Akermanis stars as Bulldogs sink Demons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Akermanis stars as Bulldogs sink Demons

By Guy Hand 16/05/2009 06:21:08 PM Comments (0)

Veteran Jason Akermanis showed he is still capable of being a match-winner, turning back the clock to steer the Western Bulldogs past a stubborn Melbourne side by seven points in their AFL clash at the MCG.

The 2001 Brownlow Medallist booted four goals and was outstanding for the Bulldogs as they recovered from an indifferent first half to win 15.14 (104) to 15.7 (97) on Saturday.

The 32-year-old kept his side in a contest they were struggling to get into early - Akermanis' three goals in the second quarter vital in sending his side to halftime trailing by just three points.

Akermanis, who has acknowledged he is likely to retire at the end of this season, impressed up forward and when rotated through the midfield, while Scott Welsh also booted three goals for the Dogs.

Coach Rodney Eade thought Akermanis's efforts were a highlight in what he labelled a "flat performance" by his team.

"He was really good, really smart. He could have easily finished with six or seven goals and certainly for a time he kept us in the game," Eade said.

"His experience and his use of the ball was very good."

Melbourne belied their ladder status with an excellent first half, before the Dogs then lifted with a strong third quarter.

Turnovers at vital times cost the Dees dearly, with the Bulldogs booting three goals to one in the term to take a 12-point lead to the final change.

But led by midfielders Aaron Davey, Brent Moloney and Brock McLean, Melbourne kept fighting and clawed back to within seven points when forward Matthew Bate kicked his fourth goal for the match with 90 seconds left.

Demons coach Dean Bailey admitted honourable losses were wearing thin with him and his players needed to start converting their opportunities into victories.

"The game's about winning and losing, and we had a chance today - we didn't take it," Bailey said.

"We need to move on from that (honourable defeats) and try to win games - not just getting close.

"There comes a time you need to move beyond that and get that next win."

Bate led the Demons' goalkickers while Russell Robertson kicked three.

Moloney (37 possessions), McLean (36), Cale Morton (37) and Davey (28) all played well for Melbourne.

The Dogs remain in the top four with a 5-3 win-loss record and the Demons stay at the foot of the ladder with just one win for the year.

The Bulldogs' win came at a cost, with lead-up forward Robert Murphy limping off in the first quarter with a hamstring injury and playing no further part in the match.

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