A sickening leg injury suffered by Britney Gutknecht has overshadowed the Western Bulldogs’ party-crashing 18-point AFLW win over Port Adelaide at sold-out Alberton Oval.
With 1:36 remaining in the first half on Saturday, the lower part of Gutknecht’s right leg snapped when Port’s Abbey Dowrick’s flying attempt to smother her opponent’s kick went horribly wrong.
Play was halted for 31 minutes while Gutknecht, in obvious agony, was attended to by trainers, medicos and paramedics before eventually being taken to hospital via ambulance.
Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke, captain Ellie Blackburn and other teammates consoled Gutknecht’s parents who were in attendance.
Gutknecht had been playing well before the injury, which meant the second term lasted almost 50 minutes from siren to siren.
The Bulldogs went on to win 3.10 (28) to 1.3 (9).
The Dogs were comfortably the better side in the first half, owning distinct advantages in disposals (106-78) and inside-50s (17-6), but their 1.7 conversion kept the Power in the hunt.
Blackburn, after a quiet start, had a major influence with her playmaking, while Kirsty Lamb and Isabelle Pritchard were busy.
Amid the flurry of Dogs misses, Richelle Cranston converted a free kick early in the second stanza, which was matched at the other end when Gemma Houghton, who nailed the Power’s historic maiden AFLW goal last week against West Coast, snapped Port’s first major at Alberton.
It was their only moment of joy for the day.
Power skipper Erin Phillips got going in the third period, almost having the parochial crowd on their feet when her left-foot snap looked on target, only to slam the ball into the woodwork.
Opposite number Blackburn’s nifty hands then set up Celine Moody’s major as the Bulldogs pushed ahead by 10 points at three-quarter-time.
Gabby Newton’s contested marking in attack was a feature of the fourth quarter, dominated completely by the visitors.
The Power gave away numerous free kicks towards the end and failed to enter their attacking 50 for the entire term as the Dogs continued to press home their advantage, only their inaccuracy in front of the sticks preventing a percentage pile-on.
Elsewhere, Fremantle recorded the lowest-ever AFLW score, registering just one point as they were held goalless for the first time in their history in a dire 26-point upset loss to Geelong.
In a low-scoring affair in wet and windy conditions at Fremantle Oval, the Dockers’ forwards barely got a look-in as the wasteful Cats prevailed 3.9 (27) to 0.1 (1) to start their season with two consecutive wins.
Nina Morrison’s goal in the second quarter proved the difference for much of the game as Geelong peppered the goals without reward, until they added two more majors in the final term.
Mim Strom’s final-quarter point, rushed through by the Geelong defence, was the Dockers’ only score in a deeply disappointing follow-up to their thumping opening-round loss to Brisbane.
The previous low mark in the AFLW was 0.2 (2), which St Kilda scored against Carlton in February and Gold Coast recorded against Brisbane in 2021.
Geelong’s Amy McDonald racked up the ball at will, seemingly able to do as she pleased with 29 disposals, five clearances and 19 contested possessions off half-back.
She was well supported by young gun Georgie Prespakis (nine clearances and 20 disposals) and Rebecca Webster (23 disposals).
Midfield gun Kiara Bowers was Fremantle’s best, collecting 18 touches, 12 tackles and seven clearances while skipper Hayley Miller had 14 touches and five clearances.
Both teams huffed and puffed but failed to score in a grinding opening term where Bowers had seven disposals, three clearances and seven tackles.
The Cats drew first blood when Morrison swooped and snapped truly in the second term.
But Geelong were otherwise plagued by inaccuracy, with three points in the second quarter, and only added five points in the third quarter, despite dominating.
They finally broke through when Julia Crockett-Grills added their second early in the final term.
The Dockers attacked without reward from there, including one passage where McDonald turned a Fremantle forward foray into a counter-attack that resulted in Georgia Clarke adding the Cats’ third.
Fremantle finally scored with just under six minutes left in the game.
Strom tried her luck and put a shot on target, but the Cats’ defence were able to knock it over for a point.