A last-minute goal from rookie Tory Dickson has gifted the Western Bulldogs a thrilling four-point win over a hapless Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Dickson’s opportunistic goal stole the lead away from the Blues after they had led for the majority of the last term.
The final quarter became a hard scrap after both sides, fielding a host of young and inexperienced players, were overcome by fatigue.
Only seven goals were kicked in the second half and just two in the fourth quarter as tiredness became evident.
The match was marred by serious injuries to key defenders from both sides.
Injury-prone Bulldog Tom Williams dislocated his shoulder going for a diving mark in the first quarter and was stretchered off, while Blue Jeremy Laidler also had to be escorted from the ground before the quarter was up, having dislocated his kneecap in a sickening collision with Bulldogs big man Will Minson.
Brian Lake showed glimpses of a return to his All-Australian form of two seasons ago with some solid drifting marks down back in the opening quarter, racking up seven touches and three marks before he was subbed off at half time.
Eddie Betts was at his livewire best and had three goals before the opening break. Betts’ vision and footballing nous to read the ball off the pack had his Blues running hot, yet it was the Bulldogs who took a seven point lead into quarter time.
Play continued in a similar fashion throughout the second quarter with both sides kicking three goals each.
The Bulldogs were employing a style of short kicking around the boundary line under new coach Brendan McCartney, while Carlton used a more direct “corridor” route to goal, and it made for interesting viewing.
Will Minson was up and about in the third term and spurred on his side with a brilliant overhead mark to kick his fourth goal, but the man of the moment Betts hit back minutes later with his fifth to put the Blues within a kick.
The Bulldogs cautiously subbed off Brownlow Medallist Adam Cooney before three quarter time to get some fresh legs into the midfield, but goals weren’t eventuating.
Exciting Blues youngster Frazer Dale went on a sublime run and got the crowd excited to put Carlton in front, and the Blues held onto that lead right up until the final minute where it was snatched from their grasp.
Carlton continue its winless pre-season while the Dogs keep their hopes of a NAB Cup grand final berth alive.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.5.2 0.8.3 0.10.5 0.11.8 (74)
CARLTON 0.4.1 0.7.1 0.10.3 0.11.4 (70)
Western Bulldogs: Minson 4, Dahlhaus 2, Higgins, Giansiracusa, Grant, Cooney, Dickson
Carlton: Betts 5, Garlett, Simpson, Kreuzer, Yarran, Hampson, Dale
Western Bulldogs: Minson, Dahlhaus, Hargrave, Griffen, Boyd, Picken
Carlton: Simpson, Betts, Kreuzer, McLean, Henderson
Western Bulldogs: Williams (shoulder)
Carlton: Laidler (dislocated kneecap)
Umpires: McLaren, Ryan, Keating