Dynamic Dons Demolish Dogs

http://www.flickr.com/photos/scscreative/5573454935/

ESSENDON 7.5 12.7 15.10 21.14 (140)
WESTERN BULLDOGS
1.2 3.5 6.7 8.8 (56)

Essendon’s first goal, to Michael Hurley, truly defined the entire night as the Bombers crushed the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.

After five behinds overall to start the match, Hurley, wearing a glove and wrist guard to protect his hand which was stepped on last week against Fremantle, took a chest mark on the lead just inside 50 on an angle.

His slice of a wobbly flat punt ended up splitting the big sticks, and his head shake and smile as he celebrated it summed up the night as a whole.

Whatever, or however, the Bombers were simply too good for the Bulldogs. Stewart Crameri even lost a boot in a marking contest, but followed up with a strong tackle, free kick and goal (with the boot back on, it’s worth noting).

It was defined by Jobe Watson’s fourteen-disposal first quarter which blitzed the Dogs on their way to seven goals in that time. His impact was somewhat nullified later by Liam Picken, but despite that he willed himself to 30 disposals and three goals in a best-on-ground performance.

It set up a learning experience, as Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney would call it, as the Dons were too cool setting up off half-back, with Cale Hooker, Courtenay Dempsey, Dustin Fletcher and Michael Hibberd the focal points.

Racking up 150 marks to the Bulldogs’ 97, Essendon were sublime in transitioning the ball forward.

It gave Hurley the best opportunity he could, who kicked five goals to make it eleven in two weeks, despite playing through pain. Recalled forward Kyle Reimers chipped in with three of his own to lead a consistent display across the forwards.

It wasn’t all bad news for the Bulldogs, however. It’s hard to imagine them without Matthew Boyd nowadays but he was comfortably their best. Tom Liberatore played very well through the midfield and Shaun Higgins had 26 disposals in his 100th game.

Their ruck situation also looked good, with Will Minson and Tom Campbell combining for 29 hitouts and four goals.

It’s a big lesson for a team with a tough draw, as the Dogs travel to Perth to play Fremantle next week, while the Bombers remain at Etihad to play St Kilda in what looms as an exciting contest.

VOTES

3 – Jobe Watson (Ess)
2 –
Ben Howlett (Ess)
1 –
Michael Hurley (Ess)

GOALS

Essendon: Hurley 5, Reimers 3, Watson 3, Crameri 2, Ryder 2, Dell’Olio 2, Melksham 2, Hocking, Dempsey
Western Bulldogs:
Minson 3, Liberatore 2, Campbell, Smith, Boyd

BEST

Essendon: Watson, Howlett, Hurley, Ryder, Hocking, Dempsey
Western Bulldogs:
Boyd, Minson, Liberatore, Dahlhaus, Lake, Campbell

INJURIES

Essendon: TBC
Western Bulldogs: Murphy (hamstring), Griffen (calf)

SUBSTITUTES

Essendon: Nathan Lovett-Murray replaced Stewart Crameri in the third quarter
Western Bulldogs:
Jordan Roughead replaced Robert Murphy at half-time

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Leppard, Findlay

Official crowd: 40,824 at Etihad Stadium

Essendon set to demolish Dogs

Where: Etihad Stadium, 7.50pm, Satuday 30th June
TV: Channel 7 and Fox Sports 1 from 7.30pm
Radio: ABC774, 3AW, Triple M
Odds: Essendon $1.22, Western Bulldogs $4.50, Line Bulldogs +28.5

Essendon take on the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, and the battle of the midfields will be something to see. The Bulldogs’ captain Matthew Boyd continues to be in rare form, with support from Ryan Griffen, Daniel Cross and rising gun Tom Liberatore: the Dogs have a relatively strong midfield. But up against the stars of Jobe Watson, the consistent running of Brent Stanton and the shutdown skill of Heath Hocking, they will face a tough task at Etihad Stadium.

This midfield battle extends further, with both Essendon and the Bulldogs effectively running eight-man midfields. Interestingly, Nathan Lovett-Murray has been named in the midfield, however, Lovett-Murray has been either the starting substitute or given the red vest in four of his nine games in 2012, and as a result has often struggled to get involved in games against quality opposition. The loss of Angus Monfries to injury has forced this in-side upgrade, and Lovett-Murray’s performance will be one to watch.

On the Bulldogs’ side, the inclusion of Ryan Hargrave and Lukas Markovic gives the Dogs defensive strength against an Essendon forward line that will aim to deliver once more to Michael Hurley, Stuart Crameri and Paddy Ryder, all of whom performed well against Fremantle last week. The performance of Brian Lake once again looms as critical: if Lake can shut down both Hurley and provide rebound on half-back it will go a long way towards the Dogs coming away with a win.

However, the critical concern for the Bulldogs can and should be their continued makeshift forward line. The loss of Daniel Giansiracusa to a foot injury amplifies the problem, with the attacking responsibilities left to young Tom Campbell for the Dogs. It’s hardly an ideal situation, but the delivery of Liam Jones, Shaun Higgins in his 100th game and the makeshift forwards of Campbell and Jordan Roughead will be key, but their tall forwards also leaves them open to exposure by the pacey rebound of the Bombers’ midfield.

Prediction:
The Dons will simply have too much, and their defensive unit will be strong.

Essendon by 37.

Teams:
Essendon
B:
Michael Hibberd, Dustin Fletcher, Cale Hooker
HB:
Kyle Hardingham, Jake Carlisle, Dyson Heppell
C:
Courtenay Dempsey, Jobe Watson, Heath Hocking
HF:
Stewart Crameri, Patrick Ryder, David Myers
F:
Kyle Reimers, Michael Hurley, Ben Howlett
Foll:
David Hille, Brent Stanton, Nathan Lovett-Murray
I/C:
Sam Lonergan, Leroy Jetta, Jake Melksham, Cory Dell’Olio
Emg:
Ricky Dyson, Tom Bellchambers, Elliott Kavanagh

Western Bulldogs
B: Ryan Hargrave, Brian Lake, Dylan Addison
HB:
Robert Murphy, Lukas Markovic, Easton Wood
C:
Daniel Cross, Matthew Boyd, Christian Howard
HF:
Shaun Higgins, Liam Jones, Adam Cooney
F:
Jordan Roughead, Tom Campbell, Liam Picken
Foll:
William Minson, Ryan Griffen, Clay Smith
I/C:
Justin Sherman, Thomas Liberatore, Luke Dahlhaus, Tory Dickson
Emg:
Lindsay Gilbee, Ayce Cordy, Mark Austin

BigFooty Team Board Previews:

Essendon

Western Bulldogs

Follow it live on BigFooty’s Game Day Thread 

Superb Swans Sink Dismal Dogs

Sydney 9.0. | 10.5 | 16.9 | 20.12 (132)
Western Bulldogs 1.1 | 3.1 | 4.5 | 5.10 (40)

An all-star performance from Jude Bolton saw Sydney demolish the Western Bulldogs by 92 points.

Jude Bolton excelled in the wet - http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevebaty/

The midfielder, known more for his workhorse ability rather than his flair, found the wet to his liking as he gathered 41 disposals and kicked two goals as part of a totally dominant display from the Swans’ midfield.

It was not just Bolton who had a great day, with Rhyce Shaw, Daniel Hannebury and Kieran Jack all picking up over 30 touches and Josh Kennedy having 28 disposals.

The Swans totally dominated the Bulldogs’ midfield, with only Matthew Boyd and Ryan Griffin having any sort of impact, although Liam Picken did his best to restrict Lewis Jetta early before fruitlessly turning his attention to Bolton.

The Sydney control of the ball was reflected rapidly on the scoreboard, with the first four goals being scored by the Swans. Furthermore, it denied the Bulldogs any opportunity to return fire, with their scoring deficiencies reflected by the massive gap in uncontested possessions, with Sydney having over a hundred more.

As a result, nothing more than a Sydney victory was deserved.

Although the Swans did lose the second term, it was a profligacy in front of goal that caused such a result rather than a true upper hand being held by the Bulldogs.

In addition, the Swans will be hurt by the loss of Luke Parker with a suspected broken collarbone.

Sydney will face Essendon at Etihad in Round 11, while the Bulldogs havve the bye.

Best
Sydney:
Bolton, Hannebury, Jack, Shaw, Kennedy, Jetta, Richards, Dennis-Lane, Roberts-Thomson
Bulldogs: Boyd, Picken, Griffen

Goals
Sydney:
Jetta 4, Dennis-Lane, McGlynn 3, Bolton, Jack, Reid, Roberts-Thomson 2, Kennedy, O’Keefe
Western Bulldogs:
Picken 2, Cordy, Veszpremi, Wallis

Crowd
13,505 at SCG

Votes
3) – 
Jude Bolton (Sydney)
2) – Kieran Jack (Sydney)
1) – Daniel Hannebury (Sydney)

Cats Down Defiant Dogs

Western Bulldogs 1.1 6.2 8.5 11.9 (75)
Geelong
3.5 6.9 9.9 14.11 (95)

Geelong shrugged off a hungry Western Bulldogs with 20 points to spare at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

For the majority of the match it was a tight and low-scoring contest, which eventually came to suit the Western Bulldogs as they surged, dominating the clearances and, on many occasions, almost snared the lead.

The resilience of the Cats, however, was what won them the match, as they kept pinching goals when it mattered most and kicking five goals in the last quarter to seal the win.

It came predominantly through the brilliance of Steve Johnson, with the forward being the clear best-on-ground without kicking a goal; his 36 disposals, 14 marks, five inside 50s and four rebound 50s vital in midfield.

He even found the time and space to pull off blind turns and lookaway handballs in successive contests in the last quarter, capping off a stellar game.

Johnson was the standout of a host of Cats to play well, including power forward Tom Hawkins with three goals and three goal assists, while Paul Chapman also kicked two amongst 27 possessions through the midfield.

Corey Enright also used his experience and composure to great effect off half-back, recording 21 disposals at 90% efficiency, with nine marks.

It was on the outside where the Cats did the damage, as they hurt the Dogs kicking long over the contests where players such as Steven Motlop, who kicked three goals and showed some fantastic talent in a great display, were able to rove and goal.

It wasn’t all bad news for the Western Bulldogs, who dominated the clearances and came close to taking another scalp after a few good weeks.

Matthew Boyd was their best with 34 disposals and six clearances but in particular, it was youngster Mitch Wallis’ game that was the most impressive.

Son of former Bulldog Steve, Wallis tallied 24 disposals, 10 of them contested, at a remarkable efficiency of 96%. Amongst those were five clearances and five tackles in a great display. He also kicked a goal.

If it weren’t for a few errors late in the last, he could have been in the Bulldogs’ best few in a victory, but supersub Zephaniah Skinner and Liam Jones both missed goal chances in the last quarter, as did Jordan Roughead, who kicked 0.3 for the night.

But regardless, the loss leaves them 11th on the ladder pending the upcoming results of the rest of the round.

Geelong’s win puts them eighth as they begin their ascent up the ladder in a desperate push to defend their premiership.

Votes

3) – Johnson (Geelong)

2) – Chapman (Geelong)

1) – Corey Enright (Geelong)

GOALS

Geelong: Hawkins 3, Motlop 3, Chapman 2, Mackie, Selwood, West, T Hunt, Bartel, Podsiadly
Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa 3, Higgins 3, Dickson, Jones, Wallis, Liberatore, Skinner

BEST 
Geelong: Johnson, Chapman, Corey, Enright, Scarlett, Selwood, Motlop, Mackie
Western Bulldogs: Boyd, Griffen, Liberatore, Murphy, Hargrave, Minson, Austin

INJURIES 
Geelong: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Geelong: Trent West replaced by Jonathan Simpkin at three-quarter time
Western Bulldogs: Patrick Veszpremi replaced by Zephaniah Skinner in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Pannell, McInerney, Mitchell

Official crowd: 29,118 at Etihad Stadium

Bulldogs Bite But Pies Escape

Western Bulldogs 3.5 5.7 10.10 11.11 (77)
Collingwood 2.0 6.4 11.5 15.8 (98)

Collingwood has finished strongly to take away a 21-point victory over the Western Bulldogs.

Collingwood fans celebrate the victory - http://www.flickr.com/photos/leprecon/

It wasn’t one to be particularly proud of, however, as the Bulldogs regularly attacked the contest with more intensity in what was in the end a fairly scrappy contest.

The Bulldogs dominated proceedings in the first quarter and only goal-kicking accuracy prevented them from holding a four-goal lead at quarter time, as eight shots to two gave them only an 11 point lead.

They led by as much as 17 points after a Ryan Griffen, who was fantastic, inside 50 turned into a clumsy but effective Daniel Giansiracusa goal, but Collingwood then begun to resurge.

They kicked the last three of the second quarter and suddenly the Dogs’ intensity had wavered and their accuracy was coming back to bite them, with Collingwood leading at half time.

Scott Pendlebury started to take the game by the scruff of the neck, using his ability to find space and use it effectively, with Dayne Beams dishing it out to him and winning clearances.

Although Collingwood were starting to kick goals, it wasn’t from the tall forward line Nathan Buckley had set – Travis Cloke was dominated and continually frustrated by Brian Lake, while Chris Dawes couldn’t take a mark and Ben Reid pushing forward didn’t work.

But despite that, they lifted their work rate, and their midfield, strongly noted for its ability to hit the scoreboard, did so to make up for Cloke and Dawes only combining for three goals out of Collingwood’s 15.

They just couldn’t shake the Dogs, however, especially Easton Wood’s defensive efforts which had him close to best on ground until twinging his hamstring in the third quarter, forcing a substitute.

Collingwood were also forced to use their substitution due to injury as Ben Johnson came off with a shoulder complaint. He was replaced by Kirk Ugle.

Although Collingwood were sloppy all night, their skill level lifted in the last quarter through Pendlebury and Heath Shaw, who played a fantastic game, pushing forward to kick two goals as well as using his creativity off half-back, and Collingwood’s poise and skill ensured that they were to take home the four points.

Votes:

3 – Scott Pendlebury (Coll)
2 – Ryan Griffen (WB)
1 – Dayne Beams (Coll)

Goals:

Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa 3, Griffen 2, Higgins 2, Wood, Boyd, Hargrave, Lake
Collingwood: Goldsack 2, Cloke 2, Shaw 2, Sinclair 2, Reid, Dawes, Fasolo, Sidebottom, O’Brien, Swan, Wellingham

Best:
Western Bulldogs: Griffen, Lake, Wood, Cross, Minson
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Beams, Shaw, Sidebottom, Swan

Injuries:
Western Bulldogs: Easton Wood (hamstring)
Collingwood: Darren Jolly (groin, replaced in selected side by Cameron Wood), Ben Johnson (shoulder)

Substitutes:
Western Bulldogs: Mitch Wallis replaced Easton Wood (hamstring) in the third quarter
West Coast: Kirk Ugle replaced Ben Johnson (shoulder) in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Donlon, Stewart, Schmitt

Official crowd: 38,155 at Etihad Stadium

Cats and Dogs’ last pre-season push

Where and When: Simonds Stadium, Saturday March 17, 3.00 PM AEDT

It’s set to be an interesting contest down at Geelong, as the Cats host the Bulldogs at Simonds Stadium.

Both teams have had relatively quiet pre-seasons, with two wins and two losses apiece leaving the teams in the bottom half of the ladder, so it could be said that they will experiment with line-ups in this practice match.

Both sides, however, will be looking for that confidence-boosting victory to propel them into round one with a little bit of form behind them.

What Geelong will want to see:

Geelong play at Simonds for the second week in a row, and they will no doubt be looking to improve on their thumping at the hands of Richmond last Saturday.

Although most of the familiar names are playing – James Bartel, Joel Selwood, James Kelly, Joel Corey, Matthew Scarlett and Steve Johnson to name but a few – coach Chris Scott will be hoping to see some impressive performances from the likes of Jesse Stringer, Steven Motlop and Cameron Guthrie.

These sorts of younger players are the future of the ageing Geelong list, and Scott will be looking to make sure that they can adjust to AFL level.

How big man Trent West and mature-age recruit Orren Stephenson work together is also something the coaches will be keeping an eye on.

Whilst getting miles into younger legs, it’s fairly obvious to state that Geelong will push hard for a big win down at the Cattery.

What the Western Bulldogs will want to see:

Although the Doggies went down in a disappointing loss to North Melbourne last week, the thing that they would be most excited by was the strength of their young midfield with Clay Smith, Tom Liberatore, Mitch Wallis and Luke Dahlhaus all impressing.

Now they come up against one of the biggest challenges you can face as an AFL footballer – Cats in Geelong.

If the Dogs’ next generation of players around the ground play well, like Zephaniah Skinner and Liam Jones up forward, Jordan Roughead in the ruck and Lukas Markovic down back, then new coach Brendan McCartney will surely be pleased.

Adam Cooney will also play a near-full hit-out for the first time this season, and him at full fitness will be brilliant to watch.

Combine these factors and the Doggies could even pull off an inspiring win to give a huge boost going into the season proper.

Prediction

The Western Bulldogs have shown strong signs throughout the pre-season – without the results on the board – their future side in development looks the goods.

Geelong, however, are simply too classy around the ground, and going by that the logical tip favours the Cats, comfortably.

Although, keep in mind that Geelong were easy favourites over Richmond last week, and the Doggies indeed have a sniff.

Geelong by 25 points

Squads

Geelong
1. Mitch Brown, 2. Billie Smedts, 3. Jimmy Bartel, 4. Andrew Mackie, 7. Harry Taylor, 8. Josh Hunt, 9. James Kelly, 11. Joel Corey, 12. Trent West, 13. Tom Lonergan, 14. Joel Selwood, 17. Shannon Byrnes, 19. Taylor Hunt, 20. Steve Johnson, 22. Mitch Duncan, 23. Orren Stephenson, 26. Tom Hawkins, 27. Mathew Stokes, 29. Cameron Guthrie, 30. Matthew Scarlett, 31. James Podsiadly, 32. Steven Motlop, 33. George Horlin-Smith, 35. Paul Chapman, 41. Jesse Stringer

Western Bulldogs
1. Jarrad Grant, 2. Robert Murphy, 3. Mitch Wallis, 4. Daniel Cross, 5. Matthew Boyd, 7. Shaun Higgins, 10. Easton Wood, 13. Daniel Giansiracusa, 14. Clay Smith, 16. Ryan Griffen, 17. Adam Cooney, 19. Liam Jones, 21. Tom Liberatore, 22. Dylan Addison, 23. Jordan Roughead, 25. Ryan Hargrave, 26. Zephaniah Skinner, 27. Will Minson, 29. Tory Dickson, 30. Christian Howard, 36. Brian Lake, 37. Lukas Markovic, 40. Luke Dahlhaus, 42. Liam Picken, 49. Ayce Cordy

BigFooty Team Board Previews:

Geelong

Western Bulldogs

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