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Match report: Dogs take a walk over Dees

Highlights: Melbourne v Western Bulldogs The Demons and Bulldogs clash in round eight
Jake Stringer and Lachie Hunter savour the win - ${keywords}
Jake Stringer and Lachie Hunter savour the win

THE WESTERN Bulldogs have kept pace with the competition's top sides, moving within a whisker of the top-four after dismantling Melbourne by 32 points on Sunday afternoon.

In the Bulldogs' first expedition away from Etihad Stadium for 2016, and their first match at the MCG since last year's heartbreaking seven-point elimination final loss to Adelaide, they comprehensively outplayed a tired-looking Demons throughout the 17.12 (114) to 12.10 (82) victory.

Bulldogs midfielder Tom Liberatore was dogged in his approach, equalling the VFL/AFL tackles record with 19.

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Liberatore, who also had 25 disposals and seven clearances, joined the Sydney Swans' Jude Bolton and North Melbourne's Jack Ziebell on the sought-after mark.

But it was the even contribution from his team across the board that would have pleased Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge the most.

Marcus Bontempelli (33 disposals and eight clearances) and Luke Dahlhaus (29 and seven tackles) proved devastating for the Dogs in tight at the contest. That allowed Lachie Hunter (34 touches) and Jack Macrae (27) to do the damage on the outside.

The Bulldogs kept in-form Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn to just six disposals and two marks, as Jordan Roughead and Tom Campbell consistently worked him over.

Five talking points: Melbourne v Western Bulldogs

The defensive partnership of Fletcher Roberts and Dale Morris kept an off-target Jesse Hogan, who booted 1.3 for the day, on a tight leash.

Beveridge's men took a 22-point lead into half-time and did not let up after the major break, continuing to be first to the ball at the contest and then move it effectively going forward.

 

"We're happy with the win. I'm not overly pleased with them kicking five goals in the last quarter," a measured Beveridge said after the match.

Libba gets his 'mojo back'

"We may not have capitalised on all of our blatant turn-over and scoring opportunities, but we aim to get better at that week by week.

The Dogs smashed the No.4 ranked Demons in contested possessions (155-126) and they found multiple avenues to goal – a trademark of their attacking prowess.

Melbourne's lack of height in defence was exposed early in the contest as Jack Redpath bagged two goals in the opening quarter. The hard-working big man finished with three for the game and seven marks inside 50, while Jake Stringer chimed in with five majors of his own.

GAMEBREAKER: Redpath proves a viable option

The Bulldogs continually sliced the Demons' zone defence open with precise kicking through the middle of the ground, and they made Melbourne pay for critical errors between the arcs.

In contrast, Melbourne's players were fumbly and reactionary and it had too many passengers.

Typically, Jack Viney gave his all to collect 25 disposals and lay 16 tackles, while Dom Tyson was a workhorse for his team-high 32 possessions.

"We were beaten by a better team," Melbourne coach Paul Roos said. 

"The good thing, being a pretty young team, I liked the way we kept playing. We kept on fighting it out. We made them earn it."

Hogan's yips no concern

To make matters worse for Melbourne, midfielder Bernie Vince was reported for rough conduct for a high bump on Bulldog Mitch Wallis in the second term.

Vince has already missed a week through suspension after being cited for striking in round three, and his experience and class would be desperately missed should the charge be upheld.

 

Lockdown defender Neville Jetta could also be in strife with the Match Review Panel after an errant elbow caught Bontempelli across the chin prior to half-time.

The Bulldogs continue to meet every challenge that is thrown at them, but Beveridge's side will find out where they really sit in the overall scheme of things when they run into the in-form Giants next week

MEDICAL ROOM
Melbourne: Tom Bugg came off the ground in the second term with a knee problem. He played out the game with strapping around his left knee and did not appear to be too distressed.

Western Bulldogs: Jake Stringer suffered a corked calf for the second week running, but did not allow the injury to bother him and was one of the stars of the Bulldogs' win. Fletcher Roberts copped a high hit at the start of the third term but came back on to play a pivotal role on Hogan. 

NEXT UP
Inconsistency continues to hinder Melbourne but it will have the chance to right the ship against the struggling Brisbane Lions at the MCG next Sunday. The Dogs face a stern challenge for their first interstate trip this season when they tackle a blazing Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium

Tom Liberatore lays one of his 19 tackles, this time on Jack Viney. Picture: AFL Media

MELBOURNE                   2.2   5.5     7.9    12.10 (82)
WESTERN BULLDOGS    5.5   8.9   12.10   17.12 (114) 

GOALS
Melbourne: Watts 3, Kennedy 2, Garlett 2, Viney, Petracca, Oliver, McDonald, Hogan
Western Bulldogs: Stringer 5, Redpath 3, Picken 2, Dickson 2, McLean, Liberatore, Wallis, Dale, Hunter 

BEST 
Melbourne: Viney, Tyson, Stretch, Kennedy, McDonald
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Liberatore, Hunter, Dahlhaus, Boyd, Picken, Stringer 

INJURIES 
Melbourne: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Stringer (corked calf), Roberts (head), Roughead (shoulder)

Reports: Bernie Vince reported for rough conduct

Umpires: Schmitt, Findlay, Wallace

Official crowd: 39,921 at the MCG