Lachie Neale handballs during Brisbane's clash against the Western Bulldogs in round 13, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

AFTER winning the game at the source last week, it was at stoppages that the Western Bulldogs were beaten by Brisbane on Friday night.

Dogs coach Luke Beveridge identified the clearances as the key issue as his side fell to the Lions by 43 points, losing the clearance count 50-32 in the process.

BULLDOGS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

"It was a bit of a challenge, huge challenge actually with the make-up of our brigade in there, we didn't negate their influence for most of the game unfortunately," Beveridge said post-match.

"Difficult to win with (the) landslide of clearance wins that they had."


Brisbane co-captain Lachie Neale starred through the middle, winning a game-high 38 disposals and 10 clearances, while also sliding forward to kick two goals. Although Tom Liberatore attempted to negate Neale in patches on his return from concussion, there wasn't much an individual could do to shut the star out.

On the reverse, Lion Jarrod Berry tagged Marcus Bontempelli and effectively minimised his impact at stoppages, forcing the latter to move into attack. Bontempelli continued to work, kicking three important goals, but his influence at the source was sorely missed.

"His influence as far as quantities of involvement offensively were obviously down a little bit, but as Marcus does, he perseveres," Beveridge said of his captain.

"We just couldn't get enough momentum around the whole ground. We didn't have enough winners."


It will be an area of the ground the Bulldogs will look to improve ahead of next week's clash with Fremantle, a side that boasts an impressive contingent of contested ball-winning players.

"That's where (Fremantle) won the game last time… so yeah, big challenge going into this week when you consider what happened (against Brisbane)," Beveridge said.

He confirmed Alex Keath (hamstring) and Rory Lobb (ankle) both finished the game with injuries, with the former likely to miss against the Dockers. The Dogs also lost Luke Cleary and Jordan Croft to concussion in the earlier VFL game, further thinning their stocks.


For Brisbane coach Chris Fagan, it was a pleasing return from the bye after a frustrating loss to Hawthorn last time out.

"It was good to have the bye, I think we had a few sore boys playing that game against Hawthorn, and a few out as well," Fagan said.

"Wouldn't mind Eric Hipwood against Hawthorn a few weeks ago if he was going to play like that," he followed up with a smile.


Hipwood was impressive in attack for the Lions, kicking an equal career-high six goals – including four in the first half – as he returned from a one-match suspension. Often on the receiving end of external criticism, the forward was the main target inside 50 for Brisbane.

"He plays a really important role for us, tonight he got a scoreboard reward… but I'm so pleased for him. He does cop a lot of flak, most of it unfair, and he helped us achieve a great victory," Fagan said of Hipwood.

But Fagan was also quick to compliment his midfield group for the grunt work they did around the ball.

"When you play against the Bulldogs you've got to be able to match them in contested possession, in clearances, and we did that pretty well… I thought they all contributed particularly well," Fagan said.


"Lachie Neale played a blinder, and Jarrod Berry did a great job on 'Bont' even though 'Bont' went forward and did a little bit of damage. Josh Dunkley was his usual desperate self, and Oscar McInerney I thought did really well in the ruck against Tim English so it was a great all-round performance by our midfielders and they really set the tone for the day."

Another win for the Lions was coming out of the game unscathed after being hit hard by injuries this year. Conor McKenna was subbed out after tweaking his ankle, but the decision was largely down to Noah Answerth being the unused sub.

"(McKenna) could have kept playing but we had Noah Answerth sitting there who plays as a small defender, so we just took him off the ground," Fagan confirmed.