The Western Bulldogs are eyeing one other premiership fairytale from outdoors the highest 4, after surviving a traditional semifinal in opposition to Brisbane on the Gabba on Saturday night time to progress to a preliminary closing in opposition to Port Adelaide.
The Bulldogs will fly into Perth on Sunday to start banking quarantine, so in the event that they progress to the grand closing they’ll have taken probably the most arduous finals route in historical past – from Melbourne to Launceston to Brisbane to Perth to Adelaide and again to Perth.
Parted by simply 0.5 share factors on the finish of the common season, the Bulldogs and Lions have been separated by just one level after a riveting closing time period that featured a collection of cliff hanger moments and contentious choices.
The Bulldogs’ profitable rating got here with 50 seconds remaining when Laitham Vandermeer pressured the ball over the behind line from shut vary to edge his crew in entrance 11.13 (79) to 11.12 (78).
An excellent Bailey Smith put the Dogs in entrance by a objective with two minutes remaining when he nailed a left-foot shot from a decent angle, finishing his third objective with an ice within the veins celebration to the group.
Lions ahead Zac Bailey confirmed he was simply as cool on the different finish with a fast reply, earlier than Vandermeer scrambled his aspect into the lead.
Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko twice kicked the ball out on the complete within the dying minutes, firstly when he sprayed his shot on objective when scores have been stage with three minutes remaining and once more within the dying seconds as he despatched a rushed kick ahead.
Smith starred with three objectives and 27 disposals, whereas teammate Jack Macrae was integral with a game-high 39 touches and 11 clearances.
The Bulldogs will arrive in Perth on Sunday to start quarantine, earlier than travelling to South Australia for Saturday night time’s preliminary closing at Adelaide Oval.
Bulldogs livewire Cody Weightman will miss the conflict with concussion after being subbed out within the first half, whereas famous person Marcus Bontempelli is underneath an damage cloud after ending the sport on the bench with a proper knee damage following a late marking contest.
“It should be all right, initial tests and what not are pretty good,” Bontempelli stated.
“I just landed kind of awkwardly and then the big fella across the leg. I was a bit ginger initially, so rather than limp around out there probably the right thing was just to interchange.”
Scans in Perth are seemingly to determine whether or not Bontempelli takes his place in opposition to the Power.
“It’s difficult to know the extent of any injury,” coach Luke Beveridge stated.
“He’s obviously a little bit sore. But we’ll need a little bit of time before we can assess it and he’ll probably get a scan once we get to Perth and see if there’s any damage in there.”
Beveridge praised WA ruckman Tim English for limiting the dominance of Oscar McInerney after being swung into the ruck and stated the sport may have gone both approach.
“It was an incredible arm wrestle,” he stated.
“It was a crazy game, the madness of the whole situation. There were times in the last quarter where I was trying to remember the detail in the email from the AFL about what happens when it’s a draw.
“Sometimes this game is really cruel and sometimes it’s beautiful, and we were the lucky ones to feel the emotions of the latter.”
Weightman was one of three gamers dominated out with concussion within the first half, with Brisbane dropping key midfielder Jarrod Berry and utility Jackson Payne.
Lions coach Chris Fagan stated he was proud of what they’d achieved this 12 months, regardless of being knocked out in straight units for the second time in three seasons.
“We’re all flat. To lose a close one tonight after losing a close one by three points two years ago, we’ve been so close but yet so far with prelims,” Fagan stated.
“Hopefully that eats away at us a little bit and makes us better in the future.
“In my time here, even though we’ve just lost by a point, I think it’s been our best year. Because we’ve had a little bit more adversity than we’ve had in the previous years.”
Small ahead Charlie Cameron lit up the Gabba with three objectives within the first quarter, together with an electrical third after he gathered a free ball and burned off pursuer Easton Wood with pure pace earlier than balancing and kicking actually.
The Bulldogs hit again with the primary three objectives of the second time period to take the lead, earlier than Mitch Robinson received a precious steadier for the Lions as they trailed by one level on the main break.
Bontempelli was denied what had initially been referred to as a objective by a controversial overrule within the third quarter, with the video umpire discovering sufficient proof that Lions defender Darcy Gardiner had received a finger to the ball.
When Brisbane substitute Ryan Lester made it 4 objectives in a row for the Lions, they led by three objectives 25 minutes into the third time period.
But the Bulldogs substitute Jason Johannisen had the reply and the Dogs may have been even shut than 10 factors at three-quarter time if Johannisen had kicked his set shot after the siren.
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