|Brownlow Medal||3 Luke Dahlhaus (WBULL)||2 Ben Cunnington (NTH)||1 Marcus Bontempelli (WBULL)|
The first-ever AFL match to be played on Good Friday was a thriller between North Melbourne - long-time advocate of playing a match on the religious holiday - and the Western Bulldogs. In the end the Bulldogs triumphed by three points, but not before the Kangaroos had jumped out to a 29-point lead in the third term. The reigning premiers fought their way back into contention and eventually looked to have the match sewn up, but a last-second shot from Lindsay Thomas that would have delivered North victory sailed just wide of the goal-post, the Dogs sneaking home for their third win, leaving the Roos equal last with a 0-4 record.
While the match eventually turned into an entertaining encounter, the first half was not a great advertisement for the game, with goals few and far between and both sides making some very basic errors. After an early point to North's Jamie Macmillan the Bulldogs dominated general play in the early stages and a free kick to Jake Stringer saw them get the first goal of the match at the six-minute mark. North responded with an 'out the back' goal to Ben Brown but a lovely goal to Marcus Bontempelli had the Bulldogs ahead by six points midway through the term. The Kangaroos worked their way back into the game late in the term and a goal to Todd Goldstein had them ahead by four points at the first end-change.
Travis Cloke had a couple of early chances for the Dogs in the second term but missed them both, and North began to get on top after that. Goals to Brown and Kayne Turner had the Roos ahead by two goals after 10 minutes. While the Bulldogs managed to stem North's scoring after that, they struggled to score themselves, and by half time they still only had two goals, having kicked six behinds for the term. At the long break, the Kangas led 4.7 to 2.8, the game rarely having reached any great heights.
Things opened up early in the third quarter, but only for North Melbourne - initially at least. The Roos kicked three goals in the first six minutes of the term - two to Ben Brown and one to Jy Simpkin - to jump to a 29-point lead and at that stage, it was hard to see where the Bulldogs next goal would come from. Matt Suckling answered that question a minute later with a left-foot check-side kick from nearly 50 metres out, and that sparked the Bulldogs. They added further goals through Josh Dunkley, Bob Murphy, Travis Cloke and Luke Dahlhaus and almost unbelievably hit the front at the 27-minute mark. A late goal to Kayne Turner stopped the run and North took a two-point lead into 'orange' time.
Dahlhaus's second goal restored the lead to the Bulldogs four minutes into the last term but a set shot from an angle by his former teammate Shaun Higgins had North back in front two minutes later. The lead changed once more when Bulldog Jack Macrae kicked a rare goal but a kick off the ground from Simpkin had the Roos in front once more after 14 minutes. A strong mark and goal to Taylor Garner extended North's lead to eight, but the Dogs came again. A mark and goal to Tom Liberatore followed by an 'out the back' goal to Stringer saw the Bulldogs again grab the lead. Suckling marked and goaled to see the Dogs ahead by 10 but North responded once more, a goal to Ziebell bringing the Kangas to within a goal.
With seconds remaining, Lindsay Thomas - playing his 200th match - burst out of a pack and had a long shot at goal for North but his kick sailed just wide of the left post and the siren sounded seconds later, the Bulldogs winners by just three points.
Luke Dahlhaus stood out for the winners, with 32 touches, six tackles and two vital second-half goals, while skipper Ben Cunnington (33 disposals, six marks) led from the front for North.
The Bulldogs have not been overly impressive so far this season but have managed to win three of their four games, as good sides do. They will be odds on to make it 4-1 at Docklands against Brisbane on Saturday. North will travel to Perth to take on the suddenly in-form Fremantle on Saturday night. A loss to the Dockers will see the Roos sink to 0-5, a far cry from their 9-0 start in 2016.
North Melbourne: Brown 4; Turner, Simpkin 2; Higgins, Garner, Goldstein, Ziebell
Western Bulldogs: Stringer, Dahlhaus, Suckling 2; Cloke, Bontempelli, Murphy, Liberatore, Dunkley, Macrae
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Ziebell, Goldstein, Brown, Macmillan, Hrovat
Western Bulldogs: Dahlhaus, Bontempelli, M.Boyd, Macrae, Stringer, Murphy
BEST - HERALD SUN
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Ziebell, Brown, Goldstein, Macmillan, Tarrant, Hrovat
Western Bulldogs: Dahlhaus, Bontempelli, McLean, Jong, Suckling, Picken, Macrae, Stringer, Murphy
North Melbourne: Nil
Western Bulldogs: T.Boyd (concussion), Cloke (ribs)
UMPIRES: Meredith, Williamson, Findlay
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Seven Network
COMMENTATORS: Bruce McAvaney, Brian Taylor, Cameron Ling
Video sourced from YouTube, courtesy of the AFL.
|North Melbourne||Match Stats||Career|
|18||Atley, Shaun||7||3||8||15||0||0||0||2||1||0||24y 213d||136||17|
|50||Brown, Ben||8||8||6||14||4||1||0||1||1||0||24y 145d||59||101|
|10||Cunnington, Ben||10||6||23||33||0||0||0||4||1||0||25y 288d||148||58|
|14||Dumont, Trent||12||2||8||20||0||0||0||4||1||0||21y 288d||24||9|
|27||Garner, Taylor||11||7||10||21||1||1||0||2||0||2||23y 96d||19||11|
|43||Gibson, Sam||11||3||9||20||0||1||0||5||0||0||30y 322d||112||47|
|22||Goldstein, Todd||8||7||13||21||1||0||29||1||2||0||28y 287d||174||95|
|6||Hansen, Lachlan||6||6||3||9||0||0||0||0||0||1||28y 240d||142||76|
|4||Higgins, Shaun||8||2||11||19||1||3||0||6||1||0||29y 41d||166||181|
|8||Hrovat, Nathan||12||1||12||24||0||0||0||2||2||0||22y 311d||34||15|
|34||Macmillan, Jamie||11||3||12||23||0||1||0||0||1||1||25y 203d||108||42|
|11||McDonald, Luke||9||2||8||17||0||0||0||6||1||0||22y 64d||56||4|
|17||Mullett, Aaron||10||4||14||24||0||0||0||0||0||0||25y 50d||70||26|
|31||Preuss, Braydon||5||4||6||11||0||1||17||2||1||3||21y 302d||4||3|
|21||Simpkin, Jy||7||4||6||13||2||0||0||3||1||0||19y 40d||3||3|
|9||Swallow, Andrew||9||1||9||18||0||0||0||11||2||1||29y 316d||212||77|
|25||Tarrant, Robbie||8||5||6||14||0||0||0||10||2||3||27y 354d||88||42|
|12||Thomas, Lindsay||9||4||7||16||0||3||0||4||1||2||29y 44d||200||322|
|16||Thompson, Scott||5||4||6||11||0||0||0||5||1||2||30y 340d||182||6|
|28||Turner, Kayne||5||4||5||10||2||0||0||3||1||0||21y 104d||25||23|
|2||Williams, Marley||5||1||10||15||0||0||0||3||1||1||23y 266d||72||7|
|7||Ziebell, Jack||17||5||10||27||1||0||0||1||0||0||26y 45d||151||93|
|Western Bulldogs||Match Stats||Career|
|25||Adams, Marcus||9||7||8||17||0||0||0||5||1||0||23y 288d||14||0|
|4||Bontempelli, Marcus||15||3||10||25||1||1||0||6||2||0||21y 141d||67||64|
|5||Boyd, Matthew||11||9||7||18||0||0||0||0||0||1||34y 230d||286||85|
|17||Boyd, Tom||1||1||0||1||0||0||2||1||0||1||21y 235d||42||39|
|15||Campbell, Tom||3||0||5||8||0||0||37||6||1||3||25y 163d||38||21|
|13||Cloke, Travis||9||4||2||11||1||2||0||2||4||1||30y 40d||250||446|
|12||Cordy, Zaine||5||1||3||8||0||0||0||3||0||0||20y 169d||15||8|
|6||Dahlhaus, Luke||8||4||24||32||2||0||0||6||0||3||24y 236d||119||97|
|20||Dunkley, Josh||7||6||5||12||1||2||0||3||1||0||20y 95d||18||10|
|7||Hunter, Lachie||13||3||6||19||0||1||0||2||0||0||22y 122d||66||33|
|39||Johannisen, Jason||9||5||10||19||0||0||0||4||1||0||24y 157d||68||21|
|46||Jong, Lin||6||1||18||24||0||1||0||1||1||0||23y 314d||43||26|
|21||Liberatore, Tom||4||2||10||14||1||0||0||9||1||2||24y 333d||102||34|
|11||Macrae, Jack||10||5||13||23||1||0||0||7||0||1||22y 254d||81||20|
|16||McLean, Toby||10||3||17||27||0||0||0||0||1||0||21y 73d||22||18|
|2||Murphy, Bob||14||4||10||24||1||0||0||0||0||1||34y 309d||299||177|
|42||Picken, Liam||13||6||12||25||0||1||0||4||2||0||30y 256d||180||67|
|18||Roberts, Fletcher||5||4||3||8||0||0||0||1||0||1||23y 315d||41||0|
|14||Smith, Clay||3||2||5||8||0||0||0||15||0||0||23y 338d||48||35|
|9||Stringer, Jake||12||4||7||19||2||3||0||2||1||2||22y 354d||77||143|
|1||Suckling, Matt||17||6||9||26||2||2||0||3||0||4||28y 263d||123||61|
|10||Wood, Easton||4||3||5||9||0||0||0||1||0||1||27y 222d||111||15|