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Match Report: Dees win dogfight

with Nick Bowen (AFL Media)  June 18, 2017 6:09 PM

Bont brings crowd to its feet (Rd13) Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli slots a classy goal during the second term

Melbourne has mauled the Western Bulldogs by 57 points on Sunday in a dominant performance under the roof at Etihad Stadium.

The Demons hit the Bulldogs between the eyes from the opening bounce with fanatical defensive pressure, speed and slick ball movement on the outside.

After holding the Dogs to a solitary behind in the opening quarter, the Demons built an unassailable 50-point lead by three-quarter time before cruising to a 17.11 (113) to 8.8 (56) victory.

Full match coverage and stats

Michael Hibberd (27 possessions and 11 marks) was outstanding for the Demons across half-back, while Clayton Oliver (29 disposals, five clearances and eight tackles) and Jordan Lewis (31 possessions) applied a one-two midfield punch powered by youthful enthusiasm and crafty experience. 

Jack Watts (three goals) followed up his Queen's Birthday heroics with another strong performance, Oscar McDonald (23 disposals, 12 marks and nine one-percenters) and Sam Frost (eight rebound 50s) were impassable in defence and Tom McDonald and Cameron Pedersen capably manned Melbourne's ruck division.

Melbourne's win was its seventh for the season and saw it leapfrog West Coast and Richmond for fifth spot on the ladder.

The Bulldogs, however, remain outside the eight in ninth, with Sunday's loss their fourth from their past five games. 

The Dogs looked in good shape when they sat fifth after round five with a 4-1 record, but they have won just two games since, against Richmond and St Kilda, and now face a challenge just to make the finals.

 

Tom Liberatore (29 disposals and one goal), Caleb Daniel (28 and one)  and Marcus Bontempelli (24) were among the few Dogs who could walk off Etihad Stadium with their heads held high.  

The Dogs also drew first blood with Mitch Honeychurch kicking the game's opening score – a behind – inside the first minute. 

But Melbourne soon silenced the Bulldogs' bark and then started to apply its own bite with a manic defensive intent that was typified by a series of desperate smothers.

Dom Tyson kicked the game's opening goal at the seven-minute mark, but it took the Demons until late in the term to translate their control of general play on to the scoreboard.

For Melbourne fans, though, the wait was worth it as their team piled on three goals from the 21-minute mark, with Bugg having a hand in the final two, first finding Jeff Garlett close to goal with a well-weighted lob pass and then pinging Matt Suckling in a strong tackle that led to a Watts major.

At the end of the term, the Demons led by 25 points, having held the Dogs scoreless since Honeychurch's first-minute behind – this despite the fact Luke Beveridge's men led the inside 50 count for the quarter 15-11. 

The Bulldogs did not kick their first goal until the 19-minute mark of the second term, when Daniel finally opened their account with a nice conversion in general play from 40m.

However, Melbourne, who had kicked the term's opening goal through James Harmes, stretched its lead to 40 points, when Mitch Hannan goaled at the 24-minute mark and Bugg added another seconds later.

Consecutive goals by Luke Dahlhaus and Bontempelli late in the quarter helped cut the Dees' lead to 27 points, but a nerveless after-the-siren conversion from Watts sent Melbourne into the main break with a comfortable 33-point buffer.

 

NEXT UP
Both teams face six-day breaks before playing next Saturday night, the Bulldogs taking on North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium and Melbourne travelling to Domain Stadium to play West Coast. The Demons have not won at the Perth venue since 2004; their losing streak (including defeats by Fremantle) stands at 17 games.

More to come

WESTERN BULLDOGS   0.1   3.3    6.5      8.8     (56)
MELBOURNE                   4.2   8.6   14.7   17.11   (113)
 

GOALS
Western Bulldogs: Roughead, Bontempelli, Dickson, T.Boyd, Dahlhaus, Daniel, Picken, Liberatore
Melbourne: Watts 3, Bugg 2, Garlett 2, Hannan 2, T.McDonald 2, Melksham, Petracca, Tyson, Salem, Harmes, Neal-Bullen 

BEST 
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Hunter, Wallis, Liberatore, Daniel
Melbourne: Hibberd, Oliver, Watts, T.McDonald, O.McDonald, Petracca, Garlett 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Foot, Rosebury, Hosking, Findlay

Official crowd: 33,667 at Etihad Stadium