Daniel Giansiracusa of the Western Bulldogs attempts a mark ahead of Collingwood's Sam Dwyer. Photo: Getty Images
WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.2 9.5 13.6 16.10 (106) COLLINGWOOD 3.2 9.4 12.6 15.8 (98)
Goals: Western Bulldogs: L Jones 4 K Stevens 3 J Tutt 2 R Griffen 2 D Giansiracusa J Grant M Bontempelli M Wallis S Crameri. Collingwood: T Cloke 6 J Elliott 4 D Swan J Thomas L Ball S Pendlebury T Adams.
BEST: Collingwood: Pendlebury, Cloke, Adams, Dwyer, Swan, Elliott. Western Bulldogs: Griffen, Jones, Liberatore, Giansiracusa, Macrae, Minson.
Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Shane McInerney, Andrew Mitchell.
Official Crowd: 28,339 at Etihad Stadium.
The Western Bulldogs claimed their first major scalp of the season on Sunday with a Ryan Griffen-inspired eight-point win over Collingwood at Etihad Stadium.
The Bulldogs defeated a top-eight opponent for the first time this year and displayed an intensity that coach Brendan McCartney has spoken of often but has rarely been seen on a consistent basis.
- Q4 28:20
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Cloke (6.1), Elliott (4.0), Pendlebury (1.1), Swan (1.1), Adams (1.0), Ball (1.0), Thomas (1.0), Blair (0.1)||Scorers||Jones (4.2), Stevens (3.0), Griffen (2.0), Tutt (2.0), Bontempelli (1.2), Crameri (1.2), Giansiracusa (1.0), Grant (1.0), Wallis (1.0), Dahlhaus (0.1), Hrovat (0.1), Liberatore (0.1)|
The Dogs led by as much as 20 points in the final term, but two goals to Travis Cloke - who finished with six - helped slash the margin to one point with three minutes left.
But just as the Pies looked set to break the Bulldogs' hearts, they forced a turnover in the centre with Jason Tutt able to find space to mark and goal with 1 minute 21 seconds left on the clock, in a play that secured the points.
Griffen was the architect of the stunning win with 27 possessions and eight centre clearances, but he received plenty of support from Tom Liberatore (34 disposals), Jack Macrae (28) and Luke Dahlhaus (29), while Liam Jones played arguably the best game of his career to finish with four goals.
Collingwood lost Dayne Beams to a calf injury before the bounce and his absence was felt in a midfield that struggled to assert the sort of dominance expected against their young Bulldog opponents.
The Dogs were on the back foot early as the Magpies opened them up through the middle time and again, with Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury getting plenty of the ball. Cloke got off to the start he wanted when he outmuscled Dale Morris to mark and kick Collingwood's first goal, and Jamie Elliott slipped minder Liam Picken on two occasions to kick back-to-back goals that had the Bulldogs reeling.
But just as the match looked set to follow the script, the Bulldogs found their composure to steady and hit back hard.
Griffen was the catalyst at the stoppages and came up with his side's first goal as the Pies suddenly struggled to find the ball. Mitch Wallis, who was running with Pendlebury, followed up with a goal of his own, and when Koby Stevens kicked the last major of the term the Dogs held a well-deserved one-goal lead at the first break.
The Bulldogs suffered a blow when playmaker Adam Cooney limped to the bench in the first quarter with a hamstring injury that forced him to be replaced by substitute Daniel Giansiracusa. But they continued to attack the free-flowing contest with spirit and a sense of daring that was rarely in evidence in last week's disappointing loss to the Brisbane Lions at the same venue.
Several players came together after the quarter-time siren, with Collingwood's Marley Williams reported for striking Nathan Hrovat.
Jones continued his bright start with his second goal early in the second quarter and he followed it up with a determined chase and tackle on Clinton Young that was indicative of the Dogs' intensity.
Cloke had an enthralling duel with Jordan Roughead for most of the day, but the Pies spearhead had the upper hand in the second quarter when he added three goals as Collingwood wrested back the lead.
Griffen's inspired touch around the stoppages was important for the Dogs, while Stevens added another goal after an embarrassing lapse of concentration by Tom Langdon from a kick-in.
The blistering pace of the first half showed no sign of abating in the third quarter as the Dogs continued to take it right up to the Magpies. The Bulldogs extended their one-point half-time lead through Stewart Crameri and Jones, but a brilliant end-to-end run by Swan that ended in a goal kept the Pies in striking distance.
Griffen limped to the bench to get treatment on a lower leg issue that appeared to trouble him after quarter-time, but his side held a six-point advantage going into an epic final term that ended in the Dogs' fourth win of the season.