AFL 2021 LIVE updates: Bulldogs, Brisbane battle it out in chilly Ballarat

Key posts

  • Magic Macrae lighting it up
  • Clearances crucial
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Today’s milestones

Brad Sheppard (WC) – 200 games
Zac Bailey (BL) – 50 games

What a big three weeks it’s been for Bailey – in round two he should have kicked the winning goal against Geelong but was denied a blatant holding-the-ball free kick at the death deep in attack, in round three he kicked a goal after the siren to hand his side a thrilling one-point win over Collingwood and today he celebrates his 50th game.

Zac Bailey.Credit:Getty

Recent history favours Lions

The Bulldogs are aiming for their first 4-0 start to a season since 2008, but the Lions have had the wood over them in recent times, winning the last two meetings by an average of 21 points.

In fact, Brisbane are trying to beat the Dogs three times in a row for the first time in 17 years.

It’s a really important game for the Lions who have been stuck on the road for three games now as a result of the COVID outbreak in Brisbane.

If they lose this, they slip to 1-3 and while they’re probably good enough to fight back from that and make the finals, they will certainly have to dig themselves out of a bit of a hole to do so.

Bailey Smith and Jarrod BerryCredit:Getty Images

Chilly blockbuster

It’s fair to say this is the biggest footy match the rural Victorian town of Ballarat has ever hosted.

It doesn’t get much bigger than two sides with premiership ambitions going toe-to-toe – and they had better bring some long-sleeve jumpers, because it is going to be very chilly, with a top temperature of just 14 expected.

There is also an 80 per cent chance of showers, most likely late in the afternoon.

Hugh McCluggageCredit:Getty Images

Last time they met: Dogs fall to third-straight loss against Lions

BEST
Western Bulldogs:
Macrae, Wood, Liberatore, Daniel
Brisbane Lions: Neale, Zorko, McInerney, Hipwood, Andrews, J.Lyons

Luke Beveridge made it clear what he wanted from his limping Western Bulldogs heading into Saturday night’s clash against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.

“We do believe we can be an influential team and an improving team quickly but it matters not if your performance doesn’t back up that language,” he said.

Well, that performance, while strong in patches, didn’t deliver what the Bulldogs really needed, as they fell to 5-6 after a 24-point loss despite 40 possessions, 15 contested, from ball magnet, Jack Macrae. A third-straight defeat has left their finals hopes in the balance.

Click here to read the full report.

Ball magnet: Jack Macrae kicks a goal. Credit:Getty Images

Magic Macrae lighting it up

Jack Macrae has started season 2021 in scintillating form and has been emblematic of the Bulldogs’ red-hot form. The star midfielder is leading the competition in disposals with 109 at a whopping average of 36.3, and he’s also 12th for clearances with 19 at 6.3.

Clearances crucial

Western Bulldogs have won the clearance count by seven per game this season – ranked No.1. Brisbane has lost the clearance count by five per game – ranked 16th overall. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents by 27 points per game from clearances – ranked No.1. The Lions rank mid-table in that measure (+1.4).

Greetings, everybody!

Hello and welcome to today’s massive AFL Saturday live blog.

Kicking things off is a heavyweight blockbuster between the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions in Ballarat, of all places.

The twilight clash sees the struggling Saints host West Coast at Marvel Stadium and two of Victoria’s biggest clubs feature in the night-time double-header.

Carlton travel to Metricon Stadium to take on Gold Coast while Collingwood face an injury-ravaged GWS at the MCG.

You can leave a comment any time on the blog and keep an eye out for our games from the archives for today’s matches as we dip into the rich past of our AFL coverage.

Enjoy the Saturday to come.

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