A THIRD-quarter blitz has catapulted the Western Bulldogs back into the top eight, bursting Melbourne's three-week bubble of hope in the process.
BULLDOGS v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats
Six unanswered goals from the Dogs turned a seven-point Demons half-time lead into an unassailable 27-point buffer at the final break.
>> WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
Built off gut-running and a whopping 42 more uncontested possessions in the third term alone, the Dogs set-up their 12.8 (80) to 7.10 (52) victory in style at Metricon Stadium.
It saw the Dogs take the Demons' spot in the top eight, ending Melbourne's run of three consecutive wins by in excess of 50 points.
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Both sides traded blows early in blustery conditions only for Melbourne to kick quick back-to-back goals from stoppages in the shadows of half-time to jump to the lead.
The Dogs took on a more aggressive approach after the main break with half-backs Hayden Crozier, Bailey Williams, Jason Johannisen and Caleb Daniel setting up the turnaround, while Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Liberatore were brilliant around the stoppages throughout.
ROUNDS 13-18 Check out the full fixture
With Josh Bruce taking the ruck duties from Tim English and Josh Dunkley, the Dogs relied on attacks from defence with six of their first 10 goals generated from their back half.
An early fourth-quarter goal from Demon Tom McDonald, with the aid of the breeze, threatened to cause an arm wrestle before Mitch Wallis settled proceedings with his fourth major moments later.
The Demons were forced to reshuffle their structure just minutes prior to the bounce when former captain Nathan Jones was withdrawn with a quad concern and replaced by forward Mitch Hannan.
Mitch the Coleman contender?
Yes, Mitch Wallis sits in the top 10 in the race for the Coleman Medal. The midfielder-turned-forward provided the focus for the Dogs in attack on Saturday as spearhead Aaron Naughton was well held by Demons full-back Steven May. Wallis booted a career-high four goals playing often as the deepest forward, his majors coming through one-on-one marking or on the ground. It took his season tally to 20 majors.
Bevo's ruck tactics pay off
Western Bulldogs No.1 ruckman Tim English spent more time in attack than in the ruck on Saturday as Luke Beveridge continued his left-field tactics. Demons big man Braydon Preuss had the better of the hitouts in the first half rucking against English or midfielder Josh Dunkley. Then after one disposal to the main break, Josh Bruce was thrown into the centre bounce for the second half with instant success. He was part of the set-up for Marcus Bontempelli's first goal in the opening stages of the third term, before providing a contest for much of the rest of the match. It allowed Tim English to be stationed at full-forward and expose the Demons defence for height and take the pressure off Aaron Naughton as the main target.
Melksham makes up for 'mare
Experienced Melbourne forward Jake Melksham was left red-faced when he kicked into the man on the mark from 25m during the second term as the Demons mounted a charge. Just moments later he made amends for his troubles with a piercing goal on his left boot from beyond 50m. It proved to be a frustrating day for the former Bomber, who finished with 1.3.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.4 4.4 10.5 12.8 (80)
MELBOURNE 1.3 5.5 5.8 7.10 (52)
Western Bulldogs: Wallis 4, McLean, Vandermeer, Liberatore, Bontempelli, Smith, Williams, English, Cavarra
Melbourne: Weideman 2, Melksham, Oliver, Fritsch, McDonald, Spargo
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Liberatore, Smith, Wallis, Macrae, Hunter
Melbourne: May, Viney, Petracca, Weideman, Oliver
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Melbourne: Sparrow (shoulder), Jones (quad) replaced in selected side by Hannan