AN ACL injury to premiership midfielder Tom Liberatore has topped off a nightmare first game of the season for the Western Bulldogs.
Beaten preliminary finalists Greater Western Sydney pummelled the 2016 premiers in Canberra on Sunday, winning their clash by a whopping 82 points.
The Giants kicked the first four goals of the game and were never challenged in the 20.13 (133) to 7.9 (51) romp, as stars Jeremy Cameron (six goals) and Toby Greene (four) ran riot up forward.
While the Bulldogs were completely smashed at UNSW Oval in front of 10,454 fans, the biggest worry was Liberatore, who now faces a second knee reconstruction.
WATCH: Jezza snags his third
Coach Luke Beveridge confirmed the worst after the game, and pledged that the Bulldogs would support the 25-year-old midfielder through his rehab.
"It's really unfortunate and disappointing. We were hoping for a bit of good luck with injury this year, but we haven't started off too well," he said.
"It's going to be a grind again, it's a tough time to recuperate from an ACL injury and Tom had a tough time of it last time, so we need to support him through it.
Liberatore is out of contract at the end of this season, and is an unrestricted free agent.
The Dogs seemed to lift when Liberatore went off in the first quarter after a lacklustre start, kicking the next three goals to only be five points behind at quarter-time.
But it was all the classy Giants from there as they booted 16 goals to four after the first change.
They were led sensationally by key on-ballers Stephen Coniglio (32 possessions and two goals), Josh Kelly (29 and two) and Dylan Shiel, while Tim Taranto also played an integral role.
GWS' new-look half-back line performed well, with former No.1 draft pick Lachie Whitfield slotting in seamlessly after Nathan Wilson's move to Fremantle and the injury to Zac Williams.
Giants coach Leon Cameron was pleased his team was able to fire first up after being smashed at the Adelaide Oval by the Crows in round one last year.
"The last couple of years we haven't won round one," Cameron said.
"There's four points for every round so they're no different but just the build and anticipation after the pre-season that makes the game a bit bigger."
On a dark day for the Bulldogs, Jack Macrae, Luke Dahlhaus and Lachie Hunter found plenty of the ball and young ruckman Tim English showed some promise in his fourth game.
Captain Easton Wood was anonymous in attack, managing just seven disposals and not troubling the scorer.
Greater Western Sydney: The Giants got through the game unscathed.
Western Bulldogs: Liberatore is a huge loss for the visitors, while Hayden Crozier also had his right knee strapped during the game, and finished on the bench iced up.
WATCH: Knee fears as Libba goes down
The Giants are on the road again when they take on Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday evening, while the Dogs head back to Melbourne to meet West Coast at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.2 11.4 17.4 20.12 (133)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.3 4.4 5.6 7.9 (51)
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 6, Greene 4, Patton 2, Kelly 2, Coniglio 2, Himmelberg, Shiel, Langdon, Tomlinson
Western Bulldogs: Suckling, Gowers, Roughead, Dunkley, Johannisen, Dale, Honeychurch
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron, Coniglio, Greene, Kelly, Finlayson, Taranto, Whitfield, Shiel, Shaw
Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Hunter, Dahlhaus
Greater Western Sydney: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Tom Liberatore (knee), Hayden Crozier (knee)
Umpires: Meredith, Harris, Mitchell
Official crowd: 10,454 at UNSW Canberra Oval