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Five talking points: Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast

Highlights: Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast The Bulldogs and Suns clash in round seven

1. JJ finds life on Mars
We're not used to seeing Jason Johannisen play up forward, especially considering how undermanned the Western Bulldogs' defence was already, but his second quarter across half-forward was what got the Bulldogs back into the game at Mars Stadium in Ballarat. Lucky to be only 10 points down at quarter-time, Johannisen (18 disposals, five inside 50s) tore the Suns' defence apart with creative running and the first goal of the second term. He had a hand in quite a few of the four the Dogs piled on in six minutes, in what became a match-turning period.

FULL MATCH DETAILS: All the stats and stories from Dogs v Suns

Jason Johannisen enjoyed using his speed down forward. Picture: AFL Photos

2. If you don't mind, umpire
The Bulldogs faithful were howling in the stands in the first term in Ballarat, as their side conceded free kick after free kick. The differential at quarter-time was 13 to one in favour of Gold Coast, as the Suns simply out-tackled an overly adventurous Bulldogs side. The Dogs were too slow to release the ball and often chose to handball to players under pressure. Coupled with that, the Bulldogs only laid nine tackles against the best-tackling side in the competition, who had 22 of their own. The free kick differential evened up as the game progressed, especially when the Bulldogs started laying effective tackles in larger numbers. 

3. Wanted: key position players
With key bookends Tom Lynch (knee) and Steven May (finger) out with injuries, questions surrounded how Gold Coast would cope. Sam Day, who missed all of last year with a serious hip injury, was pushed up a rung or two in the forward seniority ranks and kicked two goals. Jack Martin often played as a quick deep forward but struggled to have consistent influence on the match. The often-maligned Rory Thompson acquitted himself relatively well at fullback, but was usually matched up against undersized youngster Tim English, who broke away late in the game. A more polished side than the Dogs would have exploited the Suns' structural holes to greater effect.

WATCH: Aaron Young does his best to fill the goalkicking void

4. Debutants
Both clubs are injury-hit, and while the Bulldogs fielded an extremely inexperienced defence, Gold Coast played two debutants who both had an impact. 18-year-old forward/ruckman Brayden Crossley and his impressive moustache (reminiscent of former Demon Nathan Carroll) made quite the impression the minute he took to the field, especially after he cleaned up Toby McLean in a fair bump. Charlie Ballard was quieter and somewhat tidier, but both kicked important goals either side of half-time which stemmed the Bulldogs' onslaught.

WATCH: Brayden Crossly ... is 18 years old!

5. Who wants to toss the coin?
The game between Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast was notable for the conspicuous lack of captains. Suns co-captains Steven May (finger) and Tom Lynch (knee) were already slated to miss the match, while their Bulldogs counterpart Easton Wood injured his hamstring early in the week. It left Marcus Bontempelli as acting captain – until he was a late withdrawal with hip soreness. It meant the coin toss was conducted by the unlikely combination of 25-year-old David Swallow and 23-year-old Lachie Hunter, possibly five years ahead of schedule.

Lachie Hunter took well to the captaincy. Picture: AFL Photos