Where and when: Marvel Stadium, Sunday April 21, 1.10pm AEST
Last time they met: Marvel Stadium, round six, 2018: Western Bulldogs 11.14 (80) defeated Carlton 8.11 (59)
Marcus Bontempelli and Patrick Cripps at their best and Patrick Lipinski’s three goals in his third game of football provided the entertainment in an otherwise dour clash. The loss handed Carlton its worst start to a VFL/AFL season, while Lin Jong survived one of the more brutal falcons you’ll see.
What it means for the Western Bulldogs: A win is simply a non-negotiable given the current plight of the Blues. The Bulldogs have gone from 2-0 to 2-2, but being slightly ahead of the ledger after five rounds would be seen as a successful start to 2019.
What it means for Carlton: Could things get much worse? So much talk about the lack of scoring and inability to close the deal in reasonably competitive performances, another narrow loss would be heartbreaking and heap pressure on a coach already feeling the heat.
How the Western Bulldogs win: The Dogs have their bite back at the contest and are pumping it inside 50 more than anyone else. If they can keep midfield beast Patrick Cripps on a short leash, the game should be well on their terms.
How Carlton wins: Ideally, find a matchwinning forward target. A lot has been made of the 100-point barrier at Carlton but they’ve only kicked over 80 points twice in the past 28 games. Realistically, make it a scrap and hit the line with a nose ahead.
The stat: Geelong defender Lachie Henderson was the last Blue to kick five or more goals in a win. That 40-point belting of St Kilda in round four, 2015 might feel like a distant memory for many supporters and for good reason – the Anzac Day feature game occurred in Wellington, New Zealand.
The match-up: Marcus Bontempelli v Patrick Cripps
It’s the Bont and Crippa show. The two stars have been superb in the opening month of the season and both occupy top 25 spots in the AFL Official Player Ratings. They’re influence is pivotal to the result, particularly the Carlton captain who typically receives less help around him.
It’s a big week for: Charlie Curnow
A quick recovery from a knee injury suffered in round two had Curnow back in the fold last week, where he took nine marks. The 22-year-old was a sight to behold at times last season and to say the Blues need him at that level is an almighty understatement.
Big call: The Bulldogs win the hitout count despite a 131-22 differential in the past fortnight
Father Dougals’s Tip: Bulldogs by 20. Feel like the dogs are going to want to prove a point and won’t lose to the Blues. 20 Might be too low. I have High confidence in this pick
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