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  • Rikki Lambert

Dogs upstage Collingwood by 16 points

Adam Treloar was unceremoniously jeered by Collingwood fans but exacted some sweet revenge on the club that dumped him as the Western Bulldogs opened their AFL season with a 16-point win at the MCG.

The star midfielder had 18 disposals, five clearances and a cool hand in the Dogs' hot start on Friday night, helping his new side snap a four-game losing streak against the Magpies.

Bailey Smith and Jack Macrae were outstanding as the Bulldogs registered a 10.9 (69) to 7.11 (53) triumph in front of 46,051 fans.

Darcy Moore was a rock in a Collingwood backline that tried to limit the damage from a deluge of Bulldogs forward entries.

But the weight of numbers was too great as the Dogs' strong midfield generated a 61-41 advantage in inside-50s.

Smith, Macrae and Lachie Hunter racked up more than 100 disposals between them, with Smith kicking two goals.

Collingwood's Brodie Grundy had tormented the Bulldogs in recent seasons but had his influence around the ground blunted by new ruck pairing Stefan Martin and Tim English.

Martin, recruited from Brisbane to assist emerging star English, did plenty of the grunt work in the ruck.

"The boys shifted in and out of their duties with a really selfless approach to it and really controlled the game, especially through that midfield, and Stefan was huge for us in the end," Dogs coach Luke Beveridge said.

"The most pleasing thing was the defensive aspect ... we only let them inside 50 41 times and kept them to seven goals."

Collingwood forced out Treloar during last November's trade period and the emotional midfielder publicly addressed the saga again during the build-up to his first outing with the Bulldogs, ensuring a keen focus on the round-one grudge match.

Treloar started on a wing and copped boos from the Magpie Army in the opening minutes but showed composure with his first touch to set up a goal for Aaron Naughton.

The Dogs had three unanswered goals in the first six minutes and dominated both possession and territory from the outset.

Both sides kicked goals from controversial 50m penalties during the second term and the Dogs created a scoreboard buffer by three-quarter time.

Late in the final term, long after the early jeers, Treloar was applauded by both sets of fans.

"Adam would absolutely just be relieved," Beveridge said.

"I don't think any player in maybe the history of the game has ever had so much publicity with a move from one club to the other, so you can imagine the emotional rollercoaster that he's been on."

Jamie Elliott and Brody Mihocek kicked two goals each for Collingwood, whose coach Nathan Buckley conceded were "smacked" around the contest.

"The guts of it was in and around the ball they were cleaner and harder," Buckley said.

Beveridge has hailed Stefan Martin's immediate impact after the experienced recruit played an important role in the season-opening win over Collingwood.

Martin took the fight to Magpies ruck star Brodie Grundy and worked well in tandem with Tim English at the MCG on Friday night as the Bulldogs' deep midfield unit controlled the contest.

Grundy had tormented the Dogs in their last four meetings - earning 11 of a possible 12 Brownlow Medal votes in the process - and dominated English in three of those.

But former Brisbane ruckman Martin, who was brought in to help nurture emerging tall English, was a crucial contributor as the Dogs turned the tables on the Collingwood star.

"Stefan was huge for us," Beveridge said after his side's 16-point win.

"Brodie has really given them the impetus the last few times we've played and it's been difficult for our team to really recover from his work.

"Tim's ruck work was pretty good too when it was his turn to go in there, so that's a nice result for us.

"From a coaching point of view, it's important that you're at least able to neutralise those situations."

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said Grundy's impact was nullified as the Magpies were soundly beaten around the contest.

"Their big boys tag-teamed him and we probably didn't get Mason (Cox) in the ruck as much as we'd intended, definitely not in the centre bounce.
"I thought Brodie was amongst a midfield that were beaten on the night."

Beveridge has previously turned to midfielders Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae and Josh Dunkley to assist English in the ruck, but those makeshift moves now appear to be a thing of the past.

Martin and English are set for another huge test in round two when they take on West Coast star Nic Naitanui at Marvel Stadium.

"If we can keep Tim and Stef fit together and playing in tandem as they did tonight, it's obviously really going to help," Beveridge said.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will have to consider whether to hand Jamarra Ugle-Hagan an AFL debut in round two after his stunning performance in a reserves practice match.

The No.1 draft pick kicked five goals and was involved in the creation of several others against Collingwood's reserves on Friday as he pushed his case for an early senior call-up.

Coach Luke Beveridge was a keen observer before leading the Bulldogs' AFL side to a 16-point win over the Magpies at the MCG on Friday night.

"He (Ugle-Hagan) did some impressive things," Beveridge said of the athletic 18-year-old, who has repeatedly been likened to Sydney superstar Lance Franklin.

"It was the first time that he's played at the level where he's started to really show his strengths and his gifts.
"That was fantastic for him and us."

The Bulldogs take on West Coast at Marvel Stadium in round two, with Beveridge to weigh up possible tweaks to his forward line.

Key forwards Aaron Naughton and Josh Bruce were the focal points against Collingwood as the Dogs managed just 10 goals from 61 forward entries.

Emerging ruckman Tim English also spent long periods in attack.

Beveridge said Ugle-Hagan's senior selection will depend on whether the Dogs believe he can get through games and compete with experienced AFL defenders.

"We've got to make sure he's ready," Beveridge said.

"Next week, we'll have (Tom) Barrass and (Jeremy) McGovern and these types.

"Is he ready for that? I don't know.

"We can't throw him to the wolves, we've got to set him up to succeed, but there were some great signs today."

Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood did well in the reserves match to prove he has overcome a hamstring concern and looms as a likely inclusion against West Coast.

Dashing defender Jason Johannisen and Zaine Cordy were also solid contributors.

But midfielder Ed Richards faces a stint on the sidelines after a nasty ankle injury resulted in him being taken from the field on a stretcher.

-- with AAP


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