K rock Football

Bruce stars in Dogs’ big win

KEY trade period recruit Josh Bruce produced his best performance yet for the Western Bulldogs with a bag of six goals in a dominant 49-point win over North Melbourne on Saturday night.

The former St Kilda forward covered the loss of injured teammate Aaron Naughton with a superb display as he and fellow tall target Josh Schache combined for eight majors in the 13.9 (87) to 5.8 (38) victory at Marvel Stadium.

The result moved the Dogs to a 3-2 record after their slow start but came at a cost as Bailey Smith (concussion) failed to complete the match.

Luke McDonald kept Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli relatively quiet and Todd Goldstein won his ruck battle with young Dogs tall Tim English.

But English (22 disposals) was influential around the ground and provided the highlight of the night with a huge pack mark during the third term.

The Dogs had far more contributors through the midfield as Tom Liberatore (23 disposals), Toby McLean (22), Jack Macrae (24) and Caleb Daniel (22) racked up touches at will.

Former skipper Easton Wood played well in defence in his first match back from a quadriceps injury.

Bruce kicked more goals in the first half (three) than he had totalled in four previous games with the Bulldogs this season since his trade period move.

He added another three after the main break and set up one for Schache, who finished with two.

The Bulldogs copped an early blow when Smith was accidentally concussed in a crunching first-quarter tackle from Shaun Atley.

Emerging Kangaroos star Tarryn Thomas was also concussed when he took a heavy fall after flying for a huge pack mark before halftime and sat out the second half.

Despite being held to just two goals in the first half, North kicked the opening major of the third term through Curtis Taylor and closed the margin to 13 points.

But the Dogs responded with four goals in a seven-minute blitz to break the game wide open and kicked eight of the last 10 goals of the game.

Tough North midfielder Ben Cunnington appeared troubled by a groin complaint and spent long periods in the forward line on return from his back injury before finishing the game on the bench.

(C) AAP 2020

WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.2 5.5 10.6 13.9 (87)

NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2 2.3 3.5 5.8 (38)

Goals: Western Bulldogs: J Bruce 6 J Schache 2 M Wallis 2 B Dale E Richards L Vandermeer. North Melbourne: C Taylor 2 T Goldstein 2 C Zurhaar.

Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Andrew Stephens, Nick Brown.

Venue: Marvel Stadium.