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  1. #1
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    Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

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    Melbourne and Richmond have found the key to success against the Dogs this season. But it's easier said than done.



    AFTER 10 rounds, the Western Bulldogs were arguably premiership favourites.

    They had a 9-1 record and had regularly put teams to the sword with a ballistic gameplan and execution that was thrilling to watch, thanks largely to a glut of A-grade midfielders, tall forwards marking the ball inside 50 and a defensive unit playing beyond its reputation.

    Then Melbourne got in the way.

    The Demons inflicted just the second loss of the season on Luke Beveridge's men last Friday night at an empty Marvel Stadium.

    So, is there anything to learn from that loss and the second-half Richmond tsunami a month earlier that also unravelled the Bulldogs?

    Pick apart as much as you like, but the simple answer is pressure.

    Let's put the caveat aside – like many other teams, the Bulldogs have injuries, headlined by Josh Dunkley and Adam Treloar.

    If they're back at full health, this might change the equation, as it would for many other teams in the same boat.

    Teams simply have to apply more pressure than the Bulldogs to have a chance.

    In their nine wins, the Bulldogs have won the contested possession count by an average of 20.8, compared to losing it by an average of 13 against the Dees and Tigers.

    This also feeds into another statistic, provided by Champion Data, that shows in those losses the Dogs are poor in defensive one-on-one contests, losing a concerning 38.5 per cent.



    This goes far beyond their key defensive stocks, but it's interesting to note Tom Lynch (12 marks) and Jack Riewoldt (seven marks) did well, as did Tom McDonald, Sam Weideman and medium-sized Bayley Fritsch, who combined for eight goals and 22 marks.

    One post-match comment from Christian Petracca stood out last week, saying a focus for the Dees was to "trust the tackler", sending just one player to tackle a Bulldog and leaving his teammates to guard space outside the contest.

    It worked. The Bulldogs love to rifle handballs in tight until they can find space and overlap run.

    With this facet of the game denied, it leads to more difficult inside-50 entries. The Bulldogs have averaged just 10.5 marks inside 50 in their losses compared to almost 16 in victories.


    The Bulldogs have also partly brought defeat upon themselves, with their 'Pressure Factor' dropping from an average of 1.84 to 1.74 in losses.

    They have coughed up the ball with more unforced giveaways and opponents have punished them.

    Richmond and Melbourne have shown if you force a turnover, it's a good time to expose the Bulldogs' defence.

    The differential from turnovers in wins is a plus-25, compared to a minus-22 in losses.

    There's certainly no single way to upset the rampaging Dogs – and two games is a small sample – but out-pressuring them, forcing scrappy forward-50 entries, and punishing turnovers to put their defence under pressure gives you more of a chance.

    Simple, right?

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    The quote by Petracca “trust the tackler” is quite an effective tactic against our game plan. Don’t all get sucked into the ball carrier, leave players guarding the space around to prevent the overlap and trust the tackler to put enough pressure on to disrupt the possession.
    Teams know how to unsettle us at the coalface; knowing it and doing it are two distinct things though. True for most teams I would say.
    Last edited by Grantysghost; 06-06-2021 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Use your words

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    No surprise with the 1 on 1 defensive loss rate.. that’s our Achilles heel for sure.
    I will never see #16 the same!!

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by DOG GOD View Post
    No surprise with the 1 on 1 defensive loss rate.. that’s our Achilles heel for sure.
    Winning the contested possession such a massive KPI isn't it.

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grantysghost View Post
    Winning the contested possession such a massive KPI isn't it.
    Absolutely, but we also see it with our fwds sometimes, where opposition defenders are out marking us. Either we aren’t good body on body players, or we just aren’t in the right positions.
    I will never see #16 the same!!

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by DOG GOD View Post
    Absolutely, but we also see it with our fwds sometimes, where opposition defenders are out marking us. Either we aren’t good body on body players, or we just aren’t in the right positions.
    We take more marks inside 50 than any other team. Total 164, followed by Richmond 154, and Melbourne 152 and they have played one more game than us.
    FFC: Established 1877

    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    We take more marks inside 50 than any other team. Total 164, followed by Richmond 154, and Melbourne 152 and they have played one more game than us.
    Well I’m surprised by that. I certainly be taking note when we come up against Geelong and WC in the weeks ahead. I’m more thinking when the likes of Bruce and Naughton are out marked.
    I will never see #16 the same!!

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grantysghost View Post
    Winning the contested possession such a massive KPI isn't it.
    Melbourne beat us in CP and that was the difference last week.

    Freo are 10th for winning CP, on average, we are 3rd to Melbourne and Lions (only 5 in it)
    FFC: Established 1877

    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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  12. #9
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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    This is the heart of the matter.
    If you out contest our midfield.
    That is our achilles heel.

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Isn't winning the pressure game, constraining supply and scoring well off the turnover pretty much the blue print for any top team beating any other top team?

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    Isn't winning the pressure game, constraining supply and scoring well off the turnover pretty much the blue print for any top team beating any other top team?
    Yeah, basically 'do everything that you should do and you're a chance'
    Our 1954 premiership players are our heroes, and it has to be said that Charlie was their hero.

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by comrade View Post
    Yeah, basically 'do everything that you should do and you're a chance'
    Try your best and it will likely come down to talent differentials, and a bit of luck.

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    We take more marks inside 50 than any other team. Total 164, followed by Richmond 154, and Melbourne 152 and they have played one more game than us.
    19-9 last night. Was one of the areas we had a big advantage in that game. Naughton probably took half of them!

    Edit : he had 8.

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    Isn't winning the pressure game, constraining supply and scoring well off the turnover pretty much the blue print for any top team beating any other top team?
    Pretty much. Teams not getting sucked into the ball carrier is very effective against us I thought that noteworthy on the back of Petracca's comments.

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    Re: Biting back : What’s the blueprint to beating the Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grantysghost View Post
    Pretty much. Teams not getting sucked into the ball carrier is very effective against us I thought that noteworthy on the back of Petracca's comments.
    If there are less tacklers going at the ball carrier, there should be more space and I think that may be why Caleb was thrust into the mix last night. He has the elite agility and decision making to make use of the extra space given if only one tackler is coming into the contest.
    Our 1954 premiership players are our heroes, and it has to be said that Charlie was their hero.

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