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AFLW preview: Blues v Dogs

Justin Cooper, Carlton Media  March 3, 2017 10:09 AM

AFLW Team Selection | Round 5 Carlton Media's Grace Phillips brings you all the team selection news ahead of our Round 5 clash against the Western Bulldogs at Ikon Park.

CARLTON (4th) vs WESTERN BULLDOGS (5th)

Where: Ikon Park, Carlton
When: Saturday, 4 March
Time: 11:35am AEST

COVERAGE

Follow Carlton’s social media channels where we’ll be posting live updates and behind-the-scenes content. FOX Footy will broadcast the match live nationally and it can also be streamed live on the AFL Live app.

FORM GUIDE

Carlton lost its second game in succession in Round 4, going down to Melbourne in a nail-biter at Casey Fields by six points. It sees the Blues lose grip on the top-two finish they need to make the March 25 decider, making Saturday’s clash with the Dogs a crucial encounter. Coach Damien Keeping was positive post-game, however, pointing to the two-goal haul from young forward Isabella Ayre and the strong leadership from captain Lauren Arnell (11 disposals, three tackles). Sarah Hosking led the disposals for the Blues with 12 and Shae Audley (nine disposals, five tackles) continues to impress with her competitiveness inside the contest.

Conversely, the Bulldogs haven’t won since their Round 1 victory over Fremantle and will come into the clash with a do-or-die attitude. Despite sitting fifth on the AFLW ladder and one win, they’re still a very formidable outfit who will again be missing key forward Katie Brennan from their starting line-up. Elie Blackburn (19 disposals, two tackles, one goal), Kristy Lamb (two goals, 14 disposals, seven tackles) and Emma Kearney (13 disposals) have been consistent performers and among their best in last round’s seven-point loss to Collingwood. 
 

WHAT THE STATS SAY

Carlton is a higher-scoring team than the Western Bulldogs, leading 22-15 in the goals department. Despite trailing the Blues in averages for disposals (173-180) and contested possessions (88-99), the Dogs are very good in clearances (22-19) per game. The Dogs also have two more centre clearances this season (16-14), an area that has hurt the Blues in recent weeks. Another area Carlton will look to get back to is its disposal efficiency, which has been down in its past two losses. For the season, the Blues lead the Dogs 58.3 to 56.7 per cent in this area.

SELECTED TEAMS:

CARLTON

B: L.Attard 14, A.Downie 30, R.Privitelli 9

HB: L.Brazzale 12, D.Hardiman 31, M.Keryk 4

C: L.Arnell 13 (C)

HF: S.Hosking 10, A.Brown 27, G.Pound 6

F: J.Kennedy 23, B.Moody 16, D.Vescio 3

Foll: K.Shierlaw 25, K.Loynes 2 N.Exon 15

I/C: B.Jakobsson 35, K.Gillespie-Jones 5, T.Lucas-Rodd 18, T.Nestor 20, I.Ayre 22, S.Audley 26

Emergencies: B.Davey 1, K.Darby 8  

No change

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: L.Bailey 13, L.Moorecroft 23, K.Lamb 27

HB: H.Wildes 17, B.Hunt 21, K.Ebb 12

C: E.Kearney 5

HF: N.Callinan 10, L.Spark 11, H.Scott 22

F: J.Lambert 7, T.Ernst 19, K.McLeod 6

Foll: A.O'Connor 4, E.Blackburn 2, B.Lochland 1

I/C: L.Birch 18, M.McDonald 15, A.Gogos 36, L.Williams 9, K.Tyndall 8, R.Timmins 20

Emergencies: E.Gamble 14, C.Clarkson 24

In: A.O'Connor, R.Timmins

Out: E.Gamble, C.Clarkson

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

CARLTON 

Sarah Hosking

A midfield dynamo, Hosking has been among the Blues’ best most weeks impressing with her competitive nature to put pressure on and win the hard ball. This was evident back in Round 1 against Collingwood with six tackles along with five disposals, and almost bettered that in the tight loss to Melbourne last round with 12 disposals and three tackles. Hosking averages eight disposals per game with five of her possessions contested, along with three tackles on average.

Isabella Ayre

In what was a breakout game for the 18-year-old Ayre last round, the promising tall forward kicked two majors from two marks inside 50 to almost single-handedly drive the Blues to victory. Coach Damien Keeping has described Ayre as a “very exciting forward prospect”, who worked well with fellow tall Kate Shierlaw against Melbourne. If Ayre is able to build on her two-goal haul in Saturday's match against the Bulldogs, it should ensure a good chance of victory for the Blues.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 

Emma Kearney

An impressive midfielder, Kearney was among the Dogs’ best in their loss to Collingwood last round. Her 13-disposal game wasn’t her finest of her AFLW campaign, but when you consider she averages 21 disposals per game along with 4.5 clearances and 5.5 inside 50s, you know you’re seeing a very good footballer. Kearney is a proven match-winner and one the Blues will need to negate.

Ellie Blackburn

Arguably the Bulldogs’ best performer last round, Blackburn amassed 19 disposals and three shots on goal to almost get her team across the line. Averaging 19 disposals and three clearances per game this season, Blackburn will again be a key component if the Dogs are to break a three-game losing streak.

CONDITIONS

The weather is forecast to be sunny with clear skies, reaching a top of 28 degrees.