Marcus Bontempelli celebrates a goal during the Western Bulldogs' clash against Collingwood in round 12, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THE WESTERN Bulldogs have persisted in the face of a Nick Daicos onslaught to hand Collingwood its first loss since round two, winning by 18 points on Friday night.

Compounding last week's injury woes, the Dogs lost another two players to injury in the opening half, but fought on to run out 15.10 (100) to 12.10 (82) winners under the Marvel Stadium roof, soundtracked by a vocal Pies crowd.

MAGPIES v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

Marcus Bontempelli's sheer will to keep his side motivated was enthralling, as the captain finished the game with 38 disposals, 10 clearances and two goals in an inspirational performance.

Meanwhile, Sam Darcy (three goals, five contested marks) was the star inside 50, shaking off an ugly first-quarter incident which will have him under the MRO microscope, to dominate the air in attack and do the damage on the scoreboard.


Despite giving up four of the first five goals of the game, the Dogs kept the Pies within arm's reach for much of the game to be within striking distance late.

Their surge was also assisted by a lack of organisation in Collingwood's front half in the final term, with the Pies struggling to pick out options without the focal point of Brody Mihocek.


Daicos (32 disposals, 16 clearances, two goals) set the world alight, breaking Collingwood's clearance record in the process. His work through stoppages was one thing, but his spread from the contest exposed the Dogs for a lack of defensive accountability at times.

Bontempelli attempted to limit the young star himself in the third quarter, but the team-first mindset of other Pies – particularly Lachie Sullivan – impeded the Dogs captain's efforts.


Both donning the bright orange boots, Daicos and Jack Crisp started the game at a blistering pace, the pair combining for 15 disposals, 10 contested possessions, and two goals in the first quarter alone.

With those two leading the way, Collingwood looked like world beaters in that term. Exiting stoppages with ease, attacking directly, and neatly cutting through the Dogs' defence. But it couldn't put a gap on the scoreboard, converting only five goals from 12 scores.


As a result, the Dogs smelled blood in the water, and when they won control, they were deadly in front of goal. The Pies' kicking efficiency plummeted in the second term, and the Bulldogs capitalised on the turnover opportunities, enjoying a five-goal quarter of their own.

Adam Treloar (37 disposals, 11 clearances, one goal) continued to lead through action in the middle, and emerging Dog Riley Garcia (21 disposals, four tackles) offered a spark through the contest.

Despite the loss, Lachie Schultz enjoyed his best return at goal in his new colours, with three goals from 14 disposals, while the defensive efforts of Beau McCreery (14 tackles, four clearances) were important.


A dirty quarter for Darcy
A mere four minutes into the game, young Bulldog Sam Darcy drew the ire of the vocal Collingwood crowd. As the Dogs worked to exit defence, Pie Brayden Maynard was the only player sitting under the drop of the ball. As he waited for the footy, Darcy ran in to make a contest, but arrived late and launched into Maynard, sending him to the ground, and Collingwood players to Darcy. Maynard was given a 50m penalty as a result, and kicked a goal before leaving the ground for a head injury assessment. The Pie was cleared to return to the game soon after. It was a dirty quarter for Darcy, though, as five minutes later he handed another 50m penalty to the Pies for running into the protected zone of a Jack Crisp free kick. But he was able to get back on track after a horror first quarter, presenting well inside 50, marking the footy, and becoming a reliable conduit to goal.


Undisciplined Dogs
It wasn't just Sam Darcy lacking discipline early. Veteran defender Taylor Duryea was reported for striking in the first quarter after a stray elbow copped Nick Daicos in the jaw. The pair were scuffling after competing for the footy in Collingwood's forward pocket, and as the ball moved up onto the wing and out of danger for the Bulldogs, Duryea threw an arm out to find some space away from Daicos, and made contact. The incident saw the Pie paid a free kick 50m off the ball, from which he goaled.


Early sub
For the second week running, the Western Bulldogs were forced to activate their sub in the opening quarter due to injury. Last week it was a concussion to Anthony Scott, this week it was a hamstring concern for James Harmes. With his side on the back foot, the Bulldog was running in front of the benches to assist his side in defence, but pulled up short. He immediately came to the bench and went straight into the rooms, only to be subbed out a minute later. And by the second quarter they were down to three rotations, with Laitham Vandermeer also suffering a hamstring injury and playing no further part in the game.

COLLINGWOOD                  5.7     8.8     12.9      12.10 (82)  
WESTERN BULLDOGS         3.2     8.5     10.9     15.10 (100)  

Collingwood: Schultz 3, N.Daicos 2, J.Daicos 2, Maynard, Markov, Lipinski, Hill, Crisp
Western Bulldogs:
Darcy 3, Ugle-Hagan 2, McNeil 2, Macrae 2, Bontempelli 2, West, Vandermeer, Treloar, Lobb

Collingwood: N.Daicos, Crisp, J.Daicos, Schultz, Sullivan
Western Bulldogs:
Bontempelli, Treloar, Darcy, Garcia, Sanders

Collingwood: Nil
Western Bulldogs:
Harmes (hamstring), Vandermeer (hamstring)

Collingwood: Wil Parker (replaced John Noble in the fourth quarter)
Western Bulldogs:
Lachie McNeil (replaced James Harmes in the first quarter)

Crowd: 43,298 at Marvel Stadium