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TV ratings bonanza for Dogs' epic win over Giants

Highlights: GWS v Western Bulldogs The Giants and Bulldogs clash in the 2nd preliminary final
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Tory Dickson of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal during the 2016 AFL First Preliminary Final match between the GWS Giants and the Western Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Dogs celebrate their epic preliminary final win over the Giants

THE WESTERN Bulldogs' stirring six-point win over Greater Western Sydney on Saturday has proved a television ratings bonanza.

The preliminary final, which was broadcast by the Seven Network and simulcast on Fox Footy, was the second-most watched game in AFL history outside of a Grand Final.

A viewership of 2.387 million, peaking at 3.65 million nationally, tuned in across free-to-air and pay television to watch the Bulldogs reach their first Grand Final since 1961.

League chief Gillon McLachlan said the pulsating final at Spotless Stadium was "a game for the ages".

"I'd like to again thank our partners for their outstanding coverage of our game and Seven's broadcasts have reached more fans than ever, while the Fox Footy ratings placed the Dogs-Giants game as the most-watched match in the channel's history," McLachlan said in a statement.

Only the Grand Finals and the 2007 preliminary final between Geelong and Collingwood, which drew 2.47 million viewers, have attracted larger audiences.

The AFL's television ratings continue to go from strength to strength, with more viewers than ever before tuning in to watch this year's final series.

Friday night's preliminary final between Geelong and the Sydney Swans peaked at 1.892 million on the Seven Network.

The 2016 season culminates on Saturday afternoon at the MCG, when the Swans and Bulldogs face off in the decider.