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Talking points from the Bulldogs’ wild win in the wet

Talking points from the Bulldogs’ wild win in the wet

After a tense first half, the Bulldogs blew the Bombers away in the second half – scoring eight goals to finish for an outright 49-point victory.

Coming into the game after three straight losses, there were concerns that an otherwise superb season for the Bulldogs could end in a flash. Instead, they are well and truly back and will make the Brisbane Lions sweat in next week’s semi-final.

Here are my talking points from the last of this weekend’s finals.

Weightman didn’t deserve all of his free kicks, but he did deserve his four goals

Small forwards were always going to be the key given the wet conditions in Launceston, but kicking a sack of four any day is a superb accomplishment for a crisp.

Cody Weightman aroused the wrath of Essendon fans after his four majors ended in free kicks – four of six he received in the afternoon.

Were they all there? The one that led to his fourth goal certainly wasn’t.

But that doesn’t change the fact that he pulled off some very tough set pieces to gain his impact on the scoreboard, with Bombers fans having been right to complain about being curtailed by their team’s inability to grab. simpler odds at the other end.

His attack on the ball was supreme as well, with 12 of his 11 disputed possessions eliminations – fourth on the team.

The last free kick was a shock, but Weightman put in a great little forward performance in the wet and deserves all the applause to come.

Bevo’s selection risks have paid off

The Dogs had commentators scratching their heads in the preparation, rocking several late changes that saw 2016 Norm Smith medalist Jason Johannisen relegated to the role of assistant med in place of Josh Schache for just his fifth game of the season.

With rainy weather forecast for the afternoon, the idea of ​​omitting a quick rebounding defender for a tall striker seemed like utter madness, but the risk of selection has largely paid off.

Schache playing forward stretched Essendon’s undersized defense too much, and although they only managed six marks inside 50 under the conditions, as expected, their separate advances created a lot of space for small attackers to work with.

Weightman, as mentioned, kicked four, Mitch Hannan managed to score two goals and Laitham Vandermeer added another in a superb effort from the forwards group.

Talking points from the Bulldogs' wild win in the wet

(Photo by Steve Bell / AFL Photos / via Getty Images)

But it wasn’t just a supporting role for the ex-Lion, Schache himself scored two goals, while directly setting Vandermeer up for a crucial fourth quarter major. His presence also caught Aaron Naughton’s attention, allowing him to hit three.

Dermott Brereton noted it as such in Fox Footy’s halftime commentary.

“It just gave them a better balance… Schache can lead into football and it gave Naughton a little more space,” he said.

With Josh Bruce not returning this year and his absence being sorely felt, maybe adding another key to the mix was the simple fix we all missed.

After seeing Ben Brown causing nightmares in the Brisbane defense all night long, you’d be backing Luke Beveridge to stick with a similar mix next week.

The Dogs played soccer in wet weather, the Dons didn’t

It took until the second half of the rain to really hit the bridge in northern Tasmania, but the big reason the three-point margin at halftime rose to 49 by the final siren was simple; only one team played under the conditions.

The Dogs may have gotten bigger in their front line, but they were ready to pick up the ball and run, find teammates in hand, kick the ball forward and favor territory over clean possession. . This allowed them to send dangerous kicks deep into their front line from good positions and, as mentioned above, to use their height advantage to bring the ball to the ground and hit goals.

Their huge advantages in contested possessions (+33), within 50 (+11), and clearances (+10) for halftime are testament to their superior approach.

Essendon, on the other hand, has stuck to his original game plan. They were continually kicking too long wherever they were on the ground in conditions that meant they just weren’t going to score it.

Long defensive kicks were abandoned in vulnerable field positions. The long midfield kicks fell too shallow inside 50 to be a threat – especially as their attackers were set up way too deep to start.

This meant that Peter Wright, just weeks after hitting a sack of seven against the Bulldogs, went virtually blind – having just seven touches and failing to score.

Jake Stringer, after a dazzling two-goal first half, finished with just nine touches. Archie Perkins and Aaron Francis also finished with less than ten assignments.

This greatly contributed to Essendon being the first team since 1956 to lose a goal in the second half of a final. Their attackers just weren’t lucky.

Bombers left in the streets squandered their early dominance

At quarter time, the Bombers had a 10-3 lead in the interception mark tally and prevented the Dogs from taking a single mark inside 50.

Marcus Bontempelli had been limited to two eliminations, Josh Dunkley had one and the Bulldogs had just nine tackles on the board.

But, despite all of that, the Bombers found themselves down three points on the scoreboard.

Jake Stringer’s first goal was the only major they’d ever managed, with Zach Merrett, Will Snelling, Aaron Francis and Tom Cutler all misfiring – Francis’ dud being particularly poor.

Quick goals to Devon Smith and Darcy Parish in the second quarter gave them the upper hand briefly, but again, they were only able to score 1.3 despite dominating the time period before half-time.

As we all know, the rain fell and took the Bombers away – but who knows how different the game would have been if the Dons came out of the hangars with a two or three goal lead?

Do the Dogs, under pressure to make a good comeback in the wet, start to play more recklessly and turn it over? We’ll never know, but the Bombers will have the next six months to think about it.





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