Back in the eight, the Bulldogs will be looking for a third straight win and will be buoyed by the fact they didn't play their best footy against the Saints, but still got the four points. The Blues are playing with more passion under caretaker coach John Barker and will fancy themselves against a young Dogs outfit that haven't handled the favourites tag well in 2015. With the lowly Gold Coast to follow, Luke Beveridge's men have a great chance to set up their season over the next fortnight and should be too strong for a rejuvenated Carlton.
WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Saturday 7.20pm AEST
LAST FIVE TIMES
R5, 2014, Carlton 18.11 (119) d Western Bulldogs 13.13 (91) at Etihad Stadium
R20, 2013, Western Bulldogs 16.21 (117) d Carlton 13.11 (89) at Etihad Stadium
R17, 2012, Carlton 16.6 (102) d Western Bulldogs 12.12 (84) at Etihad Stadium
R16, 2011, Western Bulldogs 14.12 (96) d Carlton 9.15 (69) at Etihad Stadium
R15, 2010, Western Bulldogs 20.6 (126) d Carlton 8.10 (58) at Etihad Stadium
THE SIX POINTS
1. These clubs have clashed 11 times at Etihad Stadium, with the Bulldogs winning six games and the Blues five.
2. Carlton captain Marc Murphy collected the three Brownlow votes with 28 disposals, 12 tackles and two goals the last time the sides met.
3. The Bulldogs are the No.1 tackling side this season, averaging 73.3 a game with four players in the AFL’s top 35 tacklers. Carlton is 18th for tackles at 56.1 a game.
4. Since John Barker took over as coach, the Blues’ average points for and against have improved to 91 and 99 respectively. At round eight, the numbers were 73 and 112.
5. One area where the Blues have been strong this season is one percenters, for which they are ranked fourth – averaging 46.4 a game. The Bulldogs are seventh at 43.3 a game.
6. Bulldog defender Easton Wood’s stellar season is reflected in the Official AFL Player Ratings, in which he has jumped from No. 351 to No. 111 this year.
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR… Matthew Boyd
Not many players come off the rookie list to play 250 games and the Dogs will be eager to not let the Blues spoil the highly respected veteran's party. And it's not as if Luke Beveridge has gifted Boyd the milestone, with the 32-year-old in All Australian form in his new role across halfback.
PREDICTION: Western Bulldogs by 38 points.