The Giants recorded their second straight loss on Friday night (19 June), as the Western Bulldogs ran out convincing 24-point winners at Marvel Stadium to get their first win of the season.
The game started out the same as last year’s final between these sides, with the Giants employing the same aggressive attitude that saw them dominate that match.
In that final, the Giants worked over Marcus Bontempelli from the first bounce and the Dogs couldn’t respond, succumbing to their physicality around the ball.
It was a different story this time and the Dogs were more than ready for it, matching the Giants in all the push and shove, but more importantly, dominating them in the contest and on the scoreboard.
The Dogs won the inside 50 count 44-29 in an indication of their control of the match and probably would have won by more if not for some heroics from Giants defender Nick Haynes.
The Giants moved the ball slowly all night, but it didn’t work as they struggled to score. It was a deliberate tactic by the Giants to chip it around their backline, but the Dogs set up so well defensively it never threatened them at all.
The Giants were without Josh Kelly and Toby Greene, leaving them missing two of their best players and when Lachie Whitfield was ruled out with concussion in the first quarter, their star-studded side looked a little depleted.
Along with Haynes, the Giants’ best were Harry Perryman, who continued his strong start to the season with 23 disposals and 2 goals, and Stephen Coniglio who toiled hard all night for his 24 touches.
The Giants now find themselves 12th on the ladder after back-to-back defeats and a tough match against the 2nd place Collingwood Magpies.
It was an important win for the Bulldogs who started the season with high hopes but found themselves sitting 18th after 2 rounds.
They were back to their best defensive pressure and it showed with Giants unable to trouble their defence.
Marcus Bontempelli was held to 16 disposals by Matt de Boer but his teammates lifted with Jack Macrae amassing a game high 25 touches and Tim Liberatore made a significant impact to the midfield in his first game back.
The game never reached great heights in terms of the football that was played, and an all-in melee as the third quarter expired was easily the highlight of the match.