It was a night of firsts for the Western Bulldogs in the AFL Women’s on Friday night.
The Bulldogs hosted the AFLW’s first ever pride game.
They broke records on the field with the highest score registered and the biggest winning margin in a 12.14 (86) to 2.1 (13) demolition job on Carlton at the Victoria University Whitten Oval.
The icing on the cake was small forward Brooke Lochland, who kicked the highest individual goals tally in an AFLW game with seven majors.
Bulldogs coach Paul Groves rated the performance as “clearly the best” from his team in their two-year history of the competition.
“I didn’t see it coming,” he said of the blowout result.
“I was particularly nervous today.
“We really rate Carlton, we rate their list and the players they’ve got there, so to be able to have 26 scoring shots and score 86, we were rapt.”
It was all one way traffic from the first bounce to the final siren.
The Bulldogs barely put a foot wrong as they executed to perfection in all facets of play. Their skills were once again superior, they hunted in packs defensively, they were brave with their ball movement and they turned inside 50s into scores.
The pro-Bulldogs crowd of 8987 would have gone home with smiles as their team showed what level of football they can produce in the absence of injured stars Katie Brennan, Isabel Huntington, Daria Bannister and Elyse Gamble as they rocketed to the top of the ladder with a sky high percentage.
Lochland was the talk of the town on Saturday morning.
The 26-year-old electrified the Whitten Oval with her crumbing play and dazzling finishing.
Her fifth goal of the night was an AFLW record, but she was not stopping there, finishing up with seven on the night.
“It’s a little bit unreal,” she said.
“It doesn’t happen unless everyone up the ground is playing their part.
“I was just lucky enough that I happened to be on the end of them, so credit to the girls tonight, they played amazing, everyone played their role, went in hard, did what they needed to do and it was nice to come away with the win.”
Lochland is a former ice skater.
She had success on the international stage in that sport, but retired when she missed out on the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Football was not on the radar until one night when she was working in a pub.
“Footy happened to fall in my hands,” Lochland said. “I was actually working in a pub and there was a footy team who were having a little function there, so they told me to come and play a couple of games and it just went from there.”
Emma Kearney was outstanding in the midfield for the Bulldogs with 26 possessions, six marks and five tackles.
Ellie Blackburn was dangerous with 18 possessions and a goal, while youngsters Aisling Utri, with 18 disposals, and Monique Conti, with 16, continue to impress.
The Bulldogs will be out to preserve their spot on top of the ladder when they face Collingwood in the fifth round at Ted Summerton Reserve in Moe on Sunday.