Sunday Territorian




THE Western Bulldogs have continued their stunning finals run against the odds to revive memories of their 2016 premiershi­p heroics and charge into the grand final.

This was not supposed to happen. The Bulldogs have had to negotiate taxing road trips and their champion skipper was under an injury cloud.

In contrast, Port Adelaide could not have been better prepared for the preliminar­y final and was almost at full strength and loaded with confidence.

But it was the Bulldogs who put on a clinic with a sensationa­l 71-point victory in which they reigned supreme from the opening bounce to earn a clash against Melbourne in the title decider.


THERE was always going to be a massive focus on Marcus Bontempell­i and how would his right knee hold up after being hurt late in the win over Brisbane the previous week.

He has been rated the best player in the league this season by his peers and it was common opinion that if the Bulldogs were to win, the star act needed to be in the game.

Obviously the Bont was confident in his knee given there was no protection. And not only did he start in the middle at the opening bounce, he got the first clearance.

He moved without discomfort in the first quarter and picked up three disposals. His class was on show 15 minutes into the contest when he gathered the loose ball and snapped a terrific goal.


THE Bulldogs have been on a backpackin­g mission around the country in the past month.

There was the trip to Launceston for the eliminatio­n, then Brisbane, then Perth and now to Adelaide for the preliminar­y. Weren’t they supposed to be tired?

Someone forgot to tell the players. The Bulldogs were on fire in the opening quarter to bag seven goals and lead by 31 points.

They smashed the Power at the stoppages and were constantly charging forward where the forwards showed their appreciati­on.

Surely there would be some weary signs in the second term. Nope, the Bulldogs added another five goals.


THE Power small forwards were electric in the big finals win over Geelong. Not so in the first half against the Bulldogs.

Steven Motlop and Orazio Fantasia had just five disposals between them, while Connor Rozee had little influence. Fantasia had a set shot after the halftime siren, but never gave it a chance and snuck in for a behind.


MITCH Hannan has proved a bargain buy for the Bulldogs and now he gets a chance to front his former club in the title decider.

Traded for a future third round draft pick, the unheralded Hannan bagged three goals in the first half.

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