Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast Suns: AFL live scores, blog
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The Western Bulldogs host Gold Coast Suns in Darwin tonight for their annual home game at the Top End. Join us at 7.40pm AEST for minute-by-minute commentary and live score updates.
After a slow start, the Bulldogs have won three of their last four games to get their season back on track, but we must demonstrate some caution about that statistic.
As impressive as the Bulldogs were last weekend in dismantling the more fancied North, the other two wins have been against current cellar-dwellers Melbourne and GWS.
Nevertheless, that’s a whole lot better than what the young Suns have managed, being one of two teams yet to win a game after seven rounds.
The great paradox with the Suns is that for the two weeks when their skipper Gary Ablett was out, the Suns’ up-and-coming players responded, took on more responsibility and pushed some sides until the very end, most notably falling short by 7 points against Fremantle.
With a couple of senior players returning to the team last weekend, the Suns completely fell asleep in the last quarter to allow the even-younger Giants to completely run over the top of them.
The performance raised serious questions about the fitness of the Suns, their willingness to work harder when the game turns, and their ability to run out a game against even below-average opposition.
Bluey McKenna will certainly be expecting better tonight in terms of lifting the work rate and being that bit more accountable.
The biggest concern for the Suns is that they are at the very bottom of the pile in the key areas of disposals, contested possessions and tackles.
For the Bulldogs, they have been able to tighten things up down back with the return to form of Brian Lake and Ryan Hargrave, while Bob Murphy continues to be one of the best rebounders off half-back in the competition.
In the middle, Bulldogs skipper, Matty Boyd, is in good form and leads from the front. The stronger body of Karmichael Hunt might be a good match-up on him, but can he run with him for four quarters?
Liam Picken will have the job on Gary Ablett, one of the very rare bright spots for the Suns. Ryan Griffen and Josh Caddy will be another good match-up worth keeping an eye on.
With Nathan Bock out for the season all of a sudden the Dogs look taller than usual up forward, with Ayce Cordy starting to hold his marks, while Liam Jones and Tory Dickson have a chance here to continue some fine form.
Some interesting debuts for both teams tonight. Daniel Pearce for the Bulldogs is an athletic midfielder from the Oakleigh Chargers who also played basketball with the Bulleen Boomers.
Fletcher Roberts for the Bulldogs from Sandringham is a young tall forward who is still bulking up. Alex Sexton for the Suns is a midfielder and local boy who has come through the Suns academy and has also been part of the AIS-AFL set up.
The Bulldogs are on the verge of a 4-4 win record after 8 matches, and their greater capacity to win the contested ball count will see them cruise to a 30 point win, despite the Suns lifting after their effort last weekend.
Can the Suns get on the board for 2012 or will the Dogs improve to 4-4 tonight? Find out as we cover live scores and commentary from 7.40pm AEST as the action unfolds in Darwin.
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