Calsher Dear celebrates a goal during the round eight match between Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium, May 5, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

THE PRESSURE has gone up another notch at Whitten Oval after Hawthorn held on for a major upset win over the Western Bulldogs.

Hawks captain James Sicily led superbly after suffering a dislocated shoulder early in the game and kicked what turned out to be the winning goal in Sunday's 14.14 (98) to 14.7 (91) win at Marvel Stadium.

BULLDOGS v HAWKS Full match coverage and stats

Bulldogs young gun Jamarra Ugle-Hagan was paid a free kick late in the game and had a chance to level the scores, but his shot hit the behind post for out of bounds on the full and it proved the Bulldogs' last chance, with Hawthorn clearing out of defence then scoring a behind on the siren.


The Hawks' second win of the season comes a week after top side Sydney mauled them by 76 points.

It leaves the Bulldogs on the brink at 3-5 and comes after a difficult few days for coach Luke Beveridge.

Essendon ruckman Sam Draper said in a podcast last week that several Bulldogs players would leave the club at the end of the season if Beveridge stayed as coach.


Beveridge labelled Draper's comment "bizarre" and Bombers coach Brad Scott called it disrespectful.

The Bulldogs bounced Hawthorn with the first three goals of the game in the opening five minutes.

But the Hawks steadied and, with debutant Calsher Dear kicking his first goal, they only trailed by five points at the first change.


Dear is the son of Hawthorn premiership player and Norm Smith medallist Paul Dear, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2022.

His mother Cherie flew in from a European holiday early this morning to watch him play.

Debutant Calsher Dear with family before the round eight match between the Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium, May 5, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Sicily was in agony after being crunched in a first-quarter marking contest and left the field, but he returned at half-time and the key defender went forward.

The Hawks hit the front early in the second term and stayed there until midway through the fourth, when three Bulldogs goals put them back in front.


But majors to Jack Ginnivan and Sicily put the pressure back on the Bulldogs.

Bailey Williams kicked his second to reduce the margin to six points in the final frenetic minutes, but that was the last goal of the game.


Captain Marcus Bontempelli was mighty in a losing cause with 26 possessions, seven clearances and two goals, while Jai Newcombe also impressed in the midfield for Hawthorn and teammate Connor Macdonald kicked three goals.

In a further blow to the Bulldogs, midfielder Tom Liberatore appeared to suffer a collapse similar to his round five incident against Essendon.

The star midfielder was involved in a head clash in the first quarter but was cleared to rejoin the fray, before going to ground during the final term and being assessed on the bench.


Dear Dad, this one's for you
Everyone loves a goal on debut, and when the goalkicker is the son of a club premiership hero it's guaranteed to get the fans screaming with delight. But when that flag champion passed away two years before getting a chance to see his offspring wearing the jumper at the top level, the emotions are going to run at peak level. When 1991 Norm Smith medalist Paul Dear died in July 2022 his son Calsher was 16 years old and not considered a likely AFL level player, but the youngest of Paul's three sons has been on a continual upward curve, so few were surprised when he kicked the Hawks' second goal on Sunday and gave the side - and all football supporters with a heartbeat - an emotional lift. As the commentary team said Dear had "an angel riding on his right shoulder" and the wishes of thousands under his wings.


Fast start or false start?
There have been plenty of question marks over the Bulldogs this year, with a bit of extra attention thrown on the club by Sam Draper's comments through the week, so it was always going to be interesting to see in what frame of mind they started Sunday's clash. Fifteen seconds after the opening bounce it looked like the answer was through as Laitham Vandermeer slotted the first goal of the game - one of the quickest starts ever. With three on the board in the first three minutes things looked good, but by the end of the afternoon there were as many questions around life at the Kennel as there had been pre-match - maybe more. At least Dogs fans had a moment to believe, even if it was just a moment.


Jack's done it all, yet we know there'll be more
Has there been a more eventful first 50 games? Since being taken by Collingwood in the 2020 rookie draft, Jack Ginnivan has been an immediate polariser of fans, won an ANZAC Day Medal with a five-goal performance, effectively changed a rule interpretation in a manner that took Kevin Bartlett more than 400 games to achieve, won a Premiership medallion and been traded to the club he loved as a child. And in typical fashion he finished a quiet game on Sunday with the goal to snatch back the lead for the final time. Whether we get another 10 years or just 10 matches out of Ginnivan no-one knows, but however long the ride lasts, we can be sure there'll be headlines along the way.

Jack Ginnivan is tackled by James Harmes during the round eight match between Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium, May 5, 2024. Picture: Getty Images


WESTERN BULLDOGS  5.1    6.3    8.7    14.7 (91)
HAWTHORN                 4.2    7.5    9.9    14.14 (98)

Western Bulldogs: Vandermeer 2, Naughton 2, Williams 2, Bontempelli 2, English 2, Ugle-Hagan 2, Richards, Darcy,
Hawthorn: Macdonald 3, Gunston 2, Dear 2, Weddle, Ward, Newcombe, Moore, Meek, Sicily, Ginnivan

Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, English, Dale, Treloar, Harmes, Richards
Hawthorn: Sicily, Impey, Meek, Nash, Moore, Newcombe

Western Bulldogs: TBC
Hawthorn: Sicily (shoulder)

Western Bulldogs:
Oskar Baker, replaced Charlie Clarke in the third quarter
Nick Watson, replaced Cam Mackenzie in the third quarter

Crowd: 29,555 at Marvel Stadium