The Western Bulldogs have secured a much-needed four points and proved they still have an impressive gear of footy in a 48-point win over Collingwood on Friday night.
Luke Beveridge’s troops had their finals credentials seriously questioned over the past week following their loss to Port Adelaide, but the return of skipper Marcus Bontempelli inspired the Bulldogs to a six-goal first quarter.
That ultimately set up the win, despite a spirited final term from the Magpies.
Less than five goals down and making a serious run with ten minutes to go, Collingwood had all the momentum before star midfielder Jordan De Goey gave away a free kick and subsequent 50-metre penalty for dissent, putting the game well beyond doubt as the Dogs capitalised with a goal.
The 2022 free agent came to the bench with his head in his hands in clear disappointment.
Richmond legend Matthew Richardson disagreed with the call in commentary for Channel Seven, saying: “I know it's an emotional game, but they're not robots.”
Meanwhile, in the box for AFL Nation, AFL great Cameron Mooney sang from a similar hymn book.
“It’s an emotional game, come on,” Mooney said.
“I just don’t like the rule.
“There’s dissent and then there’s dissent. That’s just (an act of) frustration, he didn’t swear at the umpire.”
Gotta be careful with this dissent stuff. It’s great to help umpires, but punishing players for marginal stuff like we’ve seen tonight isn’t fair on them. And it will sour the game for plenty of fans. Need to get our heads around this properly.— Andy Maher (@AndyMaherDFA) May 13, 2022
Sometime rules r introduced that do more harm than good but people are 2 stubborn to just admit it. Looking at an umpire with arms out is not dissent. Screaming, pointing, demonstrative is dissent. Umpires pay 50 cos they're told to but tell me they're respected more cos of it.— Scotty Cummings (@ScottyCummings_) May 13, 2022
It followed an ‘almost’ game for De Goey, who had 20 disposals but lacked his usual polish under pressure.
“I’m not so worried about the free kick and the 50, there’s a couple of moments in this quarter from De Goey, (he’s) done some brilliant things,” Mooney added.
“(But) there was a really poor handball in the middle of the ground, a turnover, there was another kick out onto the wing to a two on one which was a poor kick, which probably frustrated him to make that tackle in the end.
“Then the frustration blew over when he threw the arms out, but it’s those two poor skill decisions that I’m more annoyed with him for than the actual 50-metre penalty.
The Dogs found themselves in familiar territory at Marvel Stadium, despite a fixture anomaly meaning it was Collingwood’s home game.
However, they gave the Magpies a touch-up early on how to play the ground with their fast brand of footy slicing through the middle of the Docklands’ ground.
Luke Beveridge’s troops had dominance across all lines d for most of the first quarter, racking up a remarkable 17 inside 50s in the first 20 minutes of the match.
Third gamer Buku Khamis was the main beneficiary, kicking two of the club’s six first-term goals and finishing with three majors at the final siren.
With Tim English no guarantee to return next week, Khamis has provided a vital structural option for the Dogs partnering Aaron Naughton, leaving Mooney impressed in the commentary box.
“They’ve found a kid here, he’s just excitement. On the ground, above his head (he’s been great),” Mooney said.
Meanwhile, Naughton was one of the best Dogs on the ground, clunking six marks in his three-goal haul.
He had Darcy Moore for company up forward, the key backman coming off a week of scrutiny for his loose defence on Tigers star Tom Lynch the week prior.
Most would have expected a strong response from the All Australian, however the 26-year-old again looked at sea early as the Bulldogs leapt out of the blocks.
It led Mooney to label Moore “disappointing” early in the game, and it didn’t get any easier as the ball kept coming in.
Moore finished with 17 disposals and got better as the game progressed, however questions will continue to come over his style of play in Collingwood’s defensive system.
Craig McRae’s side managed to stabilise through the second term but simply couldn’t make it count. Youngster Ollie Henry will want his time again after a torrid conversion effort that saw him have four first-half shots on goal, yet only two behinds to show for it.
It was a trend that plagued Collingwood throughout the match, with the club ultimately losing all four quarters.
Friday night’s loss is the second in a row for the Magpies, and things won’t get any easier when flying to Perth to take on an in-form Dockers outfit next week.
Meanwhile, the Dogs have a big chance to get some momentum into their season when taking on the Suns and Eagles in the coming fortnight.
Collingwood: 1.3, 2.6, 4.7, 7.9. (51)
Western Bulldogs: 6.5, 7.10, 11.17. (99)
Collingwood: Crisp 2, Quaynor, Lipinski, De Goey, Hoskin-Elliot, Mihocek
Western Bulldogs: Naughton 3, Treloar 3, Dunkley 3, Khamis 3, Bontempelli, Scott
Collingwood: Crisp, Howe, Cameron, Lipinski, Maynard
Western Bulldogs: Treloar, B. Smith, Bontempelli, Macrae, Naughton
Collingwood: Madgen (Shoulder)
Western Bulldogs: N/A