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A rare Bulldogs win at the 'G ends the Tigers’ undefeated streak in the rain

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8th April, 2023

The Western Bulldogs survived a late surge from Richmond to record an 89-84 victory under the lights in difficult conditions at the MCG on Easter Saturday.

Both teams experienced question marks before the opening bounce, with the Bulldogs failing to win at the ‘G since Round 19, 2021, while Damian Hardwick made the interesting call to rest Jack Riewoldt and start Trent Cotchin on the interchange bench.

An inspired tackle inside 50 from Tom Lynch would’ve hoped to have set the tone, winning a free-kick and converting for the first major of the game.

Despite the wet and slippery conditions, the Dogs were able to find a lot of forward territories but failed to capitalise until Rory Lobb got on the end of a loose ball at the back of the contest to get their first goal on the board.

Alex Keath was ruled out for the remainder of the match due to a concussion sustained earlier in the first term, ultimately forcing them to play a man down.

Luke Bevridge’s side added a further five goals to their tally, including two goals from Tom Liberatore to help them win their first opening quarter of the season, leading by 23 points at the break.

Tom Liberatore of the Bulldogs

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Samson Ryan temporarily stopped the bleeding to kick the Tigers’ first goal of the second quarter after seven of the last eight goals were kicked by their opponents.


That didn’t last long thanks to the Bulldogs displaying high pressure and dominating the centre-bounce clearances, kicking out to a 28-point lead with over 10 minutes remaining. 

Questions were starting to be asked of the Bulldogs and their ability to soak up pressure and weather the storm, as Richmond’s disposal efficiency picked up when they needed it and made the most of their chances inside 50, kicking three straight to close the gap within 10 points.

Hardwick was forced to activate his sub due to a hamstring injury sustained by Jack Graham, allowing Cotchin to make an appearance.

The momentum continued to grow for the Tigers as they inflicted pain on the 2016 premiers in a blink of an eye, kicking eight of the last nine goals.

It wouldn’t be domination without the influence of Dustin Martin, snapping around the body to rub salt into the wounds along with a brilliant first-half performance from Liam Baker racking up an impressive 19 disposals.

Richmond sensationally took a 67-53 advantage at the main change in an entertaining, high-scoring affair.


Some scrappy passages of play opened proceedings after half-time through the fault of the weather deciding to bucket down rain, creating arduous conditions.

Subsequently, the scoring slowed dramatically as the Dogs kicked the solitary goal in the third quarter which accompanied the 10 behinds from both teams combined.

Missed opportunities at both ends allowed the Tigers to keep their noses in front by six points at three-quarter time.

With the match firmly in the balance, Mitch Hannan produced a moment of brilliance from the pocket to put the Dogs in front by a point early in the final term.

As the Dogs slowly pulled away, the team from Punt Road wrestled their way back into the contest and cut the margin to single digits.

Richmond pressed incredibly hard in the final stages and was finally rewarded with a goal from Shai Bolton with 33 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to five points and set up a frantic finale.

It wasn’t enough, as the Bulldogs held on by the skin of their teeth to prevail and win back-to-back games, as the Tigers succumbed to their first loss of the season in a gallant effort.

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Adelaide is the next destination, as the Tigers face the Swans on Friday night, while the Dogs play Port Adelaide on Saturday night in the inaugural Gather Round.