The Western Bulldogs have rediscovered their snarl at the expense of GWS, upsetting the Giants by 45 points in Saturday’s AFL twilight match.
Onballer Mitch Wallis was best on field with 36 possessions and the Bulldogs defenders were outstanding as they beat the in-form Giants 16.17 (113) to 11.2 (68).
The Bulldogs broke a three-game losing streak that had taken the shine off their exciting start to the season.
The glaring difference in scoring shots – 33 to 13 – was a better reflection of the game than the margin.
It was a disappointing performance from the Giants and too many of their stars were found wanting under the Bulldogs’ fierce pressure.
Bulldogs ruckman Will Minson was also prominent after his big week.
Minson returned to the senior team for the first time since round three but first had a dramatic couple of nights at the VFL tribunal.
After being suspended for umpire contact, his four-game ban was reduced to a fine and reprimand on appeal.
Minson celebrated his change of fortune with a strong game that featured hitouts and two goals.
Former Bulldogs captain Ryan Griffen had a quiet game against his old club, only managing a season-low 10 disposals.
After Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said during the week Griffen should expect boos, that’s exactly what happened every time he took possession.
Liam Picken also made a point of tussling with his old teammate before the first bounce.
At the end of last season, Griffen walked out on the Bulldogs and key forward Tom Boyd left GWS for the ‘Dogs in a massive trade.
Boyd also had a quiet game with one goal and four marks.
The Bulldogs had a setback when Jake Stringer was a late withdrawal because of illness.
But they put an immediate stamp on the game with a blistering start, kicking eight goals to two in the first term.
Easton Wood, Matthew Boyd and captain Robert Murphy led an outstanding Bulldogs defence, which set up several goals with some top-class rebounding play.
Fletcher Roberts and first-gamer Joel Hamling were also prominent across halfback.
The Giants’ goalkicking accuracy kept them in the game.
Two goals at the start of the third term reduced the margin to a very gettable 23 points.
But the Bulldogs kicked the last three goals of the quarter to kill off the challenge.
Tory Dickson kicked four to lead the Bulldogs scoring and midfielder Lachie Whitfield had 31 disposals to be best for the Giants.