The Western Bulldogs’ AFL season is back on track after an early blast set up a vital and convincing 48-point victory over Collingwood at Marvel Stadium.
Entering Friday night’s match under the pump at 3-5, last year’s grand finalists came out firing, playing their best football all year to boot the first six goals of the match.
Collingwood steadied after the first quarter onslaught to remain in the contest until midway through the third term before the Bulldogs again pulled away to lead by 46 points at the final break and prevail 14.15 (99) to 7.9 (51).
Former Collingwood midfielder Adam Treloar starred for the Dogs, picking up 36 touches and slotting three goals in one of the best outings of his stellar 199-game career to be awarded the the Bob Rose-Charlie Sutton medal as Best Private University on ground.
Treloar now has a 2-0 record for the Bulldogs playing Collingwood after he was controversially traded out of the Magpies at the end of 2020.
The 29-year-old spearheaded a midfield that dominated the Pies as Bailey Smith (41 disposals), Jack Macrae (37) and Tom Liberatore (30) helped the Bulldogs win the clearances 43-27.
“The Adam Treloar-Bailey Smith situation is really challenging teams so to see Adam hit the scoreboard like he did, he’s such a weapon in space,” Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.
“I think it was such an even spread through there, Liberatore and Macrae were as influential there as they can be and you’d like to get that every week.”
Treloar, key forward Aaron Naughton, Josh Dunkley and exciting newcomer Buku Khamis all kicked three goals each for the Bulldogs.
Young Collingwood forward Oliver Henry showed flashes of promise but was left to rue several missed shots at goal and a critical first quarter turnover.
Henry’s pass from barely 40m out was cut off, before Treloar kicked a goal at the other end and the Bulldogs quickly slammed through another four majors.
In a concern for the Bulldogs, Naughton appeared troubled by a knee injury for most of the game and hobbled to the bench late in the final quarter.
The night started in tough fashion for Collingwood after captain Scott Pendlebury was a late withdrawal through illness.
“It was a poor start from us and an exceptional start from them, they just dominated us around clearances and contested possessions,” Magpies coach Craig McRae said.
“Our fundamentals on a whole were really down so we’ve been doing a lot of work on them and we’ve got more to do.”
Magpies defender Jack Madgen looks set for a long stint on the sidelines after hurting his shoulder in the second quarter and was subbed out for Finlay Macrae.
The Bulldogs will have an opportunity to even the ledger at 5-5 next weekend when they host Gold Coast in Ballarat, while Collingwood (4-5) travel to Perth’s Optus Stadium to face Fremantle.