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Match Report: Swans snatch Saturday thriller

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs tackles Will Hayward of the Swans during the round four AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium on April 14, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images/AFL Media)

The Western Bulldogs had their chances late but have gone down by eight points in thrilling encounter with the Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The damage was done midway through the second quarter when the Swans strung six-straight goals together, and despite a late charge from a gallant Bulldog outfit, an Oliver Florent goal with 20 seconds left on the clock sealed it for the visitors.

Jack Macrae (34 possessions, seven marks) and Matthew Suckling (28 disposals, 11 marks) were key movers, and Josh Dunkley (22 disposals, 11 marks), despite some missed opportunities, provided a target and was among the Dogs’ best.

Luke Beveridge’s men again brought their pressure game as they did against the Bombers last week, but this time paired it with slick ball movement into their forward half,  with five separate goal kickers setting up an eight point lead at the first change, before the Swans went on their run.

Sydney were simply more efficient with the football when it mattered, registering only  three less scoring shots despite 18 less inside 50s.

Bulldogs captain Easton Wood had the job on Lance Franklin and took the honors in the first half, holding him to two kicks, before the star Swan eventually worked his way into the game to finish with three goals.

Spicy all day, the game went up a notch again in the final term, when Caleb Daniel (12 disposals, five i50s in the last quarter) broke through and got the Dogs back within six.

It set up a frantic final ten minutes that had all the hallmarks of a classic Bulldogs, Swans encounter, with a Luke Dahlhaus goal getting the Dogs within a point with a minute remaining, until Florent slammed the door shut inside the final 20 seconds. 

Western Bulldogs             5.3. 7.7. 9.10       13.11 (79)
Sydney Swans                    4.0. 6.3. 10.4       13.8.  (86)

GOALS: Dickson 2, Bontempelli 2, Redpath, Gowers, Jong, Dale, Wallis, Daniel, Dahlhaus
BEST: Macrae, Suckling, Dunkley, McLean, Wood, Bontempelli 

Official crowd: 32,870 at Etihad Stadium