1. Tables turned in the third
Despite being undefeated across the first six weeks of the season, third quarters have been an area of concern for the Western Bulldogs.
They’ve won just two out of seven in 2021.
It was all Richmond immediately after the half-time break on Friday night.
The reigning champs got on top around the ball and were able to control play in their front half, as the Bulldogs struggled to stay afloat.
They kicked five goals to one in the third term, turning a 19-point deficit into a six-point advantage at the final change.
2. Bailey a big improver
Last year’s most improved Bulldog was a Bailey – and this year things don’t look too different.
Bailey Smith has taken the headlines in recent years, but Bailey Williams became an integral part of the Bulldogs’ line-up in 2020 and Bailey Dale has done the same in 2021.
The 24-year-old has made the transition from forward to defender look easy and is playing the best footy of his career.
He was again among the Bulldogs’ best on Friday, generating 636 metres gained from his 27 disposals.
3. Dogs’ depth tested
Both teams were missing some key players on Friday night – with the Tigers able to adjust better than the Bulldogs.
In particular, the absences of Josh Dunkley and Tim English were noticeable for the Bulldogs.
The Tigers matched the Bulldogs at centre clearances – and won the contested possession count.
They also controlled the air. The Tigers had 130 marks to the Bulldogs’ 98 – which included 16 marks inside their forward 50 and 16 contested marks to the Bulldogs’ 11.
English leads the Bulldogs for contested marks per game – 2.5 – while Dunkley ranks second at the club for contested possessions per game (12.3), behind Tom Liberatore.