Tegan Cunningham (both 0.3) the most wayward in front of goal.

"We generated a lot of opportunities and enough opportunities to win the game, but conversion was poor today and that cost us," Melbourne coach Mick Stinear said.

"From a broader point of view, it was our method.

"We didn't enter the forward line that well and the Bulldogs did a good job of slowing us down."

The Bulldogs' win saw them win back the annual Hampson-Hardeman Cup.