A determined performance on the road has seen the Western Bulldogs claim a 28-point victory against the Sydney Swans.
Skipper Marcus Bontempelli owned the big moments in a best on ground performance at the SCG on Thursday night, as an injury-depleted Bulldogs outfit made it back-to-back wins.
An ankle complaint saw Aaron Naughton’s night finished in the first quarter, while fellow forward Sam Lloyd (shoulder) played little part after half time.
But the Bulldogs matched their four-quarter effort from a week prior against the Giants, despite four goals to star Swan Tom Papley, to run out 10.7 (67) to 5.9 (39) victors.
Both sides wore black armbands and observed a minute's silence pre-game to honour Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend John Kennedy snr, the grandfather of Swans co-captain Josh Kennedy, who played his 250th AFL match.
The result gives the Bulldogs a 2-2 ledger, after starting 2020 with two losses.
It was all Bulldogs in the opening half.
The Swans went goalless in the opening term and could only manage one by half-time due to the Bulldogs’ fierce pressure, as majors to Bailey Dale, Naughton, Lloyd, Laitham Vandermeer and a pair to Bontempelli gave the visitors a five-goal lead at the major break.
There was a response from the home side in the third term, but they couldn’t capitalise on the scoreboard.
Bontempelli had 12 disposals to go with the two majors at half-time, but a Callum Mills tag negated his impact in the third term.
The Swans could only manage 1.5 for the term though, after Josh Bruce snagged the first goal after half-time.
From there, the Bulldogs found a response when the Swans pushed again in the final term.
Goals to the returning Rhylee West, and an opportunistic Jack Macrae toe-poke gave the Bulldogs some breathing space.
MATCH CENTRE | For the full match recap, news, highlights, player stats and more from the Bulldogs' win in Sydney.
Ruckman Tim English capped off another strong performance with the final goal of the game, finishing with an equal team-high 22 disposals to go with 17 hit-outs and six marks.
Ball magnet Jack Macrae (22 disposals) was also prominent, while young midfielders Bailey Smith (20 disposals, five clearances) and Pat Lipinski (20 disposals) found plenty of the ball and debutant Louis Butler (14 disposals) looked at home.
After three games in the past 12 days, the Bulldogs will now have a longer break ahead of a round five clash with North Melbourne next Saturday night.
SYDNEY 0.1 1.3 2.8 5.9 (39)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.2 6.3 7.4 10.7 (67)
Sydney: Papley 4, Kennedy
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli 2, Dale, Naughton, Lloyd, Vandermeer, Bruce, West, Macrae, English
Sydney: Papley, Parker, Heeney, Kennedy, Lloyd
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Smith, Macrae, English, Daniel, Crozier
Western Bulldogs: Naughton (ankle), Lloyd (shoulder)