WESTERN Bulldogs star Isabel Huntington has suffered another knee injury as Melbourne easily won their round one AFLW clash by four goals.
The 2020 Rising Star award winner limped off Whitten Oval with the help of two trainers in the second term of Saturday night’s loss after she hurt her right knee.
Melbourne made the most of a strong start, holding off the Bulldogs’ second-half challenge to win 6.10 (46) to 3.4 (22).
Minutes before her injury, Huntington had laid a crunching tackle and kicked the Bulldogs’ only goal of the first half.
Huntington has overcome a broken leg and anterior cruciate ligament injuries in her left and right knees to become one of the AFLW’s top players.
The 22-year-old was the No.1 pick in the 2017 draft and won the league’s 2020 Rising Star award, as well as making the All-Australian team that year.
Melbourne dominated the opening term kicking three goals to a behind, and extended their lead to 23 points at the main break.
A blowout loomed, with the Demons having 10 scoring shots to two.
But the Dogs rallied and when their three-time All Australian Ellie Blackburn kicked a captain’s goal on the run in the third term, the margin was back to nine points.
Star recruit Tayla Harris then steadied Melbourne when she kicked a crucial banana goal and the Demons led by 16 points at the last break.
Kate Hore booted her second major in the final quarter to seal the win.
Eden Zanker had a team-high 19 disposals and a goal, while Libby Birch and Sarah Lampard had 17 disposals apiece.
Blackburn was impressive as usual for the Bulldogs, racking up a game-high 21 disposals as well as seven tackles and her goal.
(C) AAP 2022
MELBOURNE 3.0 4.6 5.8 6.10 (46)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.1 1.1 3.4 3.4 (22)
GOALS: Melbourne: Hore 2, Sherriff, Gay, Zanker, Harris
Western Bulldogs: Huntington, Toogood, Blackburn
BEST : Melbourne: Zanker, Hanks, Birch, Lampard, Hore, Mithen
Western Bulldogs: Blackburn, Bennetts, Fitzgerald, Lamb, Lochland