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Preview: Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne

Nat Edwards  March 25, 2014 7:07 PM

Game changers: Luke Dalhaus Watch the highlights reel of the Bulldogs star
This looms as an intriguing clash, with both sides desperate to notch their first wins of the season. The heat has been on North Melbourne following its 39-point loss to Essendon last Friday night. Touted as a top-four contender during the off-season, the Kangaroos failed to live up to expectations in round one, struggling to get their hands on the ball. The Western Bulldogs are also winless, with West Coast’s pressure too much for the young Dogs to handle on Sunday. North Melbourne needs to find some firepower up forward with Lindsay Thomas the only multiple goalkicker for North in round one, while former Saint Nick Dal Santo needs to step up and show Roos fans why he was recruited.  The Bulldogs will be hoping to regain their confidence and one player to watch is 19-year-old midfielder Jack Macrae, who was superb against the Eagles with 31 possessions and two goals.




WHERE AND WHEN:
Etihad Stadium, Sunday March 30, 4:40pm  

TV AND RADIO: Click here for the broadcast guide  

LAST FIVE TIMES
R7, 2013, North Melbourne 22.19 (151) d Western Bulldogs 15.7 (97) at Etihad Stadium
R19, 2012, North Melbourne 18.7 (115) d Western Bulldogs 8.13 (61) at Etihad Stadium
R7, 2012, Western Bulldogs 15.11 (101) d North Melbourne 12.11 (83) at Etihad Stadium
R17, 2011, North Melbourne 21.16 (142) d Western Bulldogs 17.9 (111) at Etihad Stadium
R18, 2010, Western Bulldogs 22.11 (143) d North Melbourne 10.12 (72) at Etihad Stadium

THE SIX POINTS
1. North Melbourne comfortably defeated Western Bulldogs the last time the sides met, winning by 54 points in round seven, 2013 at Etihad Stadium. Majak Daw starred, kicking six goals.
2. No team had fewer Inside 50s in round one than the Bulldogs (37) while the Kangaroos also struggled with only 40.
3. The Kangaroos have won three of the past four clashes between the sides but the Bulldogs hold the advantage since 2009 with five wins to three.
4. North Melbourne had the least number of disposals in round one with just 291, the only team to be under 300 while the Bulldogs were fifth with 395.
5. This will be the 153rd clash between the sides and the overall record is tight, with 75 wins to the Bulldogs, 74 to the Kangaroos and three draws.
6. The Bulldogs will be hoping skipper Ryan Griffen will return for this clash after struggling with a back complaint in the past five weeks. Griffen is ranked No.7 in the AFL Official Player Rankings. 

Prediction: North Melbourne by 16 points.