Though they keep their perfect ledger in 2021, another win for the in-form Bulldogs may come at a cost with multiple injuries sustained on the night.
Bulldogs doctor Gary Zimmerman was kept busy, attending to three significant injuries. The saddest story of the night was Lin Jong’s hamstring injury, leaving him done for the night in the opening stages of the match.
Having played only 64 games in 10 seasons, Jong is set for another long stint on the sidelines.
There were also injuries for big man Tim English who was struck with a flying knee during a marking contest. He was knocked out instantly before walking off the field and then taken for a concussion test.
Superstar Josh Dunkley was the final Dogs injury with a dislocated shoulder 10 minutes into the last quarter. He managed to come back on soon after, but the shoulder unfortunately popped out again.
The Bulldogs overran the inexperienced Giants in the last term kicking nine goals to three. Jackson Macrae was the main man for the Dogs with 40 disposals, including 25 kicks. Perhaps more importantly than that was a massive 864 metres gained, the difference between the two sides in what was a tight contest.
Charging home as 39-point victors, the Dogs have cemented the top spot and are now 6-0 in a perfect start to the season.
Five players kicked two goals in a team effort for the Dogs, an important statistic for a side that has been reliant on key forward Josh Bruce. Lachie McNeil was impressive coming on as the injury substitute, managing two goals to make an impact off of the bench.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge spoke after the match about the Dogs’ win and the cost of injuries.
“He’s had some bad luck Jongy (Lin Jong) with his hamstrings and had some high-grade injuries usually through the mechanism, where he’s been tackled, and it looks something similar has happened, he said.
“It’s an emotional night for him and his teammates.
“We will obviously lose Tim (Tim English), and he will probably have his jaw x-rayed, fingers crossed he hasn’t got any bone damage there. We will lose him for at least a game, and hopefully, it’s not too much more.”
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Beveridge spoke on potential replacements for the injured players.
“Many boys are knocking at the door for a taste of it, and now there’s an opportunity to bring some of those lads in,” he said.
“The players who we bring in next week might possibly make us a better team.”
Beveridge was complimentary of the GWS defensive style and praised his players on breaking out of its grip late in the game.
“In a game as one on one as you get with GWS defending like they are, it was an enormous effort by the boys to break away in that last quarter like they did,” he said.
“We held our nerves, and the boys who weren’t necessarily having their best [game] out there persevered and stood up in the last quarter.”
The Bulldogs were dominant at the centre bounce, with experienced ruckman Stef Martin dominating against Matt Flynn.
“Stef (Stefan Martin) stood up late, and we needed him to be exceptional in there,” Beveridge said.
“To see the stoppage scoring differential be such a landslide in our favour, I think we ended up kicking four goals from centre bounces too, which is a mighty effort.”
The Bulldogs come up against premiers Richmond next Friday in what will be their biggest test.
With key players Tim English and Josh Dunkley now out, the door is open for the debut of 2020 top draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan after he kicked five goals in the VFL on Thursday night.
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