Macrae stars as Dogs edge Suns in Ballarat

By Michael Ramsey, Michael Ramsey is a Roar Guru

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    Gun midfielder Jack Macrae has guided an injury-hit Western Bulldogs to a tightly-contested nine-point AFL win over Gold Coast in Ballarat.

    The Bulldogs trailed at three-quarter time on Saturday in a game full of momentum swings but outlasted the Suns in the final term to secure an 11.15 (81) to 10.12 (72) victory at Mars Stadium.

    Macrae was outstanding with 40 disposals, 12 clearances and a goal while Lachie Hunter chipped in with 34 disposals and seven inside-50s.

    The hard-fought victory takes the Bulldogs’ season record to three wins and four losses.

    Already missing captain Easton Wood (hamstring), the Bulldogs suffered another major injury blow with stand-in skipper Marcus Bontempelli (hip soreness) a late withdrawal.

    With Hunter taking the captaincy reins, the Dogs got off to a lacklustre start and were wasteful by foot on a cold and blustery afternoon.

    Gold Coast, lining up without co-captains Tom Lynch (knee) and Steven May (finger), showed plenty of spark to seize the early lead and momentum.

    The Bulldogs took the ascendancy midway through the second term, piling on four goals in quick succession including two fine roving efforts by fourth-gamer Patrick Lipinski.

    But the Suns refused to go away, snatching back the lead on the verge of halftime and maintaining their dominance around the ball during a close third quarter.

    The Bulldogs led the inside-50 count 14-0 midway through the final term but the Suns capitalised on their first forward entry with Aaron Young running down an oblivious Macrae and converting the free kick to level the scores.

    But late goals to Billy Gowers and Bailey Williams were enough to see the Bulldogs home and maintain the Suns’ unwanted mantle as the AFL’s worst-performed fourth-quarter team.

    “Our method and effort for three quarters, we were really proud of it, and then we let ourselves down in the last quarter,” Suns coach Stuart Dew said.

    “We couldn’t go with them in the end.”

    Bulldogs counterpart Luke Beveridge admitted his side weren’t switched-on at the start of the game but was pleased with their persistence.

    “At times some of the younger guys, the game really ebbed and flowed as far as their impact went,” he said.

    “They were able to pick themselves up after an involvement they didn’t like and hang in there.”

    With Metricon Stadium still unavailable, Gold Coast will host Melbourne at the Gabba next week before travelling to Shanghai to face Port Adelaide.

    Second-year midfielder Ben Ainsworth starred for Gold Coast with his class and creativity while Touk Miller (27 disposals, eight tackles) continued his impressive form.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • May 5th 2018 @ 6:44pm
      Mattyb said | May 5th 2018 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

      Was a better performance by the Dogs overall but still rather sloppy and there was again little forward cohesion. Amazing a player like Gowers can improve so much by simply leaving Carlton like so many before him,he’s one of the few forwards we actually now have,was again happy with his game for a rookie.
      Macrae was brilliant,and must be close to the most underrated player in the league,has also added goal kicking to his game this year. Strange Bontempelli gets so much recognition and Macrae none at all,but Macrae again stood up today.
      Naughton was good,Hunter very good and Dahlhaus returned to a little bit of form.
      Will still be a challenge next week but the dogs are a chance to make it 3 from the last 3,plenty of injuries still but to be honest which team doesn’t at this stage,so no excuses really there.
      Still plenty of room for improvement but winning is the name of the game and we managed that again today against a gallant GC.

      • May 6th 2018 @ 7:41am
        I ate pies said | May 6th 2018 @ 7:41am | ! Report

        It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you get the 4 points when you’re playing your seconds Matty. Any win is a good win at the moment. If the kids can keep on keeping on for a little while longer we’ll be looking good for the second half of the season.
        I can see some method in Beveridge’s madness now; this is a team that could be very good in a couple of years.
        Jack Macrae is quietly becoming very very good. His kicking has always been his downfall; if he can kick a few more goals he’ll be in the upper echelons. He was a high draft pick who’s hitting his prime so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he’s a very good player.
        I didn’t see much of the game; how did Young go? If he comes good he’s the final piece to our future backline.

        • May 6th 2018 @ 9:39am
          Mattyb said | May 6th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          IAP,I thought Young had a bit of a mixed bag,his reserves form had been excellent so I was expecting a little bit more,the backline as a whole though stood up pretty well,and Youngs game I’d call a low moderate.
          I wouldn’t mind seeing Rourke Smith come into that backline though,and replace possibly Richards. The reserves had a one point victory over the Tigers which was good and Rourke was impressive. I’ve actually really liked Campbell’s season so far and wouldn’t mind him coming in and maybe giving English a rest.
          Schache had a really good reserves game,it was his first game back though so he’s probably still a week or two away from seniors.

          • May 6th 2018 @ 4:16pm
            I ate pies said | May 6th 2018 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

            Beveridge alluded to English having a spell in his press conference. I’ve always thought of Smith as the replacement for Bob; he just needs a haircut and some continuity

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