A late final-quarter surge by the Western Bulldogs has earned them a gritty come-from-behind victory over Greater Western Sydney in Canberra.
Bulldogs Michael Talia and Adam Cooney impressed with 32 and 26 possessions respectively, helping their side finish on top in a see-sawing battle to win 13.9 (87) to 12.11 (83) in front of 7132 fans at Manuka Oval.
Daniel Giansiracusa also held his nerve in front of the sticks for the Bulldogs in the final quarter with two clutch goals, taking his tally to three for the game.
Having led at every break, Giants coach Kevin Sheedy said it was disappointing not to walk away with their first win of the season.
“Frustrating more than anything – we had our chances in the last five minutes. But we didn’t win.”
However, Sheedy said he was happy to see his young side playing more consistently.
“We had the ball – we were moving it in. When they get experience enough, they’ll know what to do and we’ll get the goals and win the games,” he said.
The Giants physically fronted up to their opponents, relieved Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney admitting his side still had some work to do.
“It’s pretty obvious both clubs have a long way to go,” he said.
“We went from playing good footy one minute to ordinary footy the next.”
The stuttering Prime Minister’s Cup win improves the Bulldogs win-loss record to 4-10, while the Giants remain without a victory having posted their 14th straight defeat.
The Bulldogs finished strongly for the second consecutive week, the Giants leading them by less than two points at each break in a game where the lead changed seven times.
Controversy almost erupted at the first break when the siren sounded more than two minutes later than an out-of-sync television coverage clock due to a technical issue.
To complicate matters, Bulldogs forward Liam Jones leaped on top of the shoulders of Lachie Whitfield to take a sensational grab in front of goal on the siren, but the second umpire over-ruled the mark.
In a low-scoring second quarter, the Giants clung onto their deserved one-point lead. The teams delayed heading into the break for a second time when a large scuffle was ignited by Taylor Adams and Cooney.
It was just the third time the Giants have led at halftime this season.
Bulldog Jason Johannisen was then carried off on a stretcher early in the third quarter after he collided hard with Jeremy Cameron while both had their heads over the ball.
The Giants gave themselves a chance to win the match late in the game courtesy of Cameron’s third goal of the match and a late effort by Will Hoskin-Elliot, but it wasn’t enough to post a maiden victory in 2013.
The Bulldogs play Essendon at Etihad Stadium on July 14, while the Giants clash with hometown rivals Sydney at the SCG earlier the same day.