Western Bulldogs 0.1.3 1.3.6 2.6.9 22.214.171.124
Gold Coast 0.6.0 0.11.2 0.14.6 0.16.9.105
Western Bulldogs: Suckling 3, Stringer
Gold Coast: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Stringer 3, Picken 2, Hunter, Suckling, Crameri, Macrae, Dahlhaus, Liberatore, Jong, Bontempelli
Gold Coast: Lynch 6, Wright 2, Ablett 2, Ainsworth, Martin, Sexton, Miller, Swallow, Barlow
Alex Docherty's Best
Western Bulldogs: Stringer, Suckling, Dahlhaus, Picken, Jong, Bontempelli, Liberatore
Gold Coast: Lynch, Hall, Barlow, Ablett, Kolodjashnij, Miller, Hanley
The Western Bulldogs have ended their 2017 JLT Community Series campaign on a massive high note, as they walked out of Metricon Stadium 21-point winners over the Gold Coast Suns on Thursday night.
As opposed to last week in which the Bulldogs brought out a much younger and less experienced team against the Brisbane Lions, coach Luke Beveridge saw this match as a dress rehearsal before their season opener against Collingwood on Friday week, as he assembled his best team to tackle the Suns on Thursday night.
So serious about his preparations for round one that he played with only 22 players on the night. In the pre-season, you're allowed to have 24 players, with an extra two players on the bench. Key defender Marcus Adams and first-year ruckman Tim English were the unlucky ones that sat out all of the game.
Despite the strong list, the Bulldogs were completely blown apart by the former Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade and his Suns in the first half. Gold Coast kicked six goals to one in the opening term, and by midway through the second quarter, had opened themselves up a 49-point buffer with the Bulldogs staring at a third-straight loss this pre-season.
Former Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett was out to prove that he was not a finished force and showed signs of the Ablett of old and one of the new co-captains in Tom Lynch had five goals to his name before half time, the Suns were impressive and running hot.
The Dogs went into the half-time break searching for answers to their terrible first-half performance and the switch was flicked when they went out of the rooms for the second half. They began to wrestle control away from the Suns and began to chip away at the deficit. A 35-point half-time deficit was trimmed down to 27 at the last break, and from there the Bulldogs blitzed the Suns with a nine-goal fourth quarter with two of those being supergoals and it was the Suns who had no answers for the reigning premiers when it was all said and done.
It might've only been pre-season, but any win in football will give a side confidence going forward, and with the Bulldogs kicking off their season at the MCG under the Friday night lights against Collingwood on March 24th. Bulldog fans should be happy with the result, despite a nasty ear injury to 2016 All-Australian Matthew Boyd that saw him hospitalised post-game after a collision with Gold Coast's Peter Wright in the last quarter
Jake Stringer starred for the Dogs as he kicked four goals, including one supergoal from 26 disposals and six marks. Stringer has spent most of his pre-season playing a role in the midfield. If he manages to spend more minutes there this year, the chances of him starring more often in 2017 is likely to increase. Stringer loves to take on his opponents and has often had that knack of breaking tackles in recent years.
Another player that starred for the Dogs was the former Hawk Matthew Suckling who was unstoppable from outside 50. He slotted through three supergoals to go along with a solitary six-pointer to go along with 22 disposals and eight marks.
In fact, 13 of the 22 Western Bulldog players recorded 20 disposals or more, such is their talent. But those who impressed included Luke Dahlhaus (27 disposals, six marks, four tackles, one goal), Liam Picken (22 disposals, four marks, two goals), Marcus Bontempelli (24 disposals, five clearances, four marks, one goal) and Tom Liberatore (28 disposals, four clearances, one goal).
After a couple of mediocre seasons, which has seen the team decimated with injuries, it looks as if the Gold Coast Suns are ready to start climbing up the ladder once again. Despite their disappointing second half, Gold Coast fans will pleased to see them serve it right up to the defending champs. One of the new Co-Captain's Tom Lynch was unstoppable in the first half with five goals, and although he was a bit more quiet in the second half, he still managed a bag of six goals by the final siren.
His predecessor Gary Ablett played his first game since round 16 last year and not only got through the hitout unscathed, he finished with 22 disposals, four clearances and two goals. Whilst fellow midfielders Aaron Hall and Michael Barlow were the stars of the Gold Coast engine room. Hall had a game-high 36 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s and and five inside 50s and former Fremantle midfielder Barlow had 29 disposals, nine marks and a goal.
Kade Kolodjashnij (30 disposals, five marks) and Touk Miller (20 disposals, six tackles) were also very good, whilst new recruits Pearce Hanley (23 disposals, eight clearances and seven inside 50s) and Jarryd Lyons (17 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s) looked solid. The talent is there and they have a decent coach in Rodney Eade at the helm, I look forward to seeing what this Gold Coast team can do this year.