Greater Western Sydney: 2.4 5.5 8.6 9.8 (62)
Western Bulldogs : 0.5 8.9 12.12 15.14 (104)
The Bulldogs have gotten out of jail against a plucky Greater Western Sydney outfit on Saturday, coming back from a goal-less first quarter to record a 42-point victory.
The Giants were all over the Bulldogs in the first quarter, but after a huge 8-goal second quarter from the Dogs, the momentum swung heavily in their favour. GWS hung in there in the third, but capitulated in the fourth in what is an all too familiar story for young sides.
Ryan Griffen was outstanding with a clear best-on-ground performance. Griffen’s 37 disposals and a goal were instrumental in keeping things going the Bulldogs’ way after a tough opening quarter.
Chad Cornes was a late withdrawl for debutant Joshua Bruce, who immediately made an impact by kicking the first goal of the game. Taylor Adams followed shortly after as the Dogs faltered in front of the sticks and were kept to five behinds for the quarter.
This was the first time GWS had won an opening quarter in their inaugural season and the first time Israel Folau had showed any real flair around the ball. He made a couple of silly errors during the game and faded out after a second quarter head-clash, but at least showed for a brief period that he could match it at the top-level.
The Dogs looked like they lacked respect for their opponents, and this translated to little composure around the ball, with a lot of basic skill errors.
Whatever was said at quarter-time certainly worked as the Dogs burst out the gates in the second, with Ayce Cordy booting their first within 90 seconds of the quarter. Jarrad Grant missed a sitter to follow it up but the Dogs were dominating general play.
GWS didn’t give up easily though, with an exemplary smother by Adam Treloar in the defensive 50 to stop a Dogs goal a real highlight.
Shaun Higgins eventually got one through and the Dogs took the lead for the first time 10 minutes into the second quarter.
Will Minson tapped it down immediately after and Justin Sherman snatched the opportunity, running out of the midfield and booting a goal on the run from the 50m arc. GWS started to look a bit lost in defence as Griffen booted a goal to take a 15-point lead.
Jeremy Cameron had other ideas for the Giants as he took the game head-on. His efforts were rewarded with a goal from a free-kick just inside 50.
He had an absolutely fantastic individual day, with 12 disposals, 7 marks and 5 goals. Stats don’t tell the whole story though, as he comfortably marshalled the whole forward line.
Down the opposite end veteran recruit Luke Power did much the same, racking up disposals and marking errant kicks left and right.
Higgins kicked his second for the quarter before GWS responded, with goals to Curtly Hampton and Cameron to bring the margin back to two points.
Bulldogs captain Matthew Boyd and Brownlow winner Adam Cooney quickly responded with goals from GWS turnovers. The margin looked manageable before last weekend’s rising star nominee Mitch Wallis kicked a goal very close to the half.
The Bulldogs could have easily had another if it wasn’t for some desperate work by Cameron near the siren.
Cameron and Liam Jones traded goals early in the third, followed up by Cameron delivering to Hampton who slotted one.
Luke Dahlhaus, who had such a big wrap on him in the week leading up to the game, finally made an appearance and kicked a goal from nowhere.
Jordan Roughead was subbed off for the Dogs after an abysmal first half, with only 2 possessions and 6 hit-outs. Luckily substitute Tom Liberatore had an instant impact, gathering 6 disposals in his first six minutes on the ground.
Stephen Coniglio was subbed off after a slight concussion as the Dogs powered on. Nathan Djekurra kicked his first for the day to take the lead out to 30 points.
Marquee pick-ups Callan Ward and Tom Scully were having little impact on the game and the absence of Chad Cornes was also hurting the Giants.
Scully did do his bit to deliver a pass to Cameron who kicked his fourth, but the Dogs were easily able to bring it back after a Folau brain-fade.
Some great work in defence from Phil Davis and Power managed to keep the margin to 30 points at the final break, but it wasn’t to be worth much as the Dogs cruised home in the fourth.
The crowd wasn’t especially large for the first Prime Minister’s Cup, but the support for GWS was a great sign. Huge cheers went up for goals during the second quarter.
But in the end Griffen collected the cup for the Dogs in what was a workmanlike but not very impressive day at the park. They face Collingwood on Friday night to open round 6. They will need a big boost from some of their senior players to mount a challenge.
It was another game, another loss for GWS, but some very promising signs came from the four quarters. Apart from Cameron’s mammoth effort, Tomas Bugg was strong running from the backline with another high disposal game (28 in this case) and another strong effort from Toby Greene (27 disposals) would have made the GWS coaches happy. Pickups Davis, Power and James McDonald all earned their spots with strong efforts.
3. Ryan Griffen
2. Daniel Cross
1. Jeremy Cameron
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 5, Hampton 2, Bruce, T Adams
Western Bulldogs: Higgins 2, Cooney 2, Dahlhaus 2, Cordy, Djerrkura, Boyd, Griffen, Jones, Sherman, Wallis, Picken, Grant
Western Bulldogs: Griffen, Cross, Picken, Wallis, Boyd, Cooney, Cordy, Higgins
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron, Bugg, Power, Davis, Greene, Giles