Bulldogs dig deep, edge out Blues in AFL
Carlton coach David Teague delivered on his promise of an AFL shootout but the Blues have come off second best in a 16-point AFL defeat to the Western Bulldogs.
During his midweek press conference, Teague predicted an attacking contest and implored his side to take on the competition's highest-scoring team with an "open, free-flowing" brand of football.
It worked a treat during the second and third quarters as the Blues' pace and ball movement saw them break out to a 27-point lead.
But momentum shifted during time-on of the third term as the Bulldogs' midfield lifted to help power their side to a 16.11 (107) to 13.13 (91) win.
The Dogs kicked eight of the last nine goals, tallying 8.4 to 1.3 in the final 35 minutes, and dominated centre clearances in the last quarter.
Aaron Naughton (two goals) put them in front with less than eight minutes left and Patrick Lipinski sealed the result in the dying stages.
Josh Bruce kicked five goals for the Bulldogs in another strong performance in attack as Tom Liberatore, Jackson Macrae and Marcus Bontempelli shone through the midfield.
Caleb Daniel and Lachie Hunter were also influential in the final term, the latter starring when pushed up the ground despite suffering a broken hand.
"It was a very gutsy win under a fair bit of pressure because Carlton definitely had us against the ropes," Dogs coach Luke Beveridge said.
"There was an even contribution as the game went on and I felt like in the second half, even though we couldn't quite narrow the gap, I thought we started off in the right vein to bridge that gap.
"The lads just really saw it through."
It was the fifth time this season and third game in succession that Carlton have coughed up a triple-figure score to the opposition.
Their defeat came despite Eddie Betts' biggest goal haul in navy blue for almost a decade.
Betts lit up the Blues' forward line with four of their first five majors, including an outrageous snap out of mid-air after tapping the ball to his own advantage.
He finished with five goals and Harry McKay kicked four to move into outright first on the Coleman Medal leaderboard.
Ed Curnow, Sam Walsh and ruckman Marc Pittonet were among the Blues' best as boom recruit Zac Williams had just nine disposals on a quiet day.
"Frustrating's a good word," Teague said.
"We got smacked in the centre bounce ... and off that they got their game played in their half.
"When we got it in the forward line we did look dangerous but we just didn't get it down there enough."
Carlton's Jack Silvagni was substituted out of the match after suffering a head knock.
The Bulldogs will travel to take on fellow flag contenders Port Adelaide on Saturday night, while the Blues face another daunting challenge against unbeaten Melbourne next Sunday.
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