Impressive young Bulldogs midfielder Bailey Smith went off with concussion early in the second quarter following a strong Shaun Atley tackle, while Tarryn Thomas was also concussed after an attempted mark. He played no further part in the game after half-time.
Most significantly for the Kangaroos their returning midfield beast Ben Cunnington was unable to have any impact. Already nursing a back complaint and having to pass a fitness test to play, he picked up what coach Rhyce Shaw described as a “knock” early in the game and spent most of his time deep in the forward line. He was pulled from the game early in the third term.
The Bulldogs were tougher and more disciplined around the contest. The clearest example of that lack of discipline came with Ed Richards’ goal in the third quarter. The Bulldogs winger was left all alone at a stoppage close to goal and, inconceivably, he was allowed to casually pick up the ball and poke through for a major.
That was the Bulldogs’ third goal in a swift four-goal consecutive streak in the third term, the first two from Josh Schache and Mitch Wallis and the final one from Bruce.
Robbie Tarrant was excellent for the Kangaroos it must be said, taking five intercept marks in the first half. That he had so many chances to intercept could be blamed on his midfield who gave up too many easy opportunities for their opponents to enter the field’s danger zone.
BONT STOPPED BUT NOT DOGS
Shaw would have been angry at the way North Melbourne used the ball going inside 50 across the game. This didn’t make things easy for Ben Brown, who again tried hard but failed to have a consistent impact for his side. He made good leads but too often the ball was put at his toes or over his head.
Marcus Bontempelli was quiet for the Bulldogs, he was impressively tagged by Luke McDonald at times. Winning without his brilliance is a big positive for the Dogs though.
The Bulldogs and Kangaroos were two of the clubs impacted most by Melbourne’s lockdown zones last week, and both head to Queensland this week for a few weeks at least.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.2 5.5 10.6 13.9 (87)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2 2.3 3.5 5.8 (38)
Western Bulldogs: Bruce 6, Schache 2, Wallis 2, Richards, Dale, Vandermeer
North Melbourne: Goldstein 2, Taylor 2, Zurhaar
Western Bulldogs: Bruce, English, Crozier, Daniel
North Melbourne: Goldstein, Taylor, Dumont, Anderson
UMPIRES Chamberlain, Stephens, Brown
VENUE Marvel Stadium
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.