The Bulldogs will be looking to move within a game of the top eight when they face the Giants on Saturday night! It’s no secret that these two sides don’t like each other, and another fiery clash could be on the cards.
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GWS vs Western Bulldogs Preview and Betting Tips
Giants Stadium, Saturday, April 18, 7:25 p.m. AEST
Injured: Leek Aleer, Jack Buckley, Finn Callaghan, Brent Daniels, Matt de Boer, Josh Fahey, Bobby Hill, Jacob Hopper, Daniel Lloyd, Harry Perryman, Will Shaw, Connor Stone
GWS will be forced to make at least two changes after Matt de Boer suffered a concussion and Harry Perryman suffered a hit that saw him break four ribs. Phil Davis will play in the AFL or VFL after overcoming a serious hamstring injury that occurred in the second round. Tim Tarranto will be a test for this weekend after missing the last three games with a back injury.
The Giants picked up their second victory in three games to kick off the Mark McVeigh era, knocking out North Melbourne in a convincing performance. GWS led from start to finish and completely outplayed the Kangaroos in a 49-point victory. The Giants won the number of eliminations by 128, the number of marks by 80 and had an elimination efficiency of 83% – 8% above the AFL average.
GWS made successful changes that led to big improvements in all three games under Mark McVeigh. The Giants have been much more aggressive with their ball movement, which has seen them score 136, 96 and 102 over the past three weeks. In nine games under Leon Cameron this season, the Giants have only scored more than 96 points once. Moving Harry Himmleburg in defense and Lachie Whitfield on the pitch have seen the two stars return to form after struggling to start the season.
Injured: Riley Garcia, Mitch Hannan, Stef Martin, Toby McLean, Laitham Vandermeer, Bailey Smith (Suspension)
For the second week in a row the headlines were on young star Bailey Smith, after a header against Geelong resulted in a two game suspension Smith is likely to be suspended for another two weeks after substance use illicit during the week. The AFL has yet to conclude its investigation, but Smith is unlikely to return to play until Round 18. In good news for the Dogs, Josh Bruce and Lachie Hunter will return to the VFL this weekend.
The Bulldogs had the bye in Round 13, with their last game a thirteen-point loss to Geelong in Round 12. The Dogs trailed 40 points early in the second quarter, before scoring seven of the next eight goals to get less than five points in the final quarter. The Bulldogs have shown that their best is almost as good as any team in the league, but their worst is as bad as any team in the league.
Despite the absence of some key personnel, the Bulldogs are finding ways to score, averaging 101 points per game over the past six weeks. With the return of Josh Bruce in the coming weeks, the Dogs will only get better before the ball. The Bulldogs can qualify for a top-eight game with a win this weekend and with their injury list shortening, the Dogs have the opportunity to make a big push in the second half of the season.
The Bulldogs have gotten the better of that rivalry for the past three years, winning three of the last four meetings between the two teams. The Dogs have built a solid block of form, winning four of their last six games leading up to this game. Although GWS have improved since Mark McVeigh, their two wins came against the two worst teams in the competition in North Melbourne and West Coast.
Tim English is poised to give the Bulldogs star-studded midfielder a huge advantage in midfield. If the Dogs can get the upper hand in the punt battle, it’s hard to see the Giants finding a way to win. Despite being away from home, the Bulldogs shouldn’t have any problems in this matchup given the quality gap between the two teams. The Dogs have exceptional value in this clash.
Western Bulldogs H2H
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Stephen Coniglio has enjoyed a resurgence under new manager Mark McVeigh, who moved the Giants skipper into midfield after being stuck at half forward under Leon Cameron. Coniglio has had elimination comebacks of 36, 25 and 34 since McVeigh took over, with those games being three of his best four elimination games this season.
Stephen Coniglio 25+ Assignments, $1.55 with Ladbrokes
With Bailey Smith now out of midfield, expect Marcus Botempelli to be forced to spend more time in midfield on Saturday night. Bontempelli has used to be a dominant force especially in the second half of the season in recent years. In the ten games to end the season home and away after the Bulldogs left in 2021, Bontempelli has reached the 25+ mark eight times. In 2019, Bontempelli hit the 25+ elimination mark in nine of the Dogs’ last 11 games after the bye.
Marcus Bontempelli 25+ eliminations, $1.73 with Ladbrokes
Aaron Naughton continued his exceptional start to his career, firmly establishing himself as one of the competition’s best key forwards at just 22 years old. Naughton is seventh in the Coleman Medal hunt with 30 goals this season and has hit the 3-plus mark in four of his last five games. Naughton had five killer shots the last time these two teams met and will be full of confidence against the Giants
Aaron Naughton 3+ goals, $2.10 with Ladbrokes