Round 4 Friday 28 January

Henson Park
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    Raising the Barr: Giant response muzzles misfiring Dogs

    GREATER Western Sydney defender Nicola Barr has become an unlikely hero up forward, helping lift the COVID-hit Giants to a 21-point NAB AFLW win over the wayward Western Bulldogs at Henson Park.

    Barr entered Friday's match having never kicked a goal in her 33-game professional career.

    But she ended the match with three to her name in the 7.1 (43) to 2.10 (22) victory.

    AFLW Match Highlights: GWS v Western Bulldogs

    06:03 Jan 28. 2022. 7:23 PM

    The Giants and Dogs clash in round four of the NAB AFL Women's Competition

    Fellow defender Louise Stephenson, who had kicked just one goal in her 28 previous games, finished with two goals and an assist after being stationed up forward.

    The Giants had Pepa Randall, Chloe Dalton, Rebecca Privitelli and Katie Loynes ruled out due to the competition's health and safety protocols, and they were dealt a late blow when Georgia Garnett was forced to join them after she contracted COVID-19 for a second time.

    But with Barr and Stephenson excelling up forward in a surprise tactical move, the Giants sealed victory despite losing the inside 50m count 33-21.

    GIANTS v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

    Barr was so excited with the win that she dropped the F-bomb in an on-field Fox Footy interview after the game.

    "Sorry, I'm not allowed to swear," Barr said sheepishly.

    "It's a massive win for us. This will be one of our best wins, for me.

    "I enjoyed the new role, but I can't do it without all the girls in the middle and the back who were feeding it to us and working really hard."

    Nicola breaks her goal drought, no holds Barred

    00:44 Jan 28. 2022. 5:23 PM

    Nicola Barr runs freely into the goalsquare and kicks her first AFLW goal with a great soccer

    The Bulldogs had been out of action for 20 days after being struck down by COVID-19, but they could have come away with victory if not for their horrible goalkicking.

    "We started the way I feared we might start," Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke said.

    "We were very rusty, struggling to hit a target, a bit on the back foot.

    "Then we worked our way into the game ... but we couldn't capitalise. We never put scoreboard pressure on the Giants at all."

    Eleanor Brown (19 disposals) and Kirsty Lamb (18) battled hard for the Bulldogs, while Ellie Blackburn finished with 12 disposals, eight tackles, and a goal.

    AFLW superstar delivers after tough quarter

    00:39 Jan 28. 2022. 6:31 PM

    Ellie Blackburn makes the most of an opportunity after a slog of a quarter for the Bulldogs

    But it was evident that some Bulldogs players still hadn't fully recovered from their bout with COVID-19.

    "(It was a) juggling act on the bench to hide players all over the field," Burke said.

    "Ellie Blackburn only had two minutes in the midfield in the second half, because she just ran herself ragged and she had nothing left.

    "It was an amazing effort to do what she did. There were others in a similar boat."

    The Bulldogs have just four days rest before fronting up against Fremantle at VU Whitten Oval on Tuesday.

    Burke wasn't happy that his team were forced to fly out from NSW just hours after losing to GWS.

    "The AFL in their wisdom are sending us home tonight, so the players will get home around 12.30am, 1am," Burke said.

    "That does nothing for our sleep patterns. Sleep is the best way to recover. We are getting off to a bad start by flying home tonight."

    Doyle caps off Giants' night out

    00:46 Jan 28. 2022. 6:55 PM

    Jessica Doyle finishes with a nice set shot in a play that typified the game for the Giants

    GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY     3.0     5.1     5.1     7.1     (43)
    WESTERN BULLDOGS                 1.4     1.4     2.8     2.10     (22)

    GOALS
    Greater Western Sydney: Barr 3, Stephenson 2, Staunton, Doyle
    Western Bulldogs: Cranston, Blackburn

    BEST
    Greater Western Sydney: Barr, Parker, Eva, Pease, Grierson
    Western Bulldogs: Brown, Cranston, Blackburn, Fitzgerald

    INJURIES
    Greater Western Sydney: Nil
    Western Bulldogs: Nil

    Reports: Nil

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