Class gets blown away in Ballarat
THERE was a ferris wheel in the background and for large parts a circus act in the foreground.
On a typically blustery Ballarat day, the Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast put on one of the more forgettable games this season has seen yesterday.
It was saved by the seesawing scoreline, the Bulldogs prevailing with a nine-point victory in front of 6833 spectators.
All week, debate has raged as to the state of the game. The state of this game was pretty ordinary, and it wasn’t a byproduct of congestion.
In fairness, conditions weren’t conducive to a cracking spectacle and neither were the age profiles of these clubs.
Yesterday featured 10 players still taking their first steps after under-18s – the Dogs fielded six players with less than 10 games experience and the Suns four.
The Gold Coast Nomads led at every change. But the Suns have seen more airports than part-time pilots this season and heavy legs probably played a part in the final quarter as they lost the inside 50 count 24-8.
The two dozen were the most the Bulldogs had ever recorded in a final term.
In the first quarter more kicks sailed out on the full than through the goals.
Even the big screen had an off day, showing the incorrect score for about 12 minutes after it became confused by a Billy Gowers goal in the second term.
The Dogs entered yesterday ranked 18th for set-shot accuracy, their 38 per cent about 15 per cent below the AFL average.
It was Jack Macrae’s day, the workhorse recording 40 disposals to back up his 41 at Ballarat last year.
Yesterday he had 23 contested possessions, 12 clearances and 10 score involvements.
But in the last term, collecting a ball in defence, Macrae didn’t notice Aaron Young, perhaps in the grandstand shadow, and was hammered.
Young kicked his second goal and an upset threatened until Gowers and Bailey Williams iced the game.