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Dogs pulverise Power

Bulldog Robert Murphy is wrapped up by Brett Ebert of Port Adelaide at TIO Stadium on Saturday night
THE WESTERN Bulldogs will enter the second half of the season third on the ladder after thrashing Port Adelaide by 93 points at TIO Stadium in Darwin on Saturday evening.

The 21.11 (137) to 7.2 (44) win will leave the Dogs one game clear of the fourth-placed sides at the end of the split round with 10 home-and-away rounds remaining.

Meanwhile, the result has Port Adelaide in jeopardy of falling out of the eight altogether, owing to its low percentage.

The Dogs were simply too good for the depleted Power outfit, almost toying with their opposition after half time.

The Power's score was the lowest they've ever recorded against the Bulldogs, while the Dogs shared their big tally around with 13 individual goal-kickers. 

Ryan Hargrave was terrific for the Dogs with 29 touches – 14 of which were in the first half – and Daniel Cross was solid across all quarters with 37 possessions and five tackles.

Jarrod Harbrow was great against Robbie Gray, Liam Picken blanketed Danyle Pearce, Adam Cooney had 35 possessions and Callan Ward 33.

Robert Murphy got through his first game in a month and spent it down back against Brett Ebert, while up the other end and across the ground, Shaun Higgins was in fine touch.

Meanwhile, Port Adelaide's Daniel Motlop missed the last quarter with a possible reoccurrence of an ankle injury.

The Power's captain Domenic Cassisi tried to lift his side while Toby Thurstans was solid in defence, but with four Bulldogs clearing 30 touches to the Power's one, there were simply too many deficiencies in their midfield.

The match was played in 27-degree heat and saw the players rushing to the cool rooms at each break.

The first goal went Brad Johnson's way after the skipper marked within range three minutes in, and Cooney and Brett Ebert shanked shots shortly after as the sides got used to the conditions.

It took another 11 minutes before another major was registered, which went to Will Minson after he out-marked Thurstans.

Daniel Motlop got the Power's first, but at 17 minutes in, his side didn't have much time to capitalise.

The Dogs won the first term clearances 10 to seven, and as a consequence, took the ball inside 50 five more times while the Power lost not only the ruck count but failed to take a contested mark.

Two late goals to Lindsay Gilbee and an impressive snap from Ryan Griffen had the Dogs 19 points clear at the first change.

Despite fighting back at the clearances in the second, the Power paid for an early slumber as the Bulldogs piled on two goals in the first three minutes and moved 31 points in front.

Led by Griffen and Harbrow, the Dogs applied heavy pressure after the Power got their first goal of the quarter through Ebert, and the result saw the ‘home’ side get the next two shots on goal that resulted in a major to Ward.

Warren Tredrea steadied the ship with his first at the 16-minute mark, but the Power were still 27 points in arrears. A late major to David Rodan – which came after a spectacular run from the centre square – drew them closer, but the Dogs rounded out the half with Minson's second.

The half time margin was 28 points, and after kicking the first goal of the second half through Mitch Hahn, the Dogs' accuracy briefly deserted them.

It took 10 minutes until they got their second goal of the half, but that opened a flood of majors with Jason Akermanis, Hahn and Johnson booting three straight.

As the Dogs moved clear, the Power couldn't get their hands on the ball. For the third quarter alone, the Dogs had 60 more possessions and entered the final stanza leading the count 361 to 239 and with a 55-point lead.

In the final term, the Bulldogs kicked eight goals to two to finish the job strongly.

Both teams now have a week off with the Bulldogs to resume against North Melbourne on Sunday 28 June, and the Power to play Geelong at Skilled Stadium.

Western Bulldogs  4.2  8.5  13.9  21.11 (137)
Port Adelaide  1.1  4.1  5.2  7.2 (44)  

GOALS
Western Bulldogs:
Hill 3, Johnson 3, Minson 3, Giansiracusa 2, Hahn 2, Gilbee, Griffen, Picken, Akermanis, Boyd, Ward, Hudson, Higgins
Port Adelaide: Ebert 2, D. Motlop, Rodan, Tredrea, J. Westhoff, Cassisi

BEST
Western Bulldogs:
Cross, Hargrave, Cooney, Griffen, Harbrow, Picken, Higgins, Gilbee, Minson
Port Adelaide: Cassisi, Rodan, K. Cornes, Thurstans

INJURIES
Western Bulldogs:
Nil
Port Adelaide:
Motlop (ankle)

Reports:
Nil

Umpires:
Stevic, Wenn, Hendrie

Official crowd: 11,306 at TIO Stadium 

The views contained in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the clubs or the AFL

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