Cats Scrape Past Tigers

Source: Flickr - JamesDPhotography

It was less than convincing, but Geelong bounced back from adversity to record a morale-boosting win over Richmond by 10 points on Sunday, 11.9 (75) to 9.11 (65).

The Cats welcomed the Simonds Stadium home crowd with four points and the unfurling of last year’s premiership flag, but not without some pre-match drama as a power outage disrupted ticket processing for over half an hour.

Geelong started strongly to lead by four goals at half-time, but it always felt like Richmond was only a couple of goals away from turning the match into a genuine contest.

While the Tigers found it hard to stop the impact of superstar midfielders Jimmy Bartel and Joel Selwood, they held their structures far longer than what many would have expected.

North Melbourne’s surprise win over Geelong last week seemed to have the home side rattled, and the Cats failed to put away their opposition in the last term.

Nathan Foley’s goal levelled proceedings with just 12 minutes on the clock, and an unlikely upset was on the cards for a Tigers team full of momentum.

However, Richmond’s inexperience got the better of them as they couldn’t complete the impossible.

Geelong’s numbers around the footy choked any chance of a late forward thrust for the Tigers.

In the last five minutes, two crucial handball interceptions saved the Cats from potentially conceding late goals and the match itself.

Richmond may have finished losers by ten points, but in doing so, earned the admiration of many supporters.

GEELONG           4.1       7.3    10.4    11.9 (75)
RICHMOND       3.1      3.6    7.10    9.11 (65)

Stokes 2, Chapman 2, Hunt, Selwood, Hawkins, Podsiadly, Duncan, Motlop, Christensen
Richmond: Nahas 2, Riewoldt, Maric, Vickery, Grigg, Jackson, White, Foley

 Bartel, Guthrie, Lonergan, Taylor, Mackie, Selwood, Hawkins
Richmond: Foley, Deledio, Cotchin, Nahas, Grigg, Ellis, Tuck.

Injuries: Nil

 Jesse Stringer replaced George Horlin-Smith at three quarter-time.
Richmond: Matt White replaced Addam Maric midway through the third quarter.

Reports: Trent West (Geelong) for rough conduct on Ty Vickery in the first quarter.

Umpires: Fila, Schmitt, Pannell

Torrid time for Lions set to continue

Coming off the back of a 91-point loss to newly installed flag favourites Carlton, Patersons Stadium is not a place Brisbane would want to be.

Like rubbing salt into a freshly cut wound, the Lions are drawn against a Fremantle side hungry for a win after losing last week to Sydney in what could probably be classified as an upset.

Lions veteran Ash McGrath candidly admitted during the week that Michael Voss and the coaching staff hadn’t done enough research on Carlton before their big game.

While this is no excuse for a blowout loss of such proportions, it is a reflection of the way Brisbane is travelling.

A win today would be a massive boost for the confidence of Michael Voss and his Brisbane Lions unit. Unfortunately for them, the likeliness of them getting over the line is minimal.

In response to last week’s embarrassment, the selection committee at Brisbane have swung the axe, dropping youngsters Niall McKeever and Rohan Bewick as well as fringe player Cheynee Stiller and veteran recruit Ben Hudson.

The omission of Hudson is sure to have many pundits scratching their heads.

Was he not brought in as an experienced ruckman, a viable backup for Matthew Leuenberger? To have such a prized recruit dropped in Round 3, especially when facing the premier ruckman of the competition in Aaron Sandilands, does not augur well for Brisbane’s future.

However, to at least have the courage to play the youngsters means that there can be some hope.

Fremantle, rather, have just the one inclusion: Jack Anthony is omitted for David Mundy’s return. Mundy had one of his better seasons in 2011 and will line up on a wing today, although his versatility means he could drop into the forward line with ease.

Final Say:

Fremantle to be too good at home for the Lions who have endured a torrid week.

Dockers by 67 points.


B: Garrick Ibbotson, Zac Dawson, Adam McPhee
HB: Michael Johnson, Luke McPharlin, Tendai Mzungu
C: David Mundy, Ryan Crowley, Stephen Hill
HF: Matthew de Boer, Matthew Pavlich, Michael Barlow
F: Christopher Mayne, Kepler Bradley, Josh Mellington
Foll: Aaron Sandilands, Nathan Fyfe, Greg Broughton
IC: Paul Duffield, Nick Suban, Zachary Clarke, Clancee Pearce
EM: Jay van Berlo, Dylan Roberton, Alex Silvagni
IN: David Mundy
OUT: Jack Anthony

Brisbane Lions
B: Ashley McGrath, Matt Maguire, Josh Drummond
HB: Mitchell Golby, Daniel Merrett, Joel Patfull
C: Jed Adcock, Tom Rockliff, Daniel Rich
HF: Claye Beams, Jonathan Brown, Todd Banfield
F: Ryan Harwood, Matthew Leuenberger, Ryan Lester
Foll: Billy Longer, James Polkinghorne, Jack Redden
IC: Pearce Hanley, Andrew Raines, Jesse O’Brien, Jared Polec
EM: Niall McKeever, Rohan Bewick, Elliot Yeo
IN: Jonathan Brown, Josh Drummond, Andrew Raines, Ryan Harwood, Billy Longer
OUT: Simon Black (Hand), Cheynee Stiller, Niall McKeever, Rohan Bewick, Ben Hudson
New: Billy Longer (Northern Knights (VIC))

 BigFooty Team Board Previews:



Follow it live on BigFooty’s Game Day Thread.

Big Swans Test for Power

Port Adelaide will be out to prove it has progressed since last season as it takes on an inspired Sydney outfit this afternoon.

The Power have shown solid signs of improvement throughout the pre-season with their brigade of new recruits such as Brad Ebert and Chad Wingard controlling proceedings.
Despite this, Essendon took the points against Port Adelaide last week in a close encounter and the Power will now look to get back on a winning streak.

In contrast, Sydney surprised many with its victory over a decimated Fremantle, and played the confines of the SCG to its advantage.

The Swans will be buoyed by the return of Shane Mumford, who will take the brunt of the ruck duties after missing last week’s win. Mumford takes the place of Mark Seaby, a classic “fringe” player who can perform a task in the ruck when necessary.

Sydney’s typical shutdown game style may conflict with Port’s enthusiasm and hard running this week, but the experienced Swans should still hold the upper hand.

Key match-up – the ruck duel:

Shane Mumford vs. Jarrad Redden – One-sided as this match-up may look, Mumford won’t have a walk in the park this week. Despite being one of the game’s premier ruckman, Redden has already proven his worth in the face of adversity. While young Redden’s endurance will be tested, he will put up a strong fight.

Key players:

Jesse White (Syd) – The inconsistent forward gets another chance this week to show his talents – but where to play him? Trialled as a second ruck throughout his career, White has also taken a liking to a centre-half-forward position with the ability to kick a bag of goals. Needs to have an impact or else his spot is under jeopardy again.

Justin Westhoff (Port) – The Hoff is fast becoming a veteran of Port Adelaide’s forward line, and with experience comes responsibility. Westhoff has shown he can work in tandem with John Butcher as a lethal forward pairing and will need to kick at least three goals for the Power to have a chance today.

Final words:

Port would love to get a win for their home crowd, but Sydney are simply too strong.

Prediction: Swans by 28 points.


Port Adelaide
B: Ben Jacobs, Alipate Carlile, Jackson Trengove
HB: Danyle Pearce, Troy Chaplin, Jacob Surjan
C: Hamish Hartlett, Domenic Cassisi, Kane Cornes
HF: John McCarthy, Daniel Stewart, Robert Gray
F: Chad Wingard, Jay Schulz, Justin Westhoff
Foll: Jarrad Redden, Bradley Ebert, Travis Boak
IC: Matt Thomas, Paul Stewart, Matthew Broadbent, Cameron O’Shea
EM: Simon Phillips, Brent Renouf, Darren Pfeiffer
IN: Robert Gray
OUT: David Rodan

Sydney Swans
B: Martin Mattner, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Andrejs Everitt, Ted Richards, Rhyce Shaw
C: Craig Bird, Kieren Jack, Nick Malceski
HF: Jarrad McVeigh, Sam Reid, Lewis Jetta
F: Jude Bolton, Jesse White, Ben McGlynn
Foll: Shane Mumford, Adam Goodes, Josh P. Kennedy
IC: Ryan O’Keefe, Daniel Hannebery, Gary Rohan, Luke Parker
EM: Mark Seaby, Nathan Gordon, Harry Cunningham
IN: Jesse White, Shane Mumford, Andrejs Everitt
OUT: Lewis Roberts-Thomson (Cheekbone), Nicholas Smith (Virus), Mark Seaby

BigFooty Team Board Previews:

Saints Smash Suns

ST KILDA 5.2 8.7 15.10 21.13 (139)
GOLD COAST 0.2 2.2 6.4 7.5 (47)

Gold Coast has been given a footballing lesson yet again, this time by a determined St Kilda on its way to a 92-point win.

The Suns may have given themselves an outside chance after St Kilda’s shock loss to Port Adelaide the previous week, but their chances were quickly quashed after the Saints piled on six goals to none in the opening term.

The controversial new video review system was given a workout in the first half, utilised by the umpires three times.

It was fast becoming a one-sided affair as Nick Riewoldt stamped his impact on the game with two early majors, alongside new recruit Terry Milera who looks to be a great find for the Saints as a small forward.

Gary Ablett

For the second week in a row, Gary Ablett played a lone hand for the Suns. Ablett’s talent went largely to waste as his 40 possessions couldn’t inspire his teammates to a respectable performance.

Gold Coast’s third quarter was their best, kicking four goals, but it was simply a case of boys against men as the Saints’ experience proved too decisive.

Sam Fisher exploited the young Suns through his sweeping defensive role, a position that he is fast establishing as his own.

Brendon Goddard was everywhere for the home side, racking up 33 disposals in his typical swingman role.

Scott Watters finished the game with his first win as an AFL coach, while questions arise over Gold Coast’s lack of improvement so far in 2012.

Votes: 3 Goddard, 2 Ablett, 1 Riewoldt

St Kilda: Riewoldt 4, Stanley 2, Koschitzke 2, Armitage 2, Milne 2, Milera 2, Steven, Gilbert, Geary, Cripps, Goddard, Jones, McEvoy
Gold Coast: Brown 2, Ablett 2, Matera, Russell, Hickey

St Kilda: Goddard, Steven, Hayes, Riewoldt, Milera, Armitage, McEvoy
Gold Coast: Ablett, Swallow, Lynch, Matera, Harbrow

St Kilda: Nil
Gold Coast: Brown (groin)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Kamolins, Wenn, Foot

Official crowd: 21,032 at Etihad Stadium

Port embarrasses shaky Saints

The warning bells are already ringing at St Kilda after its four-point loss to an inspired Port Adelaide on Sunday night, 13.11 (89) to 13.7 (85).

The final siren marked not only a near-perfect start to the season for Matthew Primus’ men, but also raised severe doubts about the Saints’ ability to compete with the premier clubs in the competition.

St Kilda’s loss to the Power, a side that was labelled a basket case last season, is a scary result for one of the league’s most successful teams of recent years.

It appears that the Saints may be having some teething problems under the new leadership of Scott Watters, with the adaptation of the new coach’s gameplan hardly instantaneous.

It was Port who got off to a flyer in the opening term, kicking a streak of four consecutive goals to assert its dominance early before St Kilda pegged one back to keep the lead to 19 points at the break.

The Power had their triple-pronged forward line of Jay Schulz, John Butcher and Justin Westhoff working in perfect tandem with the delivery from new recruits John McCarthy and Brad Ebert just as classy.

Yet as the first-half wore on, the Saints’ experience began to shine through with three late goals gifting the visitors a three-point margin at the long break.

Jarrad Redden played the ruckman role like a man with plenty more games under his belt, and through a topsy-turvy third quarter it was just a Brad Ebert goal separating the two sides at three-quarter-time.

The home crowd of just over 21,000 lifted for Port Adelaide in the final term, with goals from Westhoff and substitute David Rodan putting victory out of reach for the new-look Saints.

Beaten by the siren just seconds away from one last forward thrust, St Kilda was left to contemplate the impact of an embarrassing opening round loss as Primus and co rejoiced in an unexpected win.

Imagine how Ross Lyon’s feeling right now.

Gibbsy’s votes:

3. Hamish Hartlett

2. Brad Ebert

1. Jarrad Redden

PORT ADELAIDE  5.2   8.6    11.9    13.11 (89)
ST KILDA              2.1     9.3     11.4    13.7 (85)

Port Adelaide: 
Schulz (2), Butcher (2), Westhoff (2), Brad Ebert (2), Stewart McCarthy, Hartlett, Boak, Rodan
St Kilda: Koschitzke (3), Milne (2), Riewoldt (2), Dal Santo (2), Montagna, Stanley, Jones, Milera

Rampant Crows Outshine Suns

Adelaide has continued its stunning early season form, dispatching the Gold Coast Suns by 69 points in an impressive display at Metricon Stadium.

The Crows had the match decided by as early as half-time, the Suns were too inexperienced to match up against this year’s NAB Cup champions and form side of the competition.

Extroverted forward Taylor Walker booted five goals in a performance that left Adelaide supporters rejoicing that the young tyro remains a Crow after rumours of a move to GWS were floated in the off-season.

It was the Crows’ forward-line that was firing on all cylinders all afternoon, swingman Kurt Tippett kicking four goals all in the first-half alongside eight other individual goal kickers.

Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson continued his 100 per cent success rate in his new role, belying any critics who believed that pre-season form couldn’t be converted into the regular fixtures.

“The world was looking at how we would respond to the NAB Cup success and (the performance) probably couldn’t have been better from my point of view,” Sanderson said in the post-match press conference.

Ball magnet Scott Thompson was again the catalyst for the visiting side, inflicting the same nightmares on the Suns that he did the last time the two teams squared off.

While Thompson didn’t reach the lofty heights of his record-breaking 51 disposal game in 2011, his 39 touches were just as influential as he led from the front in a dominating effort.

Not content to let Thompson steal the show in the centre of the ground, Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett proved he’s still got it, amassing 42 possessions and two goals.

However, it was only the old hands of Jared Brennan (27 disposals) and Michael Rischitelli (26 disposals) that could offer any support for Ablett as the Suns were well and truly outclassed by a team on a mission.

A cloud hung over Ben Rutten’s return to footy after he took no part in the NAB Cup due to a foot injury, but he went through the game unscathed and performed admirably down back for the Crows.

Teammate Ricky Henderson wasn’t so fortunate, his day ending before half-time due to heavy knock causing concussion.

The Crows can take plenty of positives from their Round 1 outing, and while the young Suns were beaten comprehensively on the day, there is no need for Guy McKenna to panic.


3. Scott Thompson

2. Gary Ablett

1. Taylor Walker

ADELAIDE             7.8   11.10   15.16    19.23 (137)
GOLD COAST        3.1    5.3    8.6         10.8 (68)

Adelaide: Walker 5, Tippett 4, van Berlo 2, Callinan 2, Dangerfield 2, Sloane, Douglas, Porplyzia, Lynch
Gold Coast: Ablett 2, Brown 2, Bennell 2, Smith, Swallow, Prestia, Caddy

 Thompson, Sloane, Tippett, van Berlo, Walker, Jacobs
Gold Coast: Ablett, Harbrow, Bennell, Brennan, Brown, Iles

Henderson (concussion)
Gold Coast: Tape (mouth)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Pannell, Wenn, Ryan

Official crowd: 12,790 at Metricon Stadium

Final Countdown – Adelaide vs West Coast

Where and When: AAMI Stadium, Saturday March 17, 7.10pm ACST

Adelaide will try to avoid the drama around ex-recruiting coach Matt Rendell and star midfielder Bernie Vince as it focuses on the task at hand tonight, the 2012 NAB Cup Grand Final.

The midweek preparation for the Crows has not been ideal, with the club coming under scrutiny for the revelations about Vince’s late-night antics and Rendell’s racial slur.

However, no off-field fracas can take away from the form that the South Australian side are currently in.

Rebuilt and rejuvenated under new coach Brenton Sanderson, the Crows have cruised through the pre-season competition, taking the significant scalps of Carlton and Collingwood, the latter who they embarrassed by 77 points at home last week.

The selection team have had to make some hard choices ahead of the grand final tonight.

Left out is All-Australian fullback Ben Rutten who is still suffering with a foot injury as well as Richard Douglas with general soreness.

Youngster Sam Shaw is yet to debut for the Crows, but his exciting promise has seen him granted the chance to play in Adelaide’s first pre-season championship since 2003.

In the Crows’ way is West Coast, who has also been in stellar form on the field.

The Eagles have continued the momentum that saw them finish in the top four last season, last week defeating a full-strength St Kilda by 33 points in humid conditions.

The forwards will be out to correct the inaccuracy that plagued the Eagles last week and prevented the margin from blowing out to something even bigger.

Perhaps the most exciting fact to come out of last week’s game was that West Coast had eight individual goalkickers, including new recruit Josh Hill (two goals) and goal-sneak Koby Stevens.

Unfortunately for West Coast, it goes into tonight’s match without two key forwards in Jack Darling and Quentin Lynch, but its hard-running midfielders have proven in recent weeks that they can fill the gaps.

CROWS: Brent Reilly, Kurt Tippett, Scott Thompson, Nathan van Berlo, Rory Sloane, Matthew Jaensch, Michael Doughty, Daniel Talia, Taylor Walker, David Mackay, Bernie Vince, Graham Johncock, Andy Otten, Jared Petrenko, Sam Jacobs, Tom Lynch, Sam Kerridge, Patrick Dangerfield, Brodie Smith, Sam Shaw, Shaun McKernan, Ian Callinan, Jason Porplyzia, Ricky Henderson, Matthew Wright.

EAGLES: Andrew Gaff, Daniel Kerr, Mark Nicoski, Chris Masten, Beau Waters, Nic Naitanui, Scott Selwood, Matthew Priddis, Luke Shuey, Koby Stevens, Eric Mackenzie, Dean Cox, Darren Glass, Matthew Rosa, Shannon Hurn, Sam Butler, Jack Darling, Scott Lycett, Will Schofield, Andrew Embley, Josh Hill, Patrick McGinnity, Adam Selwood, Ashton Hams, Gerrick Weedon

BigFooty Team Board Previews:


West Coast

Follow the match live on BigFooty’s Game Day thread.


Buddy shows Dees how it’s done

Hawthorn     0.6.2   0.10.4   1.12.8   1.17.12 (123)
Melbourne    0.2.3    0.4.6      0.4.7      0.6.8 (44)

Hawthorn HawksHawthorn has finished its NAB Cup campaign on an impressive note, devastating its Demon opponents in a 79-point shellacking at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

David Hale may have kicked six goals for the Hawks, but it was once again ‘The Buddy Franklin Show’ with the charismatic forward booting five of his own.

His haul included the game’s opening goal, a freakish dribble from the boundary line, and an awe-inspiring 65m supergoal midway through the third quarter that set tongues a-wagging.

Melbourne was never in the match right from the opening stages, embarrassingly conceding the first six goals of the match as they trailed at one stage 38-0.

Spirits lifted late in the high-scoring opening quarter with goals to Lynden Dunn and newcomer Mitch Clark, but the writing was already on the wall for the struggling Dees.

Coach Mark Neeld’s frustration in the box was evident as sharpshooter Brad Sewell booted the first of the second quarter to extend Hawthorn’s lead back out to 29 points.

Man of the moment James Magner was subbed out with a hand injury early in the term, and it was all downhill from there for the Dees as they struggled without injured co-captain Jack Grimes and experienced servicemen Brad Green and Joel Macdonald.

There were some positive aspects for the Dees though.

Clark’s work didn’t go unnoticed around the ground, with the former Brisbane ruckman also providing a capable forward option, kicking three goals.

Jeremy Howe also enhanced his reputation as a high-flyer with two spring-heeled grabs providing some enjoyment for the mellow Demons supporters.

Franklin’s supergoal came eleven minutes into the second half off the back of two consecutive Hale majors, and the mercurial talisman sealed the game with the nine-pointer, stretching the lead to 57 points.

In fact, Melbourne worryingly went without a goal for the entire third quarter with just a single Clark behind for the term.

Jack Watts frustratingly showed Melbourne fans glimpses of the talent he possesses with two goals, including one from a strong contested mark inside 50.

The Hawks ran away with the match in the last quarter to give themselves the best chance of advancing to the NAB Cup grand final, fittingly with Franklin kicking the final goal of the afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Demons have some soul-searching to do and there were indications that the midweek drama with troubled star Liam Jurrah may have had an effect on the morale of some of the players.


Hawthorn: Hale 6, Franklin 5 (including 1 supergoal), Breust 2, Sewell, Hodge, Lewis, Bruce
Melbourne: Clark 3, Watts 2, Dunn

Franklin, Hale, Hodge, Suckling, Whitecross, Bateman,
Melbourne: Clark, Jones, Dunn, Howe

Melbourne: James Magner (finger)


UMPIRES: Orr, Harris, McInerney, Kamolins

Official Crowd:
 10,611 at Etihad Stadium

Bombers see off Swans in thriller

This year’s NAB Cup has again yielded another dramatic finish after Essendon defeated Sydney by just two points in a 1.14.12 (105) to 1.14.10 (103) win.

The tight finish eerily resembled that of the pair’s clash in Round 20 of last year, when for the second time in a row the siren blew with the ball in Adam Goodes’ hands.

Even the brave efforts of the dual Brownlow Medallist couldn’t lift Sydney over the line for a shot at a grand final berth.

Paddy Ryder’s goal with four minutes remaining stretched the Bombers’ lead to an insurmountable eight-point margin, capping off a masterful performance.

Brent Stanton was everywhere with 23 disposals, including 19 kicks in his first match for the NAB Cup, alongside fellow returnee Jobe Watson, who finished with a game-high 27 possessions.

Goodes’ supergoal late in the first quarter, and the first of the match, put the Swans within four points at the opening break.

The match lived up to expectations early, with both sides going in with close to full-strength line-ups.

Sydney wrenched the lead in its favour in the second term and had some run through youngsters Gary Rohan and Luke Parker, but again Essendon refused to lie down.

The Bombers kicked four consecutive goals late in the first half to open up an 18-point buffer at the long break, and looked dangerous with Ryder a lynchpin up forward and captain Watson finding plenty of the footy.

Essendon built on its half-time lead to extend the margin to four goals through a classy Heath Hocking major, and the Bombers almost looked like they could run away with the match and set up their first win of the pre-season competition.

Yet it was Rohan whose open goal from point-blank range that injected some life back into the Swans.

Rookie Harry Cunningham also found himself in the thick of things with two margin-reducing goals, before an opportunistic left-foot snap from Goodes brought Sydney within a point at three-quarter-time.

The match was suddenly anyone’s game again and Sydney, carrying momentum from the previous quarter, scored consecutive goals from imposing forward target Sam Reid and the lively Parker inside five minutes.

Ryder’s presence was again felt inside Essendon’s forward 50, and the versatile big man kicked his third goal seven minutes into the quarter to reduce Sydney’s lead back to four points.

A captain’s goal from Watson put the Bombers back in front and set the crowd of 12,000 alight.

When Ryder consolidated with four minutes left, the result wash settled.

Reid’s late consolation goal left him with an impressive tally of four majors and reduced the gap to two points but the Swans ultimately ran out of time.

ESSENDON             0.3.4     1.7.7    1.11.9    1.14.12 (105)
SYDNEY SWANS    1.1.3     1.4.7    1.11.8    1.14.10 (103) 

Sydney Swans: Goodes

Ryder 4, Crameri 2, Hurley 2, Colyer 2, Watson 2, Melksham, Hocking
Sydney Swans: Reid 4, Parker 2, Rohan 2, Cunningham 2, Reid, Everitt, Jetta, Mumford, Goodes

Watson, Ryder, Stanton, Heppell, Crameri, Colyer
Sydney Swans: Shaw, Grundy, Kennedy, Parker, McVeigh, Goodes

Sydney Swans: Jack (shin)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Leppard, Stevic, Meredith

Estimated crowd: 
12,000 at Etihad Stadium

Bulldogs Snatch Win in Thriller

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)


Reports: Nil

Umpires: McLaren, Ryan, Keating