Saturday 25 February 2006


I thought the game was tomorrow night. I really did. But even with our gimmick lineup we won. I'm telling you the Bulldogs will be shit this year, it's my ace prediction.

Have the report. I've become confused already and the season hasn't even started yet.

Robbo slots winning goal
12:02:28 AM Sat 25 February, 2006
Jason Phelan
Exclusive to

A Russell Robertson goal in teeming rain with less than three minutes remaining has given Melbourne a memorable 0.9.15 (69) to 1.7.12 (63) victory against the Western Bulldogs at Marrara Oval in Darwin on Friday night.

Scores were tied for much of the frenetic final term with the Dogs missing a golden opportunity when Brad Johnson sprayed a set shot wide just a minute before Robertson iced the win after marking strongly in front.

Thunderstorms during the day made conditions difficult for the players in a match that was played in hot and steamy tropical conditions.

With several high-profile Demons not taking part in the match, the near full-strength Bulldogs were highly-favoured to come away with the win, but it was Melbourne that held sway in the early running.

Aaron Davey was a livewire from the outset and he got the ball rolling for the Dees with the first two goals of the match. Melbourne was full of running and had the Dogs' defence under plenty of pressure before Robert Murphy opened his side's account with a booming nine-pointer.

It failed to stem the tide, however, with goals to Robertson and James McDonald giving the Demons an 18-point lead at quarter-time.

Byron Pickett had been unsighted in the first term, but he goaled with his first kick in a Melbourne guernsey early in the second to set alarm bells ringing for the Bulldogs.

Cameron Faulkner got on the end of a slick passage of play to edge the Dogs closer and his goal seemed to provide the spark that his side had been missing. The run that has become the trademark of the Bulldogs under Rodney Eade returned and Murphy - playing closer to goal - banged through successive majors to reduce the deficit to nine points.

Davey continued to exert his influence on the match and moved the Demons 17 points clear at half-time with his third goal.

However, Dale Morris was moved onto Davey at the start of the third quarter and he was able to keep him in check to a large extent. With the main attacking option for the opposition shut down, the Dogs made their move, slamming through three goals to nil to grab the lead with Murphy again in the action with his fourth.

The Bulldogs started the last quarter leading by just five points, but appeared set to run away with the contest when Johnson goaled early. Shannon Motlop had played well for much of the evening and kept his side in it with a quick answering goal and Robertson swung the pendulum right back in Melbourne's favour with a goal one minute later.

Both sides were out on their feet as the match wore on, but it was the stand-in skipper for the Dees who stood tall in the dying minutes and coolly slotted the winner.

Melbourne will now face Brisbane in a quarter-final clash at Telstra Dome next Friday night after the Lions snuck home against Essendon at Carrara.

WESTERN BULLDOGS: 1.0.1, 1.3.4, 1.6.9, 1.7.12 (63)
MELBOURNE: 0.4.4, 0.6.12, 0.6.13, 0.9.15 (69)

NINE-POINT GOALS: Western Bulldogs: Murphy
Melbourne: Nil
SIX-POINT GOALS: Western Bulldogs: Murphy 3, Faulkner, Johnson, Giransiracusa, Minson
Melbourne: Davey 3, Robertson 3, McDonald, Pickett, Motlop
BEST: Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa, Gilbee, Murphy, West, McMahon, Morris
Melbourne: Johnstone, Davey, Yze, Robertson, Motlop, Rivers
INJURIES: Western Bulldogs: Gilbee (leg)
Melbourne: Bizzell (back)
UMPIRES: Jeffery, Donlon, Woodcock, Grun
At Marrara Oval, Darwin

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