IT TOOK the Western Bulldogs just 10 minutes of mayhem on Saturday night to seal their spot in an all-Victorian Grand Final, blowing Port Adelaide away with an opening burst for the ages.
The Bulldogs had five goals on the board before the shellshocked home team blinked, leading by 37 points at quarter-time, 58 at the half and running out 17.14 (116) to 6.9 (45) preliminary final victors.
POWER v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats
The triumph sets up a Grand Final with Melbourne at Perth's Optus Stadium in two weeks, a fitting finale that will feature the two teams that dominated much of the home and away season.
If the Demons looked the runaway premiership favourites after dismantling Geelong by 83 points on Friday night, the Bulldogs did all they could to match it in their 71-point demolition.
Their start was as high a level of football as we've seen in 2021, a red, white and blue tsunami that ran the legs off Port.
Semi-final hero Bailey Smith was at it again, starting the carnage with a goal inside 60 seconds after some lovely work from Tim English in the air and then at ground level to set the third-year dynamo up from close range.
Smith would finish with four goals – one more than he kicked against Brisbane seven days earlier – to go along with 23 disposals to add to his monumental finals campaign.
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Laitham Vandermeer, Aaron Naughton – courtesy of a towering pack mark that split about six players – Mitch Hannan and Marcus Bontempelli followed Smith with goals in quick succession and Port were stunned.
Following a brief moment of parity, the Dogs extended their advantage with Smith and Hannan adding their second goals respectively and the game was as good as over by the first change.
The Bulldogs owned the footy, winning the contested possession count by a whopping 23 in the first quarter alone, and dominating the clearances 15-6 for the term.
All the big names stood tall, with Jack Macrae (36) going past Tom Mitchell for the most disposals ever in a season, Bontempelli (20 and two goals) showing no signs of a knee injury he carried in, and Adam Treloar (23, a goal and match-high 13 score involvements) back to his blistering best following a quiet semi against the Lions.
Alex Keath (hamstring) and Cody Weightman (concussion) somehow have to come back into this team, while Vandermeer sat out the final term with a tight hamstring.
Port were nowhere near it all night, a disappointing finish to a season that promised so much after bowing out to Richmond at the same stage of 2020.
Riley Bonner (32) was a standout, while Ollie Wines (38) battled hard after the early onslaught.
PORT ADELAIDE 1.1 3.4 5.8 6.9 (45)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 7.2 12.8 14.12 17.14 (116)
Port Adelaide: Dixon 2, Bonner, Houston, Marshall, Wines
Western Bulldogs: B.Smith 4, Hannan 3, Bontempelli 2, Naughton 2, Johannisen, Schache, R.Smith, Scott, Treloar, Vandermeer
Port Adelaide: Bonner, Wines, Houston, Lycett
Western Bulldogs: B.Smith, Macrae, Treloar, Bontempelli, Hunter, Liberatore, Naughton
Port Adelaide: Marshall (hamstring)
Western Bulldogs: Vandermeer (hamstring)
Port Adelaide: Sam Powell-Pepper (replaced Marshall)
Western Bulldogs: Anthony Scott (replaced Vandermeer)
Crowd: TBC at Adelaide Oval