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Dockers open campaign with big win



Fremantle's quest for a maiden AFL Women's premiership has begun in fine style, defeating the GWS Giants by 30 points at Fremantle Oval on Sunday.


Gemma Houghton starred for the home side, kicking three goals from 19 disposals and three contested marks to be the dominant player on the field from either side, the Dockers winners 8.10 (58) to 4.4 (28) in front of 3195 fans.


Houghton kicked the only goal of the opening term, and she exploded in the third quarter with two goals in as many minutes to help the Dockers open up a match-winning 27-point lead.


Kiara Bowers (21 disposals, nine tackles, five clearances) was also crucial as the Giants made a last quarter run, unable to get close enough to give Trent Cooper's side their first points of the 2021 season.


"I know she kicked three goals, but the 19 touches and the way she was working up to help us get the ball into our forward 50 was really instrumental," Cooper said of Houghton's performance.


"I don't think there's any one like her in the AFLW. She can make things happen that no one else can. When she does, she can really break the game open."


Alyce Parker was the Giants' best with 29 disposals and seven clearances, while Rebecca Beeson tallied 27 disposals and six clearances.


West Australians were dealt a huge blow before the match when the State Government announced the state would go into a five-day lockdown from 6pm WST following a positive COVID-19 test from a quarantine hotel security guard.


Sunday's match started at 1.10pm, meaning the game could go ahead with the crowd on hand.


A minute's silence was held before the match to pay tribute to former Giant Jacinda Barclay, who died at the age of 29 in October.


"I was pretty proud of our girls," Giants coach Alan McConnell said.


"It's been a rollercoaster number of months, and an interesting day. But In the end I don't think it had an influence on the result of the game."


Both sides squandered a series of golden opportunities in the opening term, with Houghton's miss from 15m out after three bounces the biggest of the lot.


Houghton made up for that mistake by nailing a set shot after the siren, giving her side a five-point edge at the break.


The visitors went to halftime with just one goal to their name, and they were blown off the park in the third term by Houghton's burst.


The speedy forward got the ball rolling when she played on from a mark to kick truly.


And when she slotted one with a smart snap while being tackled a minute later, the lead was 19 points and the Giants were in trouble.


Fremantle goalsneak Sabreena Duffy also booted three goals to kill off any hope of a Giants fightback.


The Dockers are slated to play Adelaide in round two, but that fixture could be subject to change as WA's hard lockdown continues to effect the sporting landscape.


IMAGE: 7 NEWS.

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