James Harmes celebrates a goal during round 10, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

WESTERN Bulldogs has climbed to within reach of the top eight after overcoming wayward finishing and a stuttering Greater Western Sydney to win an arm-wrestle by 27 points at Engie Stadium.

The Bulldogs gradually edged ahead without quite putting the Giants away until Aaron Naughton kicked truly from a tough angle for the sealer in an 8.22 (70) to 6.7 (43) triumph on Saturday.

GIANTS v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

The visitors dominated the territory in wet and wild conditions but were at risk of paying the price for their inaccuracy until the dying stages in a match where seven shots slammed into the post.  

Ed Richards (27 disposals, 10 clearances) and Adam Treloar (35, seven) were immense in the Dogs’ midfield, while skipper Marcus Bontempelli (18, 6) was restricted by Callan Ward’s close checking until unleashed in the final term.

Bulldogs recruit James Harmes booted two critical goals while also bolstering the midfield with 18 disposals in arguably his best game for his new club.


Sam Darcy gave more than just glimpses of his budding talents even as heavy rain came down, the 208cm forward-ruck booting two goals while helping to stretch the Giants defence.

While players from both sides regularly mishandled the ball in greasy conditions, Rhylee West had the most trouble in front of goal and finished with 1.4.

But West’s only major came in the most bizarre circumstances as Giants’ midfielder Ward booted the ball the wrong way and into the Dogs’ forward’s lap 30m out and directly in front of goal.

The Dogs now have a 5-5 record, as well as the second-best percentage in the competition, as they have brush off a slow start to the season to move within striking distance of the top eight.


After winning their first five matches of the season, the Giants have now lost four of their past five to slump to a 6-4 record and are at real risk of ending round 10 out of the top eight.

Giants spearhead Jesse Hogan kept his side in the contest with three goals and seven marks in his milestone match, and skipper Toby Greene added three, but the Dogs ultimately had more options in attack.

The hosts shared the ball around their defence with Lachie Whitfield (31 disposals), Harry Himmelberg (30) and Nick Haynes (25) racking up the possessions, but moving it forward with their usual speed proved difficult against the Dogs’ full-field defence.

Tom Green (29 disposals, seven clearances) and Stephen Coniglio (22, five) battled hard in the Giants midfield but the Dogs’ ability to win the clearances 47-37 was a clearer indication of the game.


Old Dog Ward pulls out novel trick
Callan Ward spent four seasons with Western Bulldogs but perhaps momentarily forgot that he joined GWS ahead of their debut season in 2012. The 300-game veteran handed his old club a precious gift on a day when goals were hard to come by with a costly brain fade in the second term. Ward received a handpass from Finn Callaghan in space at the back of a stoppage but then inexplicably turned and bombed the ball towards the Dogs’ goal. Rhylee West was the first to respond and take an uncontested chest mark to leave a stunned Harry Himmelberg standing the mark 30m out and Ward shaking his head in disbelief as the ball sailed through for a goal.


Caleb Daniel misses opportunity to impress
Caleb Daniel was recalled to the Bulldogs lineup for his sixth match of the season but for the third time started as the sub. The 2020 All-Australian had to wait until deep into the final term to be given an opportunity to press his claims for a spot in the starting 22 and could only gather two disposals in less than 10 minutes of playing time. On a day that might have suited the small defender, it might end up being just as much as a notice to other clubs.

Greene shines bright on dog of a day
Toby Greene has almost flown under the radar this season, making an impact without playing a starring role and being unusually wayward near goal. The Giants’ skipper had booted 11.9 with 12 outright misses before facing the Dogs but it was little surprise that he stepped up against his old foes to snap the opening goal. Greene has averaged 2.9 goals a game against the side that tends to bring out the best and the worst in him – his most against any club – and added two goals in the final term but was unable to drag the Giants over the line.  


GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY            2.1       4.4       4.7        6.7 (43)
WESTERN BULLDOGS                        0.5       4.9       5.15      8.22 (70)

Greater Western Sydney: Hogan 3, Greene 3
Western Bulldogs: Harmes 2, Darcy 2, Ugle-Hagan, Vandermeer, West, Naughton

Greater Western Sydney: Green, Coniglio, Greene, Hogan, Whitfield
Western Bulldogs: Richards, Treloar, Harmes, Naughton, Macrae, Williams, Darcy

Greater Western Sydney: Jones (hamstring)
Western Bulldogs: Nil

Greater Western Sydney: Conor Stone (replaced Darcy Jones in the first quarter)
Western Bulldogs: Caleb Daniel (replaced Riley Garcia in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 7,747 at Engie Stadium