|Brownlow Medal||3 Marcus Bontempelli (WBULL)||2 Lance 'Buddy' Franklin (SYD)||1 Sam Reid (SYD)|
Last year's thrilling Grand Final between the Western Bulldogs was always going to be hard act to follow when the two sides met again in 2017 but Friday night's match between the two sides match the 'big dance' and in the eyes of some, even bettered that match. Ultimately, the same result was reached, the Dogs winning by 23 points, one more than the margin in October last year, but the game fluctuated wildly, favouring one side and then the other, with the Bulldogs in control when the final siren sounded.
With the Bulldogs playing the first home game of the season, the match was preceded by a parade of Bulldogs icons partaking the premiership flag unfurling ceremony. It was a moving affair for Bulldogs fans, and perhaps it affected the players briefly when the game started, as the Swans got away to a flyer. Within 16 minutes, Sam Reid had kicked three goals and Jeremy Laidler one as Sydney jumped out to a 23-point lead. But midway through the term, a heavy knock by Zak Jones on Travis Cloke after a mark saw a 50-metre penalty paid and the Dogs get their first goal. They settled after that, and series of behinds and a second goal to Cloke saw them back within seven points at the first change.
Bulldog skipper opened the second term with his first goal since injuring his kneed in round three last year, and he was swamped by teammates as the Dogs moved to within a point. A long bomb from outside 50 from Matt Suckling saw the Bulldogs hit the front after five minutes but second-gamer Olive Florent responded for the Swans to return them to the lead. Cloke's third had the Dogs back in front but Sydney held sway for the next period, kicking three behinds and then a goal via debutant Nic Newman had Sydney ahead by five points early in time on. The Bulldogs dominated the final few minutes, though, and a booming goal from Jake Stringer and another from Lin Jong had the Dogs ahead eight points at the long break.
The third quarter opened with Grand Final hero Tom Boyd taking a screamer and the converting for a goal to give the Dogs a 14-point break but Sam Reid's fourth had the Swans back within eight after just two minutes. The Bulldogs goaled again, though, through Lachie Hunter, and then further majors to Tom Boyd and Marcus Bontempelli had them suddenly out to a 27-point lead before Sam Reid's fifth brought it make to 21. Stringer's second had the margin back out to 28 but a late goal to Lance Franklin - his first - gave Sydney some hope going into the last break.
As he had in last year's Grand Final, Franklin kicked the first goal of the last term. Unlike the Grand Final, though, this time he followed that up with two of the most brilliant long running goals one would ever see and the Swans were back within a two points. A minute later, Reid marked and kicked his sixth and Sydney was amazingly back in front. The Bulldogs were stung into action though, and a fine running effort from Liam Picken saw Bontempelli goal, and the Dogs were back in front.
A controversial rushed behind free kick saw Picken goal soon after and then a classic burst from the centre from Jake Stringer saw him kick a huge goal and suddenly the Dogs were back out to a 16-point lead. They had seized back control and Picken iced the game with a clever mark and goal with under two minutes remaining, the Bulldogs home by 23 points in a classic encounter.
Bontempelli showed why many believe him to be a future Brownlow Medallist with a match-winning 30-possession seven-tackle game, while Franklin almost stole the show with his 11 marks and four goals.
The Dogs are 2-0 an flying and will go to Perth as strong favourites to beat Fremantle at Subiaco next Saturday night. Sydney is in unfamiliar territory, 0-2 and 15th on the ladder and will be looking to open its account against the also winless Collingwood at the SCG on Friday night.
Western Bulldogs: Cloke, Stringer 3; Bontempelli, T.Boyd, Picken 2; Jong, Murphy, Hunter, Suckling
Sydney: Reid 6; Franklin 4; Newman, Florent, Laidler
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Western Bulldogs: Dahlhaus, Jong, Bontempelli, Stringer, Picken, Hunter, Cloke
Sydney: Reid, Franklin, Lloyd, Kennedy, Jones, Parker
BEST - THE SATURDAY AGE
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Jong, Wood, Murphy, Stringer, Macrae, Dahlhaus, Cloke
Sydney: Reid, Franklin, Kennedy, Hewitt, Lloyd, Jones
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Sydney: Tippett (ankle)
REPORTS: Zak Jones (Sydney) for rough conduct on Travis Cloke (Western Bulldogs) in the first quarter
UMPIRES: Hosking, Ryan, Mollison
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Seven Network
COMMENTATORS: Bruce McAvaney, Brian Taylor, Wayne Carey, Cameron Ling, Tim Watson
Video sourced from YouTube, courtesy of the AFL.
|Western Bulldogs||Match Stats||Career|
|25||Adams, Marcus||9||7||11||20||0||0||0||5||1||0||23y 274d||12||0|
|24||Biggs, Shane||16||3||9||25||0||0||0||2||1||0||25y 238d||44||7|
|4||Bontempelli, Marcus||17||4||13||30||2||1||0||7||2||2||21y 127d||65||62|
|5||Boyd, Matthew||13||5||8||21||0||0||0||0||1||0||34y 216d||284||84|
|17||Boyd, Tom||5||2||2||7||2||0||15||2||1||1||21y 221d||40||39|
|15||Campbell, Tom||7||1||7||14||0||1||33||6||3||1||25y 149d||36||21|
|13||Cloke, Travis||11||7||7||18||3||2||0||1||3||0||30y 26d||248||445|
|12||Cordy, Zaine||10||5||5||15||0||0||0||1||2||1||20y 155d||13||8|
|8||Crameri, Stewart||4||2||3||7||0||1||0||7||0||0||28y 233d||99||166|
|6||Dahlhaus, Luke||9||6||16||25||0||0||0||2||2||1||24y 222d||117||95|
|35||Daniel, Caleb||11||2||7||18||0||0||0||4||0||0||20y 267d||36||17|
|7||Hunter, Lachie||11||6||14||25||1||1||0||1||1||0||22y 108d||64||30|
|39||Johannisen, Jason||17||2||6||23||0||0||0||2||1||1||24y 143d||66||20|
|46||Jong, Lin||8||8||15||23||1||1||0||7||1||0||23y 300d||41||26|
|21||Liberatore, Tom||5||2||14||19||0||0||0||16||1||3||24y 319d||100||33|
|11||Macrae, Jack||9||3||11||20||0||0||0||8||2||0||22y 240d||79||19|
|2||Murphy, Bob||16||6||4||20||1||1||0||3||2||0||34y 295d||297||174|
|42||Picken, Liam||15||6||6||21||2||1||0||2||3||1||30y 242d||178||67|
|18||Roberts, Fletcher||7||3||3||10||0||0||0||3||2||0||23y 301d||39||0|
|9||Stringer, Jake||9||3||6||15||3||1||0||3||1||5||22y 340d||75||140|
|1||Suckling, Matt||10||3||10||20||1||0||0||1||1||0||28y 249d||121||59|
|10||Wood, Easton||10||9||6||16||0||0||0||1||0||1||27y 208d||109||15|
|36||Aliir, Aliir||6||3||8||14||0||0||0||1||0||2||22y 207d||14||0|
|7||Cunningham, Harry||8||3||7||15||0||0||0||2||1||0||23y 115d||72||36|
|13||Florent, Oliver||8||1||5||13||1||0||0||2||1||1||18y 252d||2||1|
|42||Fox, Robbie||2||0||11||13||0||0||0||3||0||1||23y 349d||1||0|
|23||Franklin, Lance 'Buddy'||18||11||4||22||4||3||0||4||1||4||30y 60d||249||795|
|39||Grundy, Heath||3||3||10||13||0||0||0||1||0||0||30y 302d||215||23|
|4||Hannebery, Dan||7||2||12||19||0||0||0||7||0||0||26y 35d||172||82|
|9||Hayward, Will||11||3||5||16||0||1||0||6||0||1||18y 156d||1||0|
|29||Hewett, George||9||1||8||17||0||0||0||6||0||3||21y 92d||26||18|
|15||Jack, Kieren||12||2||7||19||0||1||0||3||0||1||29y 276d||212||145|
|10||Jones, Zak||9||4||11||20||0||0||0||0||1||3||22y 16d||33||5|
|12||Kennedy, Josh||6||1||18||24||0||0||0||8||3||2||28y 284d||185||116|
|11||Laidler, Jeremy||8||5||8||16||1||0||0||3||0||2||27y 238d||86||8|
|44||Lloyd, Jake||20||4||14||34||0||0||0||3||1||0||23y 192d||71||17|
|31||Marsh, Harry||4||1||3||7||0||0||0||0||0||2||23y 77d||9||0|
|14||Mills, Callum||10||1||5||15||0||1||0||4||1||2||19y 363d||24||1|
|35||Naismith, Sam||4||1||6||10||0||0||25||5||2||4||24y 258d||15||3|
|28||Newman, Nic||6||4||10||16||1||0||0||6||0||1||24y 75d||1||1|
|26||Parker, Luke||12||4||9||21||0||1||0||6||3||1||24y 157d||129||103|
|20||Reid, Sam||9||5||6||15||6||1||5||1||2||0||25y 94d||100||103|
|40||Smith, Nick||9||2||3||12||0||0||0||2||1||1||28y 292d||169||10|
|8||Tippett, Kurt||1||1||0||1||0||0||2||1||1||0||29y 327d||171||319|