MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 21: Isabel Huntington (left) and Bonnie Toogood of the Bulldogs celebrate during the 2021 AFLW Round 04 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Melbourne Demons at VU Whitten Oval on February 21, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The Bulldogs have always had the making of a top tier AFLW side with excellent leaders and experience across all lines, however, they have not been able to reach the finals since they won the premiership in 2018.

Bulldogs fans will be hoping for more this season, after getting some games into their young stars and recruiting some more talent throughout the off-season.

2021 recap

Last season was a forgettable one for the Bulldogs as they were on the receiving end of more than one belting. However, they only finished one game outside the top six, leaving the door open for success in 2022.

The year was about development and transition, coach Nathan Burke looking to steer his club through the second year of his tenure.

After being recruited as a defender, Isabel Huntington was in full flight in the forward line for the first time since suffering an ACL injury in 2018. Huntington combined with key-forward Bonnie Toogood to create a dynamic forward duo which gave the Bulldogs fans lots to look forward to.

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Captain Ellie Blackburn cemented her spot as one of the competition's most damaging hybrid Mid/forward players.

Off-season Moves

Over the trade period, the Bulldogs made moves to inject experience and skill into their side. The recruitment of Richelle 'Rocky' Cranston and Elle Bennetts, from Geelong and GWS respectively, brings valuable football experience and passion into their side.

Recruits: Elle Bennetts (GWS), Richelle Cranston (delisted free agent, Geelong), Alice Edmonds (replacement player, formerly Richmond)

Draftees: Amanda Ling, Aurora Smith, Elizabeth Snell

Inactive: Gabby Newton (shoulder)

Out: Ange Gogos, Lauren Spark, Amelia Van Oosterwijck (retired), Katy Herron, Danielle Marshall, Kim Rennie (delisted)

Defining period

2022 opponents: Melbourne (H), Geelong (A), Carlton (H) Giants (A), Richmond (H), Adelaide (A), Gold Coast (H), Collingwood (A), West Coast (A), Fremantle (H)

The Bulldogs are blessed with a nice fixture, only facing four of last year's six finalists. However, if there is one game that would define their season, it's Round 6 against Adelaide away from home.

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If the Dogs come out victorious over last season's minor premiers, away from home, it would make a statement to the rest of the competition and would go a long way in securing a finals finish.

Prediction

2022 for the Bulldogs has no limits, with their building list and friendly fixture they have the potential to put themselves in a really strong position heading into the finals series.

A list strong enough to compete until the end, the girls from the Kennel are sure to shake things up should they make their finals return.

Danielle Sorati: 6th
Mitch Keating: 5th
Jake Benoiton: 2nd
Cameron Grimes: 6th
Ed Carmine: 3rd
Niesha Happell:
6th
Michael Georgiou: 6th