INACCURACY is one thing, but comparing the Western Bulldogs' first month of this season statistically against its 2021 campaign shows that goalkicking is only one of the areas last year's Grand Finalists need to sharpen up to get their year on track.

The Dogs enter Good Friday's clash with North Melbourne with a sense of urgency upon them. They have lost games to Melbourne, Carlton and Richmond and in between accounted for Sydney at Marvel Stadium.

The yips in front of goal, according to coach Luke Beveridge, "snowballed" through his side last week against the Tigers as the Dogs kicked 7.19 in the 38-point loss. It meant from rounds two to four, the Bulldogs had kicked 29 goals and 48 behinds, with poor finishing also nearly costing them their sole win over the Swans.

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Their shot-at-goal accuracy is the second worst (40 per cent) in the competition this year, but even that was never crucial to the Dogs' success last season, when they were ranked 10th in the AFL (47.1 per cent) in the category according to Champion Data.

Luke Beveridge leaves the Western Bulldogs huddle during the R2, 2022 game against Carlton. Picture: AFL Photos

In fact, the numbers show dips in other areas are costing the Dogs as they try to get back to the form line that saw them storm into last year's premiership decider at Optus Stadium.

In 2021, they were ranked fourth in the AFL for conceding fewest points (on average 68.2 a game). This year they're 13th, conceding nearly four goals a game more so far (89.5 points).

Their points for (down from second in the AFL last year to 15th this season) and goal per inside 50 entry (from fourth to 17th) can be attributed to the goalkicking issues, but other drop-offs aren't as directly related.

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Last year the Dogs were the No.1 side in the AFL for turning inside-50 entries into scores, going at 46 per cent. So far this year they are back at 11th in the League for the stat. They have also moved back in terms of inside 50 differential, which they topped the AFL for last year.

Is the issue inside 50 or further up the field? The statistics say a bit of both. The Dogs have a star-studded midfield group and Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae and Bailey Smith have all started the season in strong form and Tim English is in perhaps the best patch of his career.

Tim English celebrates a goal during the Western Bulldogs clash against Richmond in R4, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

But the Dogs have dropped away in their contested-possession differential, which was a significant strength of theirs in 2021. Last year, they won the differential by nearly seven, ranking them third in the AFL. This year they're back in 15th place for that stat, averaging negative eight.

They also were the benchmark of the AFL in scores-from-turnover differential, but are back in 13th spot in that category this year in a five-goal swing from last season.

With a tough start to the fixture and some key players in and out of the side, the Dogs have faced a difficult beginning to 2022. Forthcoming games against the Kangaroos, Adelaide (at Marvel Stadium) and the Bombers in the next three weeks provide opportunities to bank wins, but the Dogs, like their shots on goal, need to take them.

Western Bulldogs

2021 Avg.


2022 Avg.


Points for





Points against





Shot at goal accuracy





Scores per inside 50 %





Goal per inside 50 %





Inside 50 differential





Contested possession differential





Scores from turnover differential