Western Bulldogs loss to Brisbane Lions, reactions, analysis, response, struggles, highlights, off-season plans, trade news

The Western Bulldogs were criticized by Fox Footy’s First crack team after the club’s 41-point loss to the Brisbane Lions, with its season suddenly on thin ice.

The Dogs have struggled to maintain consistency this year, going 8-7 in a disappointing comeback from last year’s Grand Finals. They currently sit 10th in the table and one game outside the top eight ahead of a tough home run that includes clashes against Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong and Fremantle.

Luke Beveridge’s side conceded 120 points against the Lions in Thursday night’s clash at the Gabba to continue a theme that has plagued them in 2022. In the games they have lost this year, they have conceded nearly 107 points – the second worst mark in the competition. .

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Saints great Leigh Montagna thinks the Dogs’ tactic of not keeping the mark can make it difficult to force high balls to allow interceptions, saying “Brisbane were able to squeeze their way in too easily.”

The Dogs’ interception game has been a major concern this season, averaging 64 interceptions per game (ranked 17th in the competition), down from the AFL average of 69.

Western Bulldogs press conference | 05:10

“That’s what frustrates me about the Dogs, they don’t get the ball back on interceptions,” Roos legend David King said.

“They don’t have a team defense in my opinion, and that’s why they only have North Melbourne behind them to win the ball. They don’t win it, let the opposition play – dangerous way of be.

One area where the Bulldogs have been strong is their midfield and clearing game, led by a crop of stars including Jack Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore, Josh Dunkley, Adam Treloar and Bailey Smith. However, he didn’t necessarily compare himself to the top teams.

The Dogs have averaged 44.8 points since clearance against the rest of the competition (83%), but against four of the top five teams (Melbourne, Geelong, Brisbane and Carlton) they have managed just 28.8 points since clearance (71%).

The dog players come off the pitch dejected on Thursday night (Photo by Albert Perez/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source: FOX SPORTS

King worried about where the Dogs game was at, putting a line through their campaign and saying the club needed to do some soul-searching this offseason.

It comes with Dunkley and Smith both still out of contract beyond this season, with the former’s future looking less certain, while the club are also looking to bolster their key stocks at either end of the pitch, most recently linked with Rory Lobb. of Fremantle.

“I’m saying they have big issues they need to address. They’re not rigid in front of the foot and they’re not good behind,” King said.

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“They are brilliant in midfield, but not against the best. So what do you have? You have a whole lot of nothing. You have the game set up for certain individuals, but not for the team.

“I think it’s an off-season that has to sit down and say, ‘Who are we and where are we going?’ I don’t know if you can fix it mid-season, I think this year is over, they have some massive decisions to make this off-season.

Montagna agreed the Dogs need to build more layers into the way they play and not rely so much on midfield dominance.

“We know that everything is built around their midfield, the contest and the clearance. Other than that – both offensively and defensively – they can be exploited. They are just a mid-table team,” he said.

“They have streaks, they go through hot times where they win a lot of games, but they also go through times where they struggle.”

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