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Impressive Bulldogs put some serious bite on the Swans

Highlights: Sydney Swans v Bulldogs The Swans and Bulldogs clash in round five
Jake Stringer and Stewart Crameri of the Bulldogs celebrate during the 2015 AFL Round 05 match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at the SCG, Sydney on May 02, 2015. (Photo: Anthony Pearse/AFL Media)
Jake Stringer and Stewart Crameri celebrate a goal against the Swans

THE WESTERN Bulldogs have backed up the hype over their young team with a stunning four-point win over the Sydney Swans at a sodden SCG.

The Bulldogs led for most of the day, but the Swans snuck ahead in the final quarter before a mid-air kick on the goal line from Easton Wood snuck the Dogs in front and they held on to win 11.11 (77) to 10.13 (73).

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In the tough conditions Liam Picken, Luke Dahlhaus, and Matthew Boyd starred for the Bulldogs, on a day built for the in and under little men. Picken finished the match with 32 possessions, 10 clearances and 12 tackles for the winners.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said the club's best win of the season so far would no doubt raise expectations both inside and outside the club about what the team could achieve in 2015.

"That is probably going to be a bit of a challenge I suppose," Beveridge said after the match. "We just need to make sure that we stay composed and only take care of the things that we can control.

"We just want to go as far as we can this year and today definitely helps that." 

Five talking points: Sydney Swans v Western Bulldogs

Midfielder Dan Hannebery had a game-high 37 touches for the Swans, with Tom Mitchell, Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker both prominent, while Lance Franklin, Kurt Tippett and Adam Goodes booted seven goals between them.

Swans coach John Longmire lamented his team’s decision making under pressure, with experienced defenders Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy and Nick Smith, plus Dane Rampe all coughing up the ball inside the defensive 50 to hand the Bulldogs goals at crucial times.

Missed opportunities on the scoreboard also cost the home side as the Swans booted 2.5 in the opening term, with Franklin kicking 1.1 from four shots on goal.

“Decision making and execution - its a balance of both - you’ve got to get it right. If you don’t get it right, and you’re allowed a few a game, you just have to make sure it doesn’t become too often, particularly in those conditions,” Longmire said.

“Their pressure around the ball has been really good, and they force you into that at different times. They’re confident and they’re playing well.”

The Swans kicked the opening two goals of the game through the returning Goodes and Franklin, but the Bulldogs hit back to boot five of their own before the rain hit, and they led by 14 points at quarter time. 

A goal to big man Tom Boyd gave the visitors a 20-point buffer just after the break before the Swans lifted. Goals to Tippett and Franklin dragged the margin back to seven points.

The Dogs tried to play dry weather footy in the wet and slippery conditions and their turnovers let the Swans back into the game. They were also wasteful in front of goal, kicking 1.7 for the term.

The Bulldogs clung to an 11-point lead at three-quarter time, but goals to Kieren Jack and Harry Cunningham gave the Swans the lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game. 

WATCH: The last two minutes

The Dogs went scoreless for the quarter until Wood soccered one out of mid air in the goalsquare with almost six minutes to play to wrestle back the advantage.

Deep into time-on the Swans pumped the ball into an empty forward 50 for a final crack, but the Doggies defence held strong to work the ball out of danger, with Michael Talia, Boyd and skipper Robert Murphy the cool heads.

The Bulldogs blew a couple of their own chances to seal the match but in the end their only goal for the term was enough to give the visitors a stirring victory.

The Bulldogs celebrate a famous win as the final siren sounds at the SCG. Picture: AFL Media


SYDNEY SWANS          2.5   4.9   8.10   10.13 (73)
WESTERN BULLDOGS  5.1   6.8   10.9   11.11 (77)

Sydney Swans: Franklin 3, Tippett, Goodes 2, Rohan, Jack, Cunningham
Western Bulldogs: Crameri, T Boyd, Bontempelli, Honeychurch 2, Stringer, Jong, Wood

Sydney Swans: Mitchell, Jack, Franklin, Hannebery, Jetta, Parker
Western Bulldogs: Dalhaus, M Boyd, T Boyd, Picken, Murphy, Bontempelli

Sydney Swans: Reid (calf) replaced in the selected side by Harry Cunningham
Western Bulldogs: Nil

Sydney Swans: Harry Cunningham replaced Dean Towers in the third quarter
Western Bulldogs: Nathan Hrovat replaced Ayce Cordy in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Findlay, Harris

Official crowd: 25,541 at SCG