THE WESTERN Bulldogs have snapped a three-game losing streak with a 16-point win over Melbourne in a tight tussle in front of 36,326 fans at the MCG on Saturday night.
With scores level at the 19-minute mark, Melbourne's Matt Jones missed two crucial shots on goal which could have handed the Demons their second consecutive win.
But it wasn't to be, the Bulldogs running out winners 15.9 (99) to 12.11 (83) after forward Stewart Crameri kicked two goals in the final five minutes - one of which came from a controversial in-the-back free kick against Lynden Dunn - to put the result beyond doubt.
Jason Tutt then put the icing on the cake with 10 seconds to play.
Melbourne was left to rue its missed opportunities after having 13 more inside 50s than the Bulldogs.
But the Demons didn't take their chances with Jones, James Frawley, Christian Salem and Jay Kennedy-Harris all missing crucial opportunities in front of goal in the final term.
Melbourne coach Paul Roos said the final quarter was a lesson in composure for his young side.
"We're still developing obviously," Roos said after the match.
"The Bulldogs, in terms of where they were, they're about two-and-a-half years with Brendan and we're seven games in and that probably showed tonight.
"At crucial times in the game they just did those little things a bit better than we did and in the end that really was the difference. It was a terrific game, a combative game but it just shows the Bulldogs' development at this stage is a bit ahead of our development."
The Bulldogs’ pressure was immense, with the team registering a club record 108 tackles.
Young pup Tom Liberatore was instrumental for the Bulldogs with 27 disposals, 14 tackles, two goals and eight clearances, while skipper Ryan Griffen led the side for pressure acts, laying 15 tackles.
Coach Brendan McCartney was full of praise for the pair .
"It's a good effort," McCartney said.
"There was a bit of a chat at three-quarter time reminding them that there was enough experience out on the ground that know the MCG … that understand enough about the game, they know what the game needs.
“But we also had some youth out there with some legs that might help us and it played out pretty well."
Adam Cooney, Jason Johannisen and Luke Dahlhaus were also solid contributors for the Bulldogs.
Melbourne midfielder Daniel Cross was prolific against his former side finishing the game with 23 disposals, five tackles and a goal.
Much has been made of Melbourne's decision to trade its No.2 draft pick (Josh Kelly) to Greater Western Sydney for Tyson but on Saturday night he proved his worth.
The midfielder had 27 touches, a match-high 11 clearances and kicked two goals and was a shining light in the loss.
The Demons dominated time in forward half in the first term with 13 inside 50s to eight, but it was the Bulldogs who looked more dangerous in attack, kicking three goals to the Demons' two to take a six-point lead into quarter-time.
It was a costly second term for the Bulldogs, who relinquished their advantage to just one point at half-time after holding a 15-point lead early in the quarter.
The Demons continued their dominance in the midfield registering five more centre clearances than the Bulldogs (7-2), with Cross, Tyson and Nathan Jones supplying forwards Chris Dawes and Cam Pederson with opportunities in attack.
Dickson was substituted out late in the second quarter after injuring his shoulder in the opening term when he was tackled into the turf.
But no sooner had veteran Daniel Giansiracusa taken off the green vest, the Bulldogs' forward line was dealt another blow with Williams hobbling off the ground with a right calf injury.
Williams returned to the field in the third term with his calf heavily strapped and despite clearly being hindered managed to kick a career-best three goals.
With both teams desperate to record their third win of the season, the contest heated up in a see-sawing third quarter.
Livewire Jay Kennedy-Harris sparked the Demons early in the third term, outmaneuvering his older opponent Bob Murphy, to put his side in front by five points for the first time.
The lead then changed a further four times with both sides trading goals, but it was the Demons who went into the final break with the ascendency with Frawley giving Melbourne a five-point advantage.
The Bulldogs took back the lead early in the final term but were unable to wrestle the game away from the Demons who controlled most of the play in their forward 50.
But Melbourne didn't take its chances, and the Bulldogs made them pay, registering their third win of the season as they head into the bye.
MELBOURNE 2.2 5.5 10.6 12.11 (83)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.2 5.7 9.7 15.9 (99)
Melbourne: Kennedy-Harris 2, Frawley 2, Tyson 2, Dawes, Cross, Pedersen, Jamar, Vince, Salem
Western Bulldogs: Crameri 4, Williams 3, Liberatore 2, Tutt 2, Cooney, Griffen, Minson, Giansiracusa
Melbourne: Cross, Tyson, Vince, N.Jones, McDonald, Viney,
Western Bulldogs: Liberatore, Dahlhaus, Cooney, Crameri, Johannisen, Williams,
Melbourne: Frawley (right thigh), Terlich (concussion)
Western Bulldogs: Dickson (left shoulder), Williams (right calf)
Melbourne: Christian Salem replaced Dean Terlich in the third quarter.
Western Bulldogs: Daniel Giansiracusa replaced Tory Dickson in the second quarter.
Umpires: Fleer, Stevic, Stephens
Official crowd: 36,326 at the MCG.