The Bulldogs will be looking to move within one game of the top eight when they take on the Giants on Saturday night! It’s no secret these two sides do not like each other, and another fiery clash could be on the cards.
Check out BeforeYouBet’s free preview and tips for Saturday night football below, and head to our AFL Tips page for coverage of every game this season.
Giants Stadium, Saturday 18th April, 7:25pm AEST
Injuries: Leek Aleer, Jack Buckley, Finn Callaghan, Brent Daniels, Matt de Boer, Josh Fahey, Bobby Hill, Jacob Hopper, Daniel Lloyd, Harry Perryman, Will Shaw, Connor Stone
GWS will be forced into at least two changes after Matt de Boer suffering a concussion and Harry Perryman copping a hit which saw him break four ribs. Phil Davis will play in either the AFL or VFL after overcoming a serious hamstring injury that occured in Round 2. Tim Tarranto will be a test for this weekend after missing the last three games with a back injury.
The Giants picked up their second win in three games to start the Mark McVeigh era, disposing of North Melbourne in a convincing performance. GWS led from start to finish and utterly dominated the Kangaroos in a 49 point victory. The Giants won the disposal count by 128, the mark count by 80, and had a disposal efficiency of 83% - 8% above the AFL average.
GWS have made some successful shifts which have led to vast improvements in the three games under Mark McVeigh. The Giants have been far more aggressive with their ball movement which has led to them putting up scores of 136, 96 and 102 in the last three weeks. In nine games under Leon Cameron this season, the Giants only scored more than 96 points once. Moving Harry Himmleburg into defence and Lachie Whitfield up the ground have seen the two stars find form after struggling to start the season.
Injuries: Riley Garcia, Mitch Hannan, Stef Martin, Toby McLean, Laitham Vandermeer, Bailey Smith (Suspension)
For the second week in a row the headlines were on young star Bailey Smith, after a headbutt against Geelong which resulted in a two game suspension, Smith is likely to be suspended for another two weeks after use of illicit substances came out during the week. The AFL is yet to conclude its investigation, however it’s unlikely Smith will be back playing before Round 18. In positive news for the Dogs, Josh Bruce and Lachie Hunter will return through the VFL this weekend.
The Bulldogs had the bye in Round 13, with their last game a thirteen point defeat to Geelong in Round 12. The Dogs trailed by 40 points early in the second quarter, before kicking seven of the next eight goals to get within five points in the last quarter. The Bulldogs have shown their best is nearly as good as any side in the league, however their worst is also as bad as any side in the league.
Despite missing some key personnel up forward the Bulldogs are finding ways to score, averaging 101 points per game over the last six weeks. With Josh Bruce to return in the next few weeks, the Dogs will only get better ahead of the ball. The Bulldogs can get within a game of the top eight with a win this weekend and with their injury list shortening, the Dogs have an opportunity to make a big push in the second half of the season.
The Bulldogs have had the better of this rivalry in the last three years, winning three of the last four encounters between the two sides. The Dogs have built a solid block of form, winning four of their last six games leading into this fixture. Although GWS have improved since Mark McVeigh, their two wins have come against the two worst sides in the competition in North Melbourne and West Coast.
Tim English is set to give the Bulldogs star studded midfield a massive advantage in the middle of the ground. If the Dogs can gain the ascendancy in the clearance battle, then it’s difficult to see the Giants finding a way to win. Despite being away from home, the Bulldogs shouldn’t have any troubles in this clash given the gap in quality between the two sides. The Dogs are outstanding value in this clash.
Western Bulldogs H2H
Stephen Coniglio has had a resurgence under new coach Mark McVeigh, who moved the Giants skipper into the midfield after he was stuck at half forward under Leon Cameron. Coniglio has had disposal returns of 36, 25 and 34 since McVeigh took over, with those games being three of his top four highest disposal games this season.
With Bailey Smith now out of the midfield, expect Marcus Botempelli to be forced to spend more time in the middle of the ground on Saturday night. Bontempelli has had a habit of being a dominant force particularly in the second half of the season in recent years. In the ten games to finish the home & away season following the Bulldogs bye in 2021 Bontempelli hit the 25+ disposal mark eight times. In 2019, Bontempelli hit the 25+ disposal mark in nine of the Dogs final eleven games following the bye.
Aaron Naughton has continued his outstanding start to his career, firmly establishing himself as one of the best key forwards in the competition at just 22 years of age. Naughton sits seventh in the Coleman Medal race with 30 goals this season, and has hit the 3+ goal mark in four of his last five games. Naughton had five scoring shots the last time these two teams met, and will be full of confidence against the Giants
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