Did Neale and Macrae both smuggle their own footy’s into the Gabba?
Whereas it’s normally fans who bring their own Sherrin’s into the ground for a post match kick to kick, it seemed that Lachie Neale and Jackson Macrae decided to do so themselves on Saturday night. Despite matches in 2020 being 20% shorter in length, both produced possession counts more reminiscent of the longer form game we remember so fondly.
On the beaten Bulldogs team, Macrae continued his prolific ball winning and collected 40 touches. This had him on half century pace if the game was played over the traditional duration. For the winners, Neale was best on ground once again. He finished with 36 disposals (18 contested), 12 clearances, seven inside 50s and eight score involvements to once again show why he is considered an unbackable favourite for the Brownlow.
How the Game Was Won
The Bulldogs jumped out of the blocks early and kicked the first three goals of the game but just as the scent of an upset filled the air, the Lions took control of the contest. By the time the visitors had doubled their quarter time goal tally, their hosts had kicked in between and led by 36 points.
While they would increase their intensity and make a run late, the Bulldogs would never draw closer than 24-points. It was enough for Luke Beveridge to lament that in back to back weeks his team had played six ok quarters against the competitions two leading teams and had been undone by one bad one in each.
Unfortunately for him and his team, they are not yet equipped to deal with the intensity that teams like Brisbane bring for four quarters. They showed again in this match that their best is electrifying. Unlike Brisbane though, who finds a way to hang in when under the pump, when the Bulldogs can’t deliver their best they can’t deliver anything at all.
What the Coaches Said
After playing ‘the most amount of games in the least number of days,’ Chris Fagan was proud of his teams resilience. “We’ve played four games in 14 days,” he told reporters post match. “To have two four day breaks in a row and to come out play like that tonight against a really good side, I was really proud our team and the grit that they showed. We were a little tired late from the effort but it’s a magnificent effort by them and by our fitness staff and our medical staff to get our boys up and ready to play like that.”
A flat Luke Beveridge was pretty blunt with where his team sits post match. “Six OK quarters against Port Adelaide and Brisbane, and two diabolical ones that have cost us both games. That’s where we sit. We’re immature, we’re not able to drive for the 90-100 minutes that the game requires at the moment,” he said.
BRISBANE 3.4 9.8 13.10 14.12 (96)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.1 5.2 8.2 11.6 (72)
Brisbane: Hipwood 5, Ah Chee 2, Bailey 2, McCluggage 2, McStay, Neale, Robinson
Western Bulldogs: Wallis 3, Lloyd 2, Bontempelli, Bruce, Dale, Lipinski, Macrae, Naughton
Brisbane: Neale, Zorko, Hipwood, Lyons, Bailey, McCluggage
Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Bontempelli, Wallis, Lipinski
Brisbane: Cameron (knee)
Western Bulldogs: Nil