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AFLW Player of the Week: Round 5

Each week, will highlight a Player of the Week during the AFLW season.

Despite losing to Carlton by a goal, the Western Bulldogs’ Ellie Blackburn receives the Round 5 honour after a game-high three goals.

Blackburn collected 16 disposals — 14 of which were kicks — and four tackles as the Dogs staged a last quarter fightback to almost overrun Carlton on Saturday.

The 22-year-old stood in as the Bulldogs skipper in the absence of Katie Brennan and is top five in the AFLW competition for kicks, uncontested possessions, metres gained and goals.

Teammates Tiarna Ernst and Libby Birch spoke to about Blackburn’s Round 5 performance.

Tiarna Ernst

“Ellie played an awesome game and really stepped up as a leader. She demonstrated that despite being down at the time, she was determined about not rolling over.

She’s incredibly relentless. She’s a great ball-getter and ball-user and you can rely on her taking the game on.

She’s generally a good all-rounder on the training track. That translates on the field as well and she’s one of the best all-rounders at the club — she’s good by hand, by foot, a good communicator, has great awareness and positioning on the field, so those aspects is why she stands out during games.”

Libby Birch

“She’s an incredible leader. There were some crucial moments on the weekend where we needed a spark and she was there.

Her three goals were inspirational and she lifted us in the final quarter and inspired that comeback. She brings us together on and off the field, so full credit to her.

She strikes a good balance of leading with what she says to the group and with her actions. I think what makes a good leader is knowing when to speak and when to lead by example and Ellie does that well.

She speaks with conviction and the group always listens when she does so.”

After the announcement of the AFLW Players’ MVP Award to be presented at season’s end, Blackburn could potentially be in the running following a stellar Round 5 performance.

AFLW Player of the Week winners