Next gen shows for Dogs

Got it: Matthew Pavlich marks for Fremantle. Photo: Pat ScalaFREMANTLE 0.4.4 0.5.4 0.9.5 0.15.7 (97)WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.2.3 0.7.6 0.8.10 0.9.15 (69)Goals: Fremantle: M Walters 4 H Ballantyne 2 M Pavlich 2 T Mzungu 2 A Sandilands C Mayne D Mundy M Barlow N Suban. Western Bulldogs: D Giansiracusa 2 A Cooney E Wood K Stevens L Dahlhaus L Hunter M Honeychurch S Crameri.Best: Fremantle: Mundy, Duffield, Sandilands, Mzungu, Pavlich, Hill, Johnson, Barlow. Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Stevens, Cooney, Wallis, Johannisen, Boyd, Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Brett Ritchie, David Harris.Official Crowd: 4914 at Etihad Stadium.

When the second quarter began the Western Bulldogs were trailing. When such moments happened previously familiar names and faces were responsible for any stemming of the bleeding.

Some of those names were there again for the Dogs – Cooney, Boyd – when they halted Fremantle in its tracks in that second term at Docklands on Wednesday night.

But, more importantly, were the less familiar names doing the work.

Jackson Macrae, Koby Stevens, Lachie Hunter, Jake Stringer and Mitch Wallis. These were the next generation names that created excitement for the Dogs because they not only looked to have built on the promise of last year, they looked ready to individually influence games this year. Macrae, in particular, was eye-catchingly good. He hunted the ball, used his body strength liberally in the packs, surged when he had the ball and offered poise when he used it.

By three-quarter-time, with the Dogs only a point behind, their three highest possession getters were Macrae, Stevens and Wallis. That is the sort of bellwether you look for in a pre-season match.

A reflection of the acknowledgment of the generational shift at the Dogs was that Ryan Crowley began on Tom Liberatore.

Stringer, who played as a forward in his first 10 games for the club, played loose in defence for the first quarter before shifting forward to join recruit Stewart Crameri. The former Bomber had a quiet night enjoying little direct service and a stagnant supply.

His former Essendon teammate, Scott Gumbleton, had a more disappointing outing for his new club, continuing at the Dockers in the injury-plagued manner he endured as a Don. He lasted just 20 minutes in the NAB Challenge match before hobbling to the bench with yet another hamstring strain.

The injury soured a mixed night for the Dockers, who were better than against the Eagles in their first game and did enough to overhaul the Dogs after that second-quarter lapse (or Bulldog run) and as importantly got the bulk of their better players ticking over.

The Bulldogs had anxiously watched on for their own long-term injured. Shaun Higgins had not played since round three last year. Tom Williams had only played five games in the last two years and the last of those was in round 10 last year. Both returned well.

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