The Western Bulldogs have registered a comprehensive 52-point victory for the Footscray Bulldogs against the Geelong Cats, marking their seventh consecutive win of the season.
Holding the home side goalless until the final minute of the second term, Footscray ran away 15. 15. (105) to Geelong 7. 11. (53), consolidating their spot on the top of the VFL ladder.
The Bulldogs controlled the play across four quarters but Geelong insisted on matching their hard, contested style of play.
Scoreboard momentum swayed momentarily in the third term when the Cats kicked two early goals while holding the Bulldogs goalless but they rallied late to win the final term.
Regaining ascendency in the fourth quarter, Footscray produced five goals while restricting Geelong’s chances in attack with their sturdy defence.
Clay Smith produced a dominant performance in his first game back from injury, highlighted by 20 possessions, seven inside 50s and two first half goals.
Forward Liam Jones also contributed to the scoreboard with three goals, while Tom Campbell and Ayce Cordy continued to look opposing working in tandem through the ruck and forward line.
Providing an experienced head at the centre bounce, Brett Goodes was named best on ground with a team-high 26 touches, five tackles and a goal.
VFL-listed players Will Hayes (19 touches, seven tackles) and Michael Fogarty (14 possessions, 10 tackles) also impressed the Footscray coach.
Development Manager Chris Maple said it was the cohesion among the side and selflessness that rewarded the Bulldogs the four points, as well as their unwavering defensive pressure.
“It’s becoming a happy hunting ground isn’t it? The boys played really well,” Maple said.
“The players followed the team plan, were thinking team thoughts rather than individual and really focusing on how we want the ground to look all the time.
“It was a real team effort and that is the message we’ve been selling and that is what we want to continue – everyone is contributing and that is what we want.”
Addressing the third quarter fadeout, Maple said the Bulldogs strayed slightly from their structures and setups and couldn't hold off the determined Geelong Cats.
“In the third quarter we probably lost our way a little bit, they really had a crack and we didn’t quite get the ground set up how we wanted to every time – they probably just shaded us a little on the inside,” he said.
“A lot of [the first half goals were] scored off the back of good defence.
“[Creating turnovers and setting up from defence] was a bit of a focus for us for the day and the young fellas went about their task really well.”
FOOTSCRAY BULLDOGS 15. 15. (105) DEFEAT GEELONG CATS 7. 11. (53)
Goals: L Jones 3, C Smith 2, C Elliott 2, B Goodes, A Greenwood, T Campbell, J Johannisen, J Tutt, L Jong, A Cordy, J Grant
Best Players: B Goodes, S Darley, T Campbell, W Hayes, M Talia, C Smith