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2021 Toyota AFL Premiership
Semi Finals • Brisbane Lions v Western Bulldogs
78 11.12
Full Time Bulldogs by 1
79 11.13
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    Final teams, subs locked in: Follow Lions-Dogs LIVE

    Two of the highest-scoring teams in the competition go head-to-head for the right to face Port Adelaide in a preliminary final

    Follow it LIVE: Brisbane v Western Bulldogs in a do-or-die semi-final from 7.20pm AEST. Picture: AFL Media

    FINAL TEAMS

    NO LATE CHANGES

    MEDICAL SUBS
    Brisbane: Ryan Lester
    Western Bulldogs: Jason Johannisen

    LIONS v DOGS Follow it live

    SUMMARY

    This looms as a mouthwatering match-up of two high-scoring teams with the Western Bulldogs regaining form in Sunday's elimination final win over Essendon and now heading to Brisbane's Gabba fortress to confront a wounded Lions. Chris Fagan's team is missing crucial forward Dan McStay and have selected key defender Jack Payne to come in. Both midfields are stacked with talent, and this is where the match should be won though. Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, Tom Liberatore and company up against Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons and Dayne Zorko will be riveting viewing. 

    Where and when: Gabba, Saturday September 4, 7.20pm AEST
    The teams: Latest selections here

    05:24 Mins
    Published on

    Match Previews Finals W2: Brisbane Lions v Western Bulldogs

    Sportsbet's Nathan Brown, Matthew Richardson and Matthew Lloyd preview the game between the Lions and Bulldogs at the Gabba.

    Published on

    WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR? 

    Round 4: Western Bulldogs 10.13 (73) def Brisbane 8.6 (54) at Mars Stadium

    Tim English led the Dogs' three-pronged forward line at windy Ballarat, kicking three goals in a comfortable win. They led by 26 points at half-time and despite Brisbane hanging in, were never really threatened. Aaron Naughton added two goals as the Bulldogs' height worried the Lions' defence, while Adam Treloar (29 disposals) was the best midfielder on the ground.

    06:45 Mins
    Published on

    Highlights: Western Bulldogs v Brisbane

    The Bulldogs and Lions clash in round four

    Published on

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR

    Brisbane
    How the Lions cover for the loss of McStay will be fascinating. They're 14-4 with him in the team this year and missed his bash-and-crash link play against the Demons. With Eric Hipwood already missing there is no obvious like-for-like replacement. Payne has come into the side, but he is a defender so a reshuffle is on the cards. A lot will be expected of Joe Daniher after he went goalless for the first time in 2021 last week.

    00:15 Mins
    Published on

    Huge Lions blow with McStay subbed off

    Brisbane has suffered a cruel injury blow with Daniel McStay forced out of the game after this incident

    Published on

    Western Bulldogs
    After three poor weeks to finish the home and away season, the midfield got to work against the Bombers, dominating clearances and contested possessions to provide the forward line with quality looks. It's a blueprint that served the Bulldogs well for 20 weeks, and more of the same against the Lions will take them a long way towards victory.

    00:48 Mins
    Published on

    High-flying Naughton puts icing on cake

    Aaron Naughton hauls in two superb marks and finishes off his good work to pile on more misery for the Bombers

    Published on

    THE STATS THAT MATTER

    Brisbane
    Over the past three home and away seasons the Lions have a win-loss record of 28-2 at the Gabba. In the finals, that record is just 1-3. Watch for the Lions' scoring power as well. When they've scored more than 90 points in 2021, they're 13-1 (and that one loss came in the opening round to Sydney), but less than 90 it's 2-7.

    Western Bulldogs
    Winning the ball at the source is crucial for the Bulldogs. When they've won the clearance count their record is 13-4 (and one of those losses was after the siren against Geelong). When they lose the clearances? An even split of three wins and three losses. As extension of that is clearance king Tom Liberatore and his influence. When he has 25 disposals or more the Dogs are 11-2. When he dips under that, 4-5.

    IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR… 

    Brisbane
    Lions full-back Harris Andrews played one of his worst games of the season against Melbourne and faces another huge challenge against Aaron Naughton. With some sore bodies around him, Brisbane needs Andrews back near his best to silence the Bulldogs' talls.

    Brisbane's Harris Andrews spoils Melbourne's Bayley Fritsch in the 2021 qualifying final. Picture: AFL Photos

    Western Bulldogs
    Whoever ends up defending Charlie Cameron, possibly Taylor Duryea. Cameron kicked five goals against Melbourne last week and again looms as the Lions' danger man. Former skipper Easton Wood might also slide across to spend some time on the slippery forward.

    Taylor Duryea waves to the crowd after Western Bulldogs' 2021 elimination final win over Essendon. Picture: AFL Photos

    PREDICTION

    Brisbane by eight points. You could honestly toss a coin over this, but the Lions are a different team at the Gabba and will lift on last week's effort in front of their home crowd.

    MATCH REPORT

    BY A NOSE: Dogs pip Lions at the death in all-time classic

    A match of momentum swings finishes with the Western Bulldogs' in front by the barest of margins

    Western Bulldogs celebrate on the siren after beating Brisbane in an epic semi-final, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

    THERE'S a touch of 2016 building for the Western Bulldogs after they won a pulsating semi-final against Brisbane by a solitary point in front of a packed Gabba on Saturday night.

    The Bulldogs trailed by 12 points late in the third quarter, but a Laitham Vandermeer scrubbed behind inside the final 60 seconds proved the ultimate difference in the 11.13 (79) to 11.12 (78) victory.

    They will now hit the road for a third straight week and face Port Adelaide in a preliminary final at Adelaide Oval next weekend.

    LIONS v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

    It was a final that had just about everything, from concussed players for both teams to spectacular goals in a final quarter that just kept delivering.

    07:58 Mins
    Published on

    Highlights: Brisbane v Western Bulldogs

    The Lions and the Bulldogs clash in the semi finals

    Published on

    With scores level and two minutes remaining, Bailey Smith looked like he'd kicked the match-winner with a brilliant running effort on his left boot, only for Lion Zac Bailey to answer 45 seconds later with his own scintillating goal on the run.

    FIVE TALKING POINTS Smith not the only Bulldog with ice in his veins

    With 75 seconds remaining, the Bulldogs won a free kick from the next centre bounce and from the ensuing inside 50 entry, Vandermeer was able to get his toe on the ball and scrub through the most crucial behind.

    Both teams were spent as the final siren sounded.

    Lincoln McCarthy shows his pain on the final siren of 2021's first semi-final. Picture: AFL Photos

    Jack Macrae (38 disposals and a goal) was magnificent, as was Caleb Daniel (31) for the victors.

    Skipper Marcus Bontempelli was also a major influence but was assisted from the ground late in the final term clutching his knee.

    The Bulldogs played the second half without goalsneak Cody Weightman who was subbed off at half-time with concussion, while Brisbane played the final two quarters a man down after Jack Payne (head gash) and Jarrod Berry (concussion) were both ruled out.

    The loss will devastate the Lions who bow out in two straight finals for the second time in three years despite generating 68 inside 50s to 54.

    05:17 Mins
    Published on

    Last two mins: Insane finish as Dogs pull off stunner

    Enjoy the thrilling final moments between the Lions and Bulldogs at the Gabba

    Published on

    They lost the free kick count 28-19, including some contentious decisions late.

    All night it was a battle of the Bulldogs' superiority at ground level up against a Lions team that wanted to transition the ball through the corridor to give their small forwards room to work in.

    LIONS' 'BEST YEAR' Fagan philosophical after devastating loss

    Hugh McCluggage was fantastic for Brisbane with 28 disposals, a goal and two assists, while Jarryd Lyons and Mitch Robinson also worked themselves into the ground.

    Just as he did against Melbourne at Adelaide Oval seven days earlier, Charlie Cameron set the Gabba alight with three goals in the opening quarter as Easton Wood struggled to go with him on the lead or at ground level.

    00:57 Mins
    Published on

    Charlie chants roar after this absolute stunner

    Charlie Cameron gets the Gabba rocking after notching his third goal of the term in scintillating style

    Published on

    The third of his trio was a phenomenal effort, sprinting full speed towards the right forward pocket, tapping the ball to himself, gathering and then pulling it back across his body to ignite the home crowd.

    But after the Lions took an 11-point lead to the first change, the Bulldogs began to win the arm wrestle in the second, with excellent set shots by Aaron Naughton and Mitch Hannan and a terrific snap by Cody Weightman giving them a lead at the main break.

    BRISBANE                                5.3      6.5      9.9      11.12 (78)
    WESTERN BULLDOGS         3.4      6.6      7.11    11.13 (79)

    GOALS    
    Brisbane: Cameron 3, Bailey 2, Daniher, Fullarton, Lester, McCarthy, McCluggage, Robinson
    Western Bulldogs: B.Smith 3, Liberatore 2, Hannan, Johannisen, Macrae, Naughton, Schache, Weightman

    BEST    
    Brisbane: McCluggage, Zorko, Cameron, Robinson, Lyons, Coleman
    Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Daniel, Bontempelli, B.Smith, Keath, Liberatore     

    INJURIES    
    Brisbane: Payne (head); Berry (concussion)
    Western Bulldogs: Weightman (concussion), Bontempelli (knee)     

    SUBSTITUTES    
    Brisbane: Ryan Lester (replaced Jack Payne)
    Western Bulldogs: Jason Johannisen (Cody Weightman)

    Crowd: 36,470 at the Gabba

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