The Western Bulldogs have started the season with five straight wins for the first time in 75 years after a 62-point demolition of the Gold Coast Suns on Saturday afternoon.
Gold Coast didn’t kick its first goal until the 32-minute mark of the second quarter as the Dogs’ prime movers did as they pleased in a game akin to a training run.
In his 150th game, it was a celebration of evergreen skipper Marcus Bontempelli in the first quarter. The 25-year-old set up the game for the Bulldogs with 11 touches, two goals and three score involvements.
It wasn’t all Bulldogs though, as the Suns reigned the competition’s pace setters in with a third quarter fightback that had nerves jangling for those in red, white and blue.
After Lukosius’ goal in the shadows of halftime, the Suns piled on six of the next seven goals to remarkably cut the margin to 34-points.
But just as they looked to give themselves a sniff heading into the final term, chief destroyer Bontempelli bobbed up to kick his third, a silky snap from 40-metres out to all but dash any hope of a Suns comeback.
Stuart Dew would take some consolation his side was able to almost break even in the second half, but the Dogs once again proved they’re the team to beat this season.
The only sour note for the Bulldogs was a shoulder injury to dashing defender Bailey Williams who was subbed out late in the third quarter for Ben Cavarra.
Bontempelli was at his best on Saturday.Source:News Corp Australia
After two years on the list and the arrival of Stefan Martin coupled with the organic progression of Tim English, Jordon Sweet must’ve been wondering if his debut would ever come.
But the 23-year-old gave the game’s most powerful engine room an armchair ride in his first AFL appearance, monstering the undersized Caleb Graham.
Should Martin or English go down this season, Sweet showed he’s capable of being the man.
Best this millennium
The midfield the Western Bulldogs have assembled might just be the best the game has seen this millennium.
The game-breaking West Coast and perfectly rounded Brisbane units of the mid 2000s might have something to say, but this Bulldogs nucleus has it all.
Only three of the Dogs’ 11 first half goals were kicked by forwards, while Bontempelli, Josh Dunkley, Adam Treloar and Lachie Hunter kicked seven between them.
Tom Liberatore and Bailey Smith won clearances with ease and added a hardened defensive edge, while first gamer Sweet worked in tandem with English in the absence of veteran ruck Martin.
And who could forget Brownlow chance Jack Macrae, who notched another 35 disposals and seven clearances.
Gold Coast has never been held goalless in a first half of footy, and only just managed to keep that record intact thanks to a Jack Lukosius goal with 20 seconds left on the clock in the second term.
It was a throwback to the dark days of being made to look like witches’ hats in 20 goal losses during the club’s infancy as the Dogs’ elite midfield had its way with Suns’ soft midfield.
The Suns had 56 fewer disposals, 15 fewer inside-50s and contested possessions, and 10 fewer clearances in a half of footy that could only be described as men against boys.
Josh Corbett has only played in one win in his 17 games of AFL, but that’s bound to change if he and Ben King continue to fire.
The 24-year-old kicked 3.2 and took eight marks in his first game this season, giving King some much needed respite.
If Gold Coast can get some players back and sort its midfield out, the duo will be a serious problem for opposition coaches in 2021.
BULLDOGS 4.1 11.4 13.9 17.16 118
SUNS 0.2 1.3 7.4 8.8 56
MOTTERSHEAD’S BEST Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Dunkley, Treloar, Macrae, Liberatore, Hunter. Suns: Corbett, Collins, Markov, Miller.
GOALS Bulldogs: Bontempelli 3, Dunkley 2, Treloar 2, Naughton 2, Bruce 2, English, McNeil, Hunter, Wood, Liberatore, Scott. Suns: Corbett 3, King 2, Lukosius, Rankine, Sexton.
INJURIES Bulldogs: Williams (shoulder). Suns: nil.
UMPIRES Foot, Power, Haussen.
Marvel Stadium 18,920
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
JAMES MOTTERSHEAD’S VOTES
3 Marcus Bontempelli (WB)
2 Josh Dunkley (WB)
1 Adam Treloar (WB)
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