Western Bulldogs move into AFL’s top eight with win over Melbourne

The Western Bulldogs moved back into the top eight following a 28-point victory over Melbourne on the Gold Coast in the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round, with Mitch Wallis producing a career-high four goals for the victors.

Rocked by the 11th-hour withdrawal of Nathan Jones (quad injury), the Demons led by seven points at half-time in the round-13 encounter before the Bulldogs kicked six consecutive goals to set up the 12.8 (80) to 7.10 (52) win in Carrara.

The victory saw Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs (7-6 win-loss record) take the Demons’ (6-6) spot inside the top eight with five rounds to play.

The Bulldogs have not been inside the eight since round nine.

Wallis dominated on goal for the Bulldogs, while Jack McRae, Bailey Smith, Lachie Hunter, Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Liberatore all had between 22 and 26 disposals.

Christian Petracca (26 disposals, eight clearances), Angus Brayshaw and Jack Viney were busy but helpless during the third-term onslaught from the Bulldogs that ultimately decided the contest.

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The Bulldogs clicked into gear after the main break when they opted to handball through the midfield.

The ever-lurking Wallis benefited, kicking two of his majors in the third term, while Bailey Williams was gifted another when Jake Melksham gave away a 50-metre penalty.

Liberatore was efficient early in the match, with nine of his first 10 possessions contested. He also kicked a goal as the two sides traded majors in the first half.

Aside from losing Jones before the match, the Demons were struck down by an injury blow during the contest, with Tom Sparrow helped from the field with a suspected shoulder injury.

AAP/ABC

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