|Brownlow Medal||3 Marcus Bontempelli (WBULL)||2 Daniel Rich (BRIS)||1 Jack Macrae (WBULL)|
It may not have been convincing, but the Western Bulldogs' victory over the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Saturday night was enough to propel last year's premiers back into the top eight, returning their fate into their own hands. The Dogs started and finished the match strongly, outscoring Brisbane six goals to two in both the first and last quarters, but looked decidedly shaky in the middle two terms, plagued by inaccuracy in front of goal and outplayed by a young Lions outfit playing its best football in some weeks. In the end the Bulldogs prevailed by 14 points, enough to lift them from ninth to seventh and keep their slim hopes of winning back to back flags alive.
The match kicked off with what would become a familiar scene at the start of later quarters, with a quick Bulldogs clearance landing in the arms of Marcus Bontempelli, whose subsequent shot at goal was wide, in this instance so wide as to be out on the full. The Dogs had another shot through Toby McLean but he also missed, kicking a behind, and the Lions made them pay with Lewis Taylor kicking the first goal of the match at the four-minute mark.
Liam Picken finally put the Bulldogs' first major with a nice roving goal soon after, but the Dogs were to add another three behinds before getting a second goal, again through Picken. A goal from outside 50 by Daniel Rich had Brisbane back within three points, but the Bulldogs took control from there, and majors to Luke Dahlhaus, Travis Cloke, Jack Repdath and Lachie Hunter had them comfortably ahead, leading 6.6 to 2.2 at the quarter-time break.
The Bulldogs had a chance to build on their lead early in the second term but could manage only two behinds, from there, the Lions began to work their way back into the match, kicking three of the next four goals - two of those to Dayne Zorko, cutting the deficit to 18 points. Dahlhaus extended the margin back out to 24 with his second goal, but Brisbane dominated the remainder of the term, and goals to Tom Rockliff and Jake Barrett had the Lions back within just 11 points at the half.
The third term began as the third had, with the Bulldogs getting a quick centre clearance ending in a mark to Bontempelli. As he had in the first term, Bontempelli missed to the left, at least scoring a point this time around. The Lions then kicked two behinds of their own before Rockliff marked and kicked his second to bring the Lions to within four points. Brisbane kept coming, a goal to Lewis Taylor putting the Lions in front and a follow-up from Rhys Mathieson extending the lead to eight points. The Bulldogs kept going forward, but couldn't buy a goal, adding four behinds while Rich kicked another booming goal for Brisbane and the Lions turned for home with an 11-point lead.
Once again, the Bulldogs began the final term with a clearance that ended in Bontempelli's hands. Once again, this time hitting the post. This time, though, 'Bonti' made up for it, snapping truly a minute later. The Dogs added further behinds, Redpath and Bontempelli missing again, but a mark and goal to Clay Smith had the Bulldogs back in front by three points at the 11-minute mark. Two minutes later, Redpath also marked and goaled and the Bulldogs were ahead by nine and looking winners.
But Brisbane came again, with two majors in a row to Ryan Bastinac restoring a Lions lead heading into time on, but in the last 10 minutes, the Bulldogs settled, their seasoned players taking control, with a goal from Toby McLean followed by another from Bontempelli, and a third to Picken courtesy of a handball after a strong mark from Jack Macrae. When the siren sounded, the Dogs had sneaked home by 14 points and were back in the top eight.
Despite his poor kicking for goal, Bontempelli (23 possessions, seven marks) was a key to the Dogs' win, as was Macrae (11 marks, 32 disposals), while Brisbane was well served by Zorko (21 touches, two goals), Josh Walker (15 touches, six marks) and Rich (24 possessions, seven marks).
With the Bulldogs back in the eight, they now control their own destiny, with matches against GWS, Port Adelaide and Hawthorn to come. Wins in two of those three matches will probably see the Dogs make it to September; wins in all three will guarantee finals action. For the bottom-placed Brisbane, the season will come to a close with matches against Gold Coast, Melbourne and North Melbourne, the last of those shaping as a 'battle for the wooden spoon'.
Brisbane: Zorko, Rockliff, Taylor, Rich, Bastinac 2; Berry, Barrett, Mathieson
Western Bulldogs: Redpath, Picken 3; Dahlhaus, Bontempelli 2; Cloke, Hunter, Smith, McLean
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Brisbane: Walker, Rich, Rockliff, Taylor, Berry, Beams
Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Bontempelli, McLean, Redpath, Liberatore, Biggs
BEST - THE AGE
Brisbane: Rich, Rockliff, Walker, Taylor, Zorko, Beams
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Macrae, McLean, Hunter, Redpath, Biggs
Brisbane: Cox (ankle), Witherden (hamstring)
Western Bulldogs: Johannisen (back, replaced in side by Murphy), Wood (hamstring)
UMPIRES: Harris, Jeffery, Wallace
|37||Allison, Jacob||14||7||3||17||0||0||0||2||2||1||19y 111d||2||0|
|31||Andrews, Harris||8||5||6||14||0||0||0||0||1||0||20y 237d||55||8|
|43||Barrett, Jake||1||0||10||11||1||0||0||5||0||0||21y 270d||15||11|
|4||Bastinac, Ryan||12||6||6||18||2||1||0||1||1||0||26y 44d||156||89|
|9||Beams, Dayne||9||5||13||22||0||0||0||3||0||0||27y 174d||144||141|
|13||Berry, Jarrod||8||6||10||18||1||0||0||6||2||1||19y 181d||16||7|
|20||Cox, Cedric||2||2||0||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||19y 351d||6||1|
|27||Gardiner, Darcy||4||5||7||11||0||0||0||2||1||0||21y 317d||59||3|
|30||Hipwood, Eric||11||3||6||17||0||0||0||2||1||1||19y 326d||28||39|
|35||Lester, Ryan||9||9||7||16||0||0||0||4||0||0||24y 344d||99||43|
|12||Martin, Stefan||5||3||8||13||0||0||43||2||2||1||30y 261d||133||39|
|36||Mathieson, Rhys||8||4||5||13||1||0||0||2||1||0||20y 207d||21||14|
|6||McCluggage, Hugh||6||4||7||13||0||2||0||1||0||0||19y 155d||15||6|
|25||McStay, Daniel||5||6||5||10||0||1||0||3||0||1||22y 42d||57||31|
|10||Rich, Daniel||19||7||5||24||2||1||0||0||0||0||27y 59d||162||100|
|18||Robertson, Nick||8||2||4||12||0||0||0||2||0||0||22y 63d||44||7|
|38||Rockliff, Tom||12||4||10||22||2||0||0||4||0||1||27y 164d||151||80|
|23||Schache, Josh||5||4||1||6||0||1||0||3||0||0||19y 349d||27||25|
|28||Taylor, Lewis||12||2||6||18||2||0||0||0||1||1||22y 169d||82||62|
|14||Walker, Josh||8||6||7||15||0||1||2||3||1||0||24y 266d||57||64|
|29||Witherden, Alex||15||3||4||19||0||0||0||2||3||1||18y 329d||7||1|
|15||Zorko, Dayne||13||3||8||21||2||4||0||4||1||1||28y 177d||119||131|
|Western Bulldogs||Match Stats||Career|
|24||Biggs, Shane||17||5||6||23||0||0||0||4||0||0||26y 0d||55||7|
|4||Bontempelli, Marcus||17||7||6||23||2||4||0||5||2||0||21y 254d||82||78|
|13||Cloke, Travis||11||7||6||17||1||1||8||2||0||0||30y 153d||254||449|
|12||Cordy, Zaine||7||1||4||11||0||0||0||0||0||0||20y 282d||27||8|
|6||Dahlhaus, Luke||11||2||8||19||2||0||0||2||0||1||24y 349d||134||106|
|31||Dale, Bailey||13||4||5||18||0||0||0||1||0||2||21y 14d||27||19|
|35||Daniel, Caleb||9||2||13||22||0||0||0||6||1||0||21y 29d||51||22|
|7||Hunter, Lachie||16||7||13||29||1||0||0||2||1||0||22y 235d||81||40|
|21||Liberatore, Tom||4||3||15||19||0||1||0||3||1||0||25y 81d||113||37|
|11||Macrae, Jack||17||11||15||32||0||1||0||4||1||2||23y 2d||96||21|
|16||McLean, Toby||13||6||15||28||1||1||0||2||0||0||21y 186d||35||28|
|2||Murphy, Bob||11||6||6||17||0||0||0||3||0||0||35y 57d||309||181|
|42||Picken, Liam||6||2||11||17||3||0||0||1||0||1||31y 4d||195||84|
|43||Redpath, Jack||11||9||1||12||3||4||0||0||0||1||26y 235d||33||55|
|23||Roughead, Jordan||7||1||5||12||0||0||23||1||1||2||26y 275d||123||28|
|14||Smith, Clay||8||5||3||11||1||1||0||2||0||2||24y 86d||55||43|
|1||Suckling, Matt||12||4||6||18||0||1||0||1||0||1||29y 11d||138||66|
|3||Wallis, Mitch||9||7||10||19||0||1||0||4||0||2||24y 285d||104||48|
|19||Webb, Lukas||3||1||3||6||0||0||0||3||1||1||21y 154d||19||6|
|34||Williams, Bailey||12||5||8||20||0||1||0||2||0||0||19y 299d||15||0|
|10||Wood, Easton||1||0||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||27y 335d||125||18|
|33||Young, Lewis||10||4||6||16||0||0||0||4||1||2||18y 228d||4||0|