Bulldogs beat AFL’s Suns in Darwin
The Western Bulldogs woke from their slumber after halftime to see off a determined Gold Coast unit by 38 points in Saturday night’s AFL clash at Darwin’s TIO Stadium.
The Suns went into the long break with a deserved three-point lead after dominating crucial periods of the first half.
But Gold Coast’s wayward return of 2.9 came back to haunt them, with the Bulldogs booting seven goals to two in the second half to set up the 9.18 (72) to 4.10 (34) win in front of 8724 fans.
Suns skipper Gary Ablett, who played the majority of the game across half-back, looked bothered by a leg injury as he attempted to shake off a tight tag from Liam Picken.
Ablett also copped a physical battering from several of Picken’s teammates, with the Bulldogs using every opportunity to target the 28-year-old, who finished with 29 possessions.
League convert Karmichael Hunt tallied 16 first-half possessions before fading, while upgraded rookie Kyal Horsley continued his bright start to his career with another busy effort.
Bulldogs midfielder Matthew Boyd, defender Brian Lake and 150-game milestone man Ryan Griffen were influential in the result, while late inclusion Zephaniah Skinner booted a memorable 50m goal off just one step in the final quarter.
Since losing their opening three games of the season, the Bulldogs have won four of their past five to get back within striking distance of the top-eight.
The Dogs’ victims have included Melbourne, GWS, North Melbourne and Gold Coast, but a true test of their top-eight credentials will come over the next fortnight when they take on Geelong and Sydney (SCG).
The Suns are yet to win a game this season, but led North Melbourne and Fremantle at half-time, and Essendon and GWS at three-quarter time before being overrun.
Gold Coast midfielder Harley Bennell looked the worse for wear in the opening quarter after copping an off-the-ball bump from the Bulldogs’ Dylan Addison.
Although the bump didn’t appear overly malicious, it was well off the ball and Addison faces a nervous wait to see whether the match review panel decides to lay any charges.
Bennell returned to the fray after several minutes, and booted a crucial goal in the second quarter as the Suns entered the long break with a slender lead.
But the game was blown open in the third quarter as the Bulldogs created numerous opportunities up forward.© AAP 2013