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Carlton slump to six straight losses as Bulldogs win by 21

The Western Bulldogs take on the Dees. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
27th April, 2018
19

Carlton have slumped to their worst start to an AFL season with a 21-point defeat to the Western Bulldogs, taking their win-loss record to 0-6.

The inaccurate Bulldogs endured a nervous final term on Friday night but prevailed for a scrappy 11.14 (80) to 8.11 (59) win at Etihad Stadium.

Jack Macrae (32 disposals) and Marcus Bontempelli (30) starred for the Bulldogs along with young forward Patrick Lipinski (three goals), while midfield bull Patrick Cripps was enormous for Carlton with 32 disposals, 24 contested possessions and 12 clearances.

The Dogs led at every break but were poor in front of goal and again struggled with the skill errors that haunted them during last week’s 54-point loss to Fremantle.

But with half the players from their 2016 premiership side missing, the Dogs were impressive around the contests and showed glimpses of their best ball movement.

The Blues dominated the final term but star forward Charlie Curnow missed two sitters in quick succession to dash hopes of a late resurgence.

Cripps and Zac Fisher (28 disposals, eight clearances) were outstanding in the engine room but Bolton would have loved more production from the likes of Sam Petrevski-Seton, Matthew Kennedy and Paddy Dow.

Big things were predicted for Carlton this year but in their 120-year VFL/AFL history, the Blues have never started a season so poorly.

The loss will be particularly tough to swallow given the Blues, for once, had experience on their side – they fielded 10 players above the age of 25 compared with just two for the Bulldogs.

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Brendon Bolton’s side were missing their top-four finishers in last year’s best and fairest count – skipper Marc Murphy, Sam Docherty, ruckman Matthew Kreuzer and star midfielder Bryce Gibbs, who was traded to Adelaide during the off-season.

Kreuzer, who was rested with groin soreness, is set to return for next week’s clash with the Crows but Murphy (foot) is still three weeks away and Docherty (knee) is out for the season.