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Five talking points: Carton v Western Bulldogs

Highlights: Carlton v Western Bulldogs The Blues and Bulldogs clash in round 22

Honours even in battle of the young stars

With little on the line for both sides, the eyes of neutrals were fixed on Patrick Cripps' individual battle with Marcus Bontempelli. Two of the game's most exciting midfielders, the pair frequently stood next to each other at stoppages – giving fans exactly what they came to see. The match-up pitted Cripps' brute strength against Bont's class and composure, with both able to influence proceedings for their side. In the end, it was hard to split the pair in terms of who won their mini-duel. Cripps finished with 29 disposals, six clearances and six tackles, while Bontempelli had 37 disposals and five clearances in another impressive display.

 

BLUES GET THE SPOON Full match coverage and stats

The Dogs show their depth

While the two stars of the show more or less broke even, the Dogs were able to overwhelm the Blues through the midfield with their strength in numbers. Coming off a game in which the Dogs became the first side to ever have three players win 40 possessions, their major ball-winners were again busy. Josh Dunkley (36 disposals, six tackles), Lachie Hunter (33 disposals, one goal) and Jack Macrae (33 disposals, seven clearances) were all influential and were able to eventually see off a young Blues midfield group. Combined with Bontempelli, that quartet ensured the Dogs had more than enough to secure their third straight win.

 

Young trio give Blues hope for the future

Carlton got a glimpse of the future just 10 minutes into Sunday's game: Harry McKay, to Tom De Koning, to Charlie Curnow. It was the first time the Blues had trialled their new-look three-pronged forward line, with all three promising prospects 21 years of age or younger. De Koning, a lanky 201cm forward, was the newest of the bunch – making his debut against the side his father, Terry, played 31 games for in the 1980s. He delivered a rather impressive showing, winning 11 disposals from five marks and kicking his first goal in senior footy midway through the second quarter. Brendon Bolton would like what he saw from the talented 19-year-old.

 

Speed kills for the Dogs

A feature of the Dogs' return to form over the last month has been the run provided by Jason Johannisen across half-back. He showed little sign of slowing down, literally, against the Blues. Marked loosely by Sam Petrevski-Seton and Cam Polson, the Bulldogs speedster was still given room to roam and was able to influence proceedings with his run and carry. His elite line-breaking speed, combined with penetrating foot skills, made him one of the Dogs' best players on the afternoon. He finished with 24 disposals and was rewarded as well with his goal at the death, which put his side four goals to the good, killing the match as a contest.

 

Halted in the premiership quarter, Dogs still see off Blues

Whatever Luke Beveridge has been telling his team at half-time has been working recently. Having kicked eight goals to nothing in the third quarter against St Kilda a fortnight ago and eight to two against North Melbourne last week, the Western Bulldogs looked to come out breathing fire in the third term on Sunday. Trailing by two points at the main break, things looked ominous when Mitch Wallis converted less than a minute into the second half. But the Blues managed to quickly halt their run. Although Beveridge's team limited Carlton to just one goal, the Bulldogs managed only two themselves at the other end. Ultimately, it mattered little, with the Dogs able to overrun the Blues towards the end to walk away 17-point winners.