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Lights out for Dogs in Bendigo

THE WESTERN Bulldogs won tonight's NAB Challenge match for the Tynan-Eyre Cup against Melbourne in a game that ended in unusual circumstances at Bendigo's Queen Elizabeth Oval.

 

At the 13-minute mark of the final term, with the Bulldogs having kicked away to a comfortable 14.9 (93) to 9.9 (63) advantage, the power at the stadium went off, plunging the ground into darkness.

With the lights out, the game - which was played in front of a crowd of about 7000 - was called off with 12 minutes still remaining.

The Bulldogs were surging into their forward line when the blackout occurred and halted play.

"It was quite strange (the way the game ended), but luckily, the ball was going out of play and no one was seriously hurt," Melbourne ruckman Jeff White said.

The Demons lost their third game from as many outings this pre-season, while their night was further soured by the report of star forward Russell Robertson.

Robertson, who kicked two goals, was booked early in the final term for charging Bulldogs rookie James Mulligan.

After some inaccuracy from both sides early, the Demons used the breeze to kick the first five goals of the game and race to a 31-point lead in the first term.

Matthew Bate and the mercurial Aaron Davey were in everything early for the Demons.

The Bulldogs then kicked the last two goals of the final term through best-on-ground Jason Akermanis and Nathan Eagleton to cut the margin to 19 points at quarter-time.

The Dogs then dominated the rest of the game.

After Melbourne's Nathan Jones kicked the first goal of the second quarter three minutes in, the Bulldogs ended the term by piling on 6.1 to just 0.2 as their hard-working midfielders in Akermanis, Shaun Higgins, Eagleton and Adam Cooney took control.

The Bulldogs led by 10 points at half time and were rarely troubled after the main break.

Akermanis played a mix of half-forward and on-ball and his sublime skills in the windy conditions, coupled with his two goals, made him a standout.

Among the others to impress for the Bulldogs was 19-year-old Josh Hill, who has played just one AFL game.

Higgins' work out of the centre square was first-rate, captain Brad Johnson worked his way into the game in the second half, while ruckman Peter Street battled valiantly against the three-pronged Demon big man brigade of White, Paul Johnson and Mark Jamar.

Western Bulldogs 2.3 8.4 11.7 14.9 (93)
Melbourne 5.4 6.6 9.9 9.9 (63)

GOALS
Western Bulldogs:
Murphy 2, Akermanis 2, Eagleton, Minson, O'Keefe, Ward, Hahn, Johnson, Boyd, Mulligan, Griffen, Welsh
Melbourne: Davey 2, Robertson 2, Neitz 2, Bate 2, Jones

BEST
Western Bulldogs:
Akermanis, Eagleton, Higgins, Hill, Cooney, Johnson
Melbourne: Davey, Jones, Bate, Yze, Buckley, Sylvia.

Reports: R Robertson (Melbourne) for charging J Mulligan (Western Bulldogs)

Umpires: M Head C Kamolins J Mollison.

Crowd: 7000 (approx) at Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo.