Bulldogs smash sorry Magpies, spark their season
It’s taken until round nine but the Western Bulldogs may finally have found their form from last year.
A week after their night of carnage in Adelaide, the Dogs got to work early to inflict maximum damage on a flu-ridden Collingwood and raise hopes they can muster a meaningful challenge for the eight.
The Dogs set up their 48-point win with a brutal first term in which they slammed home the first six goals of the game as their vaunted but underperforming on-ball brigade obliterated the Magpies at the stoppages.
But the win may have come at a cost with star forward Aaron Naughton injuring his leg after getting it caught under an opponent attempting a soccer goal.
Moment to shine: Aaron Naughton flies for a mark.Credit:AFL Photos / Getty Images
Bailey Smith and Jack Macrae have been left to carry the can for their team but their comrades Tom Liberatore and Adam Treloar rolled up their sleeves as part of a rampant midfield unit.
The Dogs won the first six centre clearances of the game, bounding out to a 39-point lead before the Pies opened their account just minutes before quarter time.
Such was the influence they exerted, Marcus Bontempelli was able to spend longer periods supporting forward line that has lacked an aerial presence.
The final margin was befitting of the Dogs’ dominance in almost every facet of the game. They won the contested possession count by 40, and once the ball was in space the Pies struggled to win it back. And when they did they were under so much pressure and in such poor field position they had too much to do to give their forwards the chance to score.
The win will likely see the Dogs be in ninth spot by the end of the round with a gilt-edged opportunity to square the ledger next week against Gold Coast in Ballarat.
The honeymoon period is now over for first-season Collingwood coach Craig McRae, whose men have been dealt a reality check in the past week.
The Pies sorely missed the steadying presence of their ill skipper Scott Pendlebury, who likened his symptoms to being “hit by a truck”, and the enthusiasm of Jack Ginnivan.
Their defence caved under a relentless onslaught in the first three quarters while their forwards were on starvation rations.
Torn apart by Tom Lynch, Darcy Moore was beaten again by Naughton, who booted three goals, though the speed and ease at which the ball flew into the Dogs’ forward 50 did him no favours.
Highlighting their midfield woes, recruit Patrick Lipinski could not break into the Dogs’ midfield last year but in this Magpies side he has a key role.
Youngster Ollie Henry provided a rare bright spot for the Pies, giving their fans a glimpse into the future with his football smarts in the forward line. His errant kicking for goal was frustrating but he has the happy knack of finding space.
From Bruuuuce to Buuuu
Josh Bruce’s season-long absence has caused a headache for Luke Beveridge’s match committee this year and prevented Bulldogs fans from affectionately growling “Bruuuuce” whenever the key forward touches the ball. They may have found a replacement in Buku Khamis, who was greeted by a baritone cry of “Buuuu” when the Sherrin was kicked in his direction. Khamis kept them busy with three goals. If he holds his form, he can solve one of Beveridge’s key issues and give Dogs fans something to crow about.
An early goal for the Doggies.Credit:Channel Seven
Jack Madgen was left in agony after suffering what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder in friendly fire. The key backman had his arm in the wrong place as Moore stormed through to take an assertive mark in defence. As players scattered up the field, a hunched over Madgen needed the assistance of two trainers to leave the field – unable to move his right arm at all.
BEST: Collingwood: Howe, Crisp, Henry. Western Bulldogs: Treloar, Smith, Macrae, Liberatore, Dunkley, Naughton, Daniel, Dale.
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