Defence crucial as 'Dogs surge in AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Defence crucial as 'Dogs surge in AFL

Roger Vaughan 12/07/2011 06:05:13 PM Comments (0)

The best form of attack for the Western Bulldogs in their AFL resurgence has been a rock-solid defence.

The Bulldogs are just half a game outside the top eight on the back of a four-game winning streak.

One of the most notable features of the past month has been a much more stable and effective back six, with Easton Wood and Tom Williams outstanding in Sunday's upset win over top-four side Carlton.

Coach Rodney Eade tinkered with the defence, particularly mindful that the Bulldogs were not gaining enough drive from half-back.

Shaun Higgins' move to defence has helped change that, while Robert Murphy has been outstanding all season with his "sweeper" role in defence.

"It happens with a lot of teams, but we try to get that team within the team," Bulldogs' defender Lukas Markovic said of their back six.

"We've stuck together well and it's fantastic."

All this is happening without All-Australian key defender Brian Lake, who remains out of the side as he tries to regain fitness and form.

The Bulldogs' improvement in their rebound out of defence was epitomised by a third-term goal against the Blues.

Carlton kicked the ball long into attack, but it was repelled immediately - almost as if it had bounced off a trampoline.

The Bulldogs moved the ball superbly through the midfield and Adam Cooney kicked a booming goal on the run as they took control of the match.

"It's as good as us kicking a goal individually. We're just as pumped," Markovic said.

"It's a massive buzz when you see our work coming from defence paying off up forward - it's also a credit to the 'mids' and forwards who finish it off for us.

"It just makes us want to go harder the next time."

The Bulldogs will start favourites against North Melbourne this Sunday, but they have a tough run home.

Markovic said it is far too early to think about the finals.

"We can't look too far ahead - everyone is probably doing the maths in the backs of their heads, where we're sitting," he said.

"Right now, it's all about preparation, and the Kangaroos.

"We're really coming into some good form and we want to keep the pressure on, because that's the way the game is going at the moment.

"The pressure acts, the tackling and locking the ball inside our forward 50, that's what the good teams are doing and we're starting to pull that together ourselves."

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