The Western Bulldogs have gotten their 2020 season back on track winning a spiteful contest against GWS at Marvel Stadium.
The Dogs held the Giants to one goal for two and a half quarters in a low scoring affair, ending in a 57-33 win.
It was a performance reminiscent of the Bulldogs at their best with fast handballing and sharp kicking picking apart GWS.
The Giants were without Josh Kelly (late withdrawal) and Lachie Whitfield (concussion) for much of the game, but their inability to move the ball through the Bulldogs zone was a key reason for their struggles.
Here’s everything you need to know!
The Talking Point: Naughton in MRO hot water?
Western Bulldogs forward Aaron Naughton may face MRO scrutiny after making high contact on GWS star Lachie Whitfield.
Naughton clipped the midfielder high while attacking the ball, with Whitfield getting assessed in the rooms and starting the second quarter down the race.
Whitfield was ruled out of the game with a concussion during the second quarter.
Watch the incident below.
— Brayden Cocks (@brayden_cocks) June 19, 2020
The Moment: Spotfires!
The rivalry between these two teams isn’t just talk – these sides genuinely dislike each other.
It started before the game with the Giants playing mind games, sending Nick Haynes into the coin toss with Marcus Bontempelli after the Bulldogs captain fractured the Giants defender’s larynx late last year.
GWS midfielders bumped and crashed into Bontempelli all night, but the superstar had the last laugh, kicking the match-sealing goal off the ground in the fourth term.
The brawls were so frequent, Aaron Naughton went through all three of his guernseys and was forced to don number 40 in the final term because of it.
As @AndyMaherDFA would say, there’s spotfires all over the place!
— SEN 1116 (@1116sen) June 19, 2020
Returning Dogs fire
The Bulldogs immediately looked a better team with Tom Liberatore, Toby McLean and Zaine Cordy in the side.
McLean and Cordy had been overlooked in favour of Ryan Gardner and Billy Gowers in the first two rounds, but Luke Beveridge moved back to his proven performers and they got the job done.
Cordy was reliable as ever down back, while McLean provided pressure and spark across the forward 50.
Liberatore was a welcome return from injury, with his trademark grunt coupled with a brilliant display of kicking in the first half, opening up the game with some beautiful ball use.
Bulldogs: 2.5, 4.6, 7.8, 8.9. (57)
GWS: 1.2, 1.4, 3.5, 4.9. (33)
Bulldogs: Liberatore, Bontempelli, Macrae, Smith, Daniel, Johannisen, Cordy
GWS: Coniglio, Perryman, Ward, Shaw, Davis
Injuries: Whitfield (concussion)