The Western Bulldogs have strengthened their premiership credentials with a come from behind 107-91 win against a gallant Carlton at Marvel Stadium.
The Blues looked like they would run away with the game in the third term until the Dogs brought the lead back to a gettable 14-point margin at the final break.
A final quarter showdown ensued with Luke Beveridge’s side flexing its muscle with a six-goal term to run out 16-point winners at the final siren.
Marcus Bontempelli (32 touches, one goal) increased his Brownlow medal claims with another imposing outing while Josh Bruce (five goals) continued his 2021 resurgence.
Carlton would have been disappointed with the performance of captain Patrick Cripps (15 disposals) and recruits Zac Williams (9 disposals) and Adam Saad (12 disposals) who failed to have an impact on the game which was there to be won.
While disappointing for most of the match, the Dogs will be pleased to know that 40 minutes of brilliance is all that’s needed from them to beat most teams such is their ability to score quickly and get on top when it matters.
Carlton forward Jack Silvagni was subbed out in the third term with concussion while the Bulldogs’ medical sub went unused.
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Blues fail to take important scalp
Carlton looked set for a season defining win when they stretched the lead past four goals late in the third-term.
After a poor start to the year, a win would have proved Carlton’s finals credentials and taking the four points off a side that had only been beaten by last year’s premiers would have been a sign that the Blues had finally taken the next step.
Ultimately, it wasn’t to be as the Bulldogs fought back in a win that probably reflects the current gap between the two sides.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Blues though, with Harry McKay (4 goals), Jacob Weitering (13 marks, 23 disposals) and Sam Walsh (24 disposals) all impressing.
No one’s expecting Carlton to win the flag in 2021, but continued strong performances from that trio going forward will fill Blues fans with hope that a contending future is just around the corner.
Luckless forward’s horror run continues
Jack Silvagni can’t take a trick.
The 23-year-old has only strung two weeks together once this season after battling through multiple shoulder concerns and now concussion.
Jack Silvagni has been subbed off with a concussion pic.twitter.com/PQM4upZRBG— 7AFL (@7AFL) May 9, 2021
While he only managed two behinds before going off, his departure was felt as Carlton immediately looked less dangerous going forward.
Silvagni is a player whose true impact isn’t always felt on the stat sheet with his two-way running and ability to play both ground level and overhead provides a point of difference inside 50.
He simply can’t get on the park in what many were hoping would be a breakout season for the father-son product.
In Round 9 the Bulldogs face Port Adelaide in a mouth-watering top-four clash while Carlton will look to inflict Melbourne’s first defeat of the year in a big MCG encounter.
Western Bulldogs: 4.3, 6.6, 10.8, 16.11. (107)
Carlton: 3.3, 8.6, 12.10, 13.13 (91)
Western Bulldogs: Bruce 5, Hunter 2, Naughton 2, Scott 2, Bontempelli, Johannisen, Lipinski, Sweet, Treloar
Carlton: Betts 5, McKay 4, Owies 2, Cunningham, Cripps
Western Bulldogs: Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Bruce, Jack Macrae, Adam Treloar, Bailey Dale, Tom Liberatore
Carlton: Jacob Weitering, Sam Docherty, Eddie Betts, Harry McKay, Sam Walsh, Ed Curnow