The ladder-leading Western Bulldogs are looking to condemn Richmond to a shocking losing record, and bolster their growing flag credentials, in a Friday night blockbuster to begin Round 7.
The Tigers (3-3, 113%) look as gettable as they have at any point over the last four seasons. They’ve lost three of their past four matches and are without Dustin Martin, Nick Vlastuin, Kane Lambert and Dion Prestia. A loss would mean their first losing record this deep into the season since 2016.
The Bulldogs (6-0, 175.3%) have injury issues too, with Josh Dunkley and Tim English among those on the sidelines, but they’re unbeaten after six weeks for the first time since 1946.
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QUARTER-BY-QUARTER MATCH REPORT
There were no late changes for either side with Patrick Naish (Richmond) and Lachie McNeil (Western Bulldogs) the subs.
Anthony Scott gave the Bulldogs the opening goal of the night, but it came after Easton Wood appeared to be caught holding the ball deep in defence; it wasn’t called, however.
A big mark from the out-of-form Tom Lynch looked set to provide the Tigers their first major, but he sprayed the shot badly, kicking his third behind of the quarter.
Lynch gifted Jake Aarts a goal in the final seconds of the quarter, putting their Tigers down 1.4 (10) to 3.6 (24) at the break.
The Bulldogs controlled the midfield battle through a quarter and a half, with Wayne Carey saying they “look dominant” after Luke Beveridge’s side recorded 14 out of 15 clearances.
The Tigers’ defence opened up like the Grand Canyon for Aaron Naughton’s second goal of the night – it was utterly bizarre how much space the Dogs had to move the ball through the midfield – and at the other end Lynch kicked his fourth behind.
For the second straight term Shai Bolton gave the Tigers their sole major deep into red-time, and Marcus Bontempelli missed on the siren off a controversial free kick, with the Dogs leading 5.9 (39) to 2.8 (20).
The Bulldogs led the clearances 20-10 at halftime, while Richmond’s inefficiency going forward was a major issue; they kicked one goal from 16 second-term inside 50s.
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New for the 2021 season, each team names a medical substitute one hour before the first bounce. This 23rd player can replace an injured teammate during a match.
This match got underway at 7:50pm EST from the MCG.
Watch it live on Fox Footy (channel 504).
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