Lockout at Moorabbin as St Kilda Saints lose to Western Bulldogs in first game


Huntington, who has undergone two knee reconstructions, needed to be helped off by trainers in the final quarter after slumping to the ground in defence.

She managed to get to the bench with relative ease and club officials confirmed after the match that she had suffered a concussion, but no damage to her knee.

There was also bad news for Western Bulldog Celine Moody, who was out fo the game before quarter-time with an ankle injury and ended the game on crutches.

Dogs coach Nathan Burke takes a moment with the injured Celine Moody.Credit:AAP

The Dogs started strongly, taking advantage of a first-quarter breeze to kick the opening three goals of the match – including one to American debutant Dani Marshall, who snapped truly from close range with her first kick in AFLW.

In windy conditions, the Dogs’ 18-point quarter-time buffer left the Saints with an uphill task to work back into the game, and ultimately coach Nathan Burke’s women were never really threatened.

The Dogs were without vice-captain and sharpshooter Brooke Lochland through injury, and appeared vulnerable after losing a heap of experience at the end of last season.

But the old guard of Bonnie Toogood, Hannah Scott, Kirsty Lamb and captain Ellie Blackburn stood up, paving the way for their younger teammates, while ruck Kim Rennie’s influence was also telling.

Bonnie Toogood and Ellie Blackburn celebrate a goal.

Bonnie Toogood and Ellie Blackburn celebrate a goal.Credit:AAP

Toogood kicked a couple of first term majors, benefiting from the neat work of Blackburn up the ground.

Molly McDonald etched her name into history by becoming the Saints’ first AFLW goalkicker, slotting one on the run late in the first to bring the crowd to life after some daring play from St Kilda’s first draft pick Georgia Patrikios, who stood out with some excellent evasive work.

Both sides had promised to play an attacking brand and so it proved, with the up-tempo style of play sure to please administrators, although St Kilda’s ball use left plenty to be desired.

Georgia Patrikios was one of St Kilda's best.

Georgia Patrikios was one of St Kilda’s best.Credit:Getty Images

Before the injury, Huntington showed positive signs in her new role mopping up in defence.

Bulldog Naomi Ferres was slow to her feet after a second term collision with St Kilda’s Rosie Dillon but was given the all-clear.

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Teenage Bulldog Gabby Newton – last year’s No. 1 draft pick – made a solid contribution without being a standout.

The result meant all four of 2020’s expansion sides were first-up losers.

While the Saints would have of course preferred a win to make their mark in the competition, they could barely be happier with the goings on off the field. The AFL announced late in the second term that the ground’s capacity of 8000 had been reached, with patrons still being turned away.

St Kilda’s top brass was out in force, with president Andrew Bassat, chief executive Matt Finnis and head of football Simon Lethlean all present. So too was men’s coach Brett Ratten and a host of male players who were rattling tins for bushfire relief.

Saints list manager James Gallagher got involved too, selling AFL records to fans.

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