Class gets blown away in Bal­larat

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT - SAM LANDSBERGER

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.

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