The Western Bulldogs remain undefeated through six rounds, with the ladder leaders shaking off a brave Greater Western Sydney late to skip away to a 39-point win at Manuka Oval on Friday night.
- The Bulldogs move to a 6-0 record courtesy of the win in Canberra
- They only led by three points at the final change before storming away in the fourth quarter
- The Bulldogs lost Josh Dunkley (shoulder dislocation), Tim English (head knock) and Lin Jong (hamstring) during the match
The Bulldogs led by three points at three-quarter time on a cold night in Canberra, but kicked the first three goals of the final term to set up a 15.14 (104) to 9.11 (65) win that improved their record to 6-0.
Jack Macrae starred for the Bulldogs with 40 disposals and a goal, with Marcus Bontempelli (26 disposals and a goal), Adam Treloar (35 disposals and a goal) and Josh Dunkley (29 disposals) all important.
But the win came at a cost for Luke Beveridge’s side, with Dunkley (shoulder dislocation), Tim English (head knock) and Lin Jong (hamstring) failing to see out the match.
Bulldogs fans salivating at the prospect of their high-flying team feasting on the injury-depleted and inexperienced Giants were left disappointed as Leon Cameron’s side took the fight to their arch rivals for three quarters.
Toby Greene (19 disposals and four goals) was instrumental as GWS denied the Bulldogs time and space to get their vaunted fast-paced game up and running.
Both sides activated their medical substitutes in the first quarter, with injury-plagued Bulldog Jong and important Giant Nick Haynes (hamstring) leaving the contest.
A late Josh Bruce goal gave the Bulldogs an eight-point lead at the first break, but Greene’s second major — following a brief scuffle with old sparring partner Bontempelli — put the Giants back in front early in the second term.
Lachie McNeil, who replaced Jong, restored the Bulldogs’ lead and Tom Liberatore booted the last goal of the first half.
With Macrae leading the way, the Bulldogs had seven of the top eight disposal winners on the ground by half-time but still led by just eight points.
The inaccurate Bulldogs peppered the goals after the restart, but still could not shake the Giants, with youngster Conor Stone kicking his first major at the elite level.
Aaron Naughton kicked his side’s only goal for the quarter and when Bobby Hill fed Greene for his third, the plucky Giants trailed by three points at three-quarter time.
But as brave as they had been, the Giants could not contain the Bulldogs any longer.
Bontempelli, Macrae and Treloar all hit the scoreboard, as the Bulldogs booted nine goals to three for the quarter, with Naughton kicking his second after the siren.