The Western Bulldogs have consolidated their spot in the top four with a clinical 53-point win over Brisbane on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.
The 17.18 (120) to 10.7 (67) win might have come at a cost, however, with Matt Suckling departing the game in the second quarter with a knee injury.
Still adjusting to life without long-term absentees Bob Murphy and Jason Johannisen, the Dogs can ill afford to lose Suckling as well.
The former Hawk landed awkwardly in a first-quarter marking contest and hobbled off the ground favouring his right knee. He managed to return to the field, albeit heavily strapped, in the second term but didn’t re-emerge after halftime.
Young Lion Tom Cutler wasn’t so lucky, suffering an elbow injury that ended his game in the first quarter, and he was joined by Allen Christensen in the second after the former Cat suffered a concussion.
As industrious as the Lions were early, the Bulldogs always looked to have their measure and duly broke the game open with five unanswered goals setting up a 34-point halftime lead.
Down to two fit men on the bench, Brisbane looked set for a fearful hiding as the margin blew out to 54 points late in the third quarter.
But in a small positive for Justin Leppitsch, his players at least fought the game out bravely.
Koby Stevens and Mitch Wallis were impressive for the Dogs with 34 and 33 possessions respectively.
The Bulldogs had 10 goalkickers, Jake Stringer leading the way with three.
Mitch Robinson (27 disposals) was at his combative best for the Lions, with Tom Rockliff, Dayne Zorko and Daniel Merrett among their side’s best players.