Sometimes, you just have to win ugly.

Staring down the barrel at 0-3, you would be forgiven for thinking a late Sydney charge could spell trouble for the red, white and blue.

But that isn’t the Bulldog way.

The 11-point victory under the roof at Marvel was built of team defence and winning moments.


48 seconds remaining, ball up on centre wing, Bulldogs by 5.

Tom Liberatore finds the crucial clearance and launches inside 50.

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan creates a contest and brings the ball to ground.

Laitham Vandermeer collects, over the top to Bontempelli, goal.

Game over.


It’s the passage of play that sealed the win, but this game was much more than that.

The engine room played hard, tough footy to win the contested ball. Typified by the 31-disposal, 11 tackle game of Josh Dunkley.

Lachie Hunter found form with 28 touches, while Bailey Smith brought plenty in his return from a hip injury.

Tim English had another breakout fixture. 24 touches, 28 hit-outs and eight clearances. A game of dominance and one to build from for the 24-year-old.

But the unsung heroes of this Bulldogs line-up played their part.

Ryan Gardner’s job on Buddy Franklin was superb. The key defender scrapped for every contest and never gave the superstar an inch.


Alex Keath the goal kicker? A 30m set shot with the game on the line and the much-loved teammate never looked like missing. Career-goal number three.

Laith Vandermeer and Cody Weightman applied ample pressure in the forward 50 with the latter reaping the rewards of three goals.

It won’t go down as the prettiest win in Bulldogs history, but it may well go down as one of the more important.

It kickstarts a campaign full of excitement with the group determined to make the most of every moment this season.

Bring on the Tigers at the MCG.