North Melbourne have held onto fifth spot on the ladder with its fifth straight victory defeating the Bulldogs for the second time this season winning 21.10.136 to 18.8.116.
The Roos kicked away in the first quarter kicking the first three goals of the match, before former Kangaroo Scott Welsh kicked the Bulldogs first at the 17 minute mark. The Roos kicked another three goals, including a brilliant Goal of the Year contender from Brent Harvey. A late goal from Robert Murphy brought the margin back to 26 points at quarter time.
Veteran Brad Johnson goaled early for the Dogs in the second quarter but once again the Kangas replied with three goals. Both teams booted two more goals each for the quarter, which saw Dean Laidley’s men take a commanding 38 point lead into the main break.
When the Roos kicked the first two goals of the 2nd half, signs were ominous for the Bulldogs, but they rallied to kick 6 of the next 8 goals to be within 4 goals at the final change.
Both teams went goal for goal in the last quarter until two straight goals from Daniel Giansiracusa and second goal to Mitch Hahn brought the Doggies within 14 points with 25 minutes gone in the final quarter. Any hope of a comeback win was snuffed out when Shannon Grant replied quickly for the Roos and then kicked another a few minutes later. Brad Johnson kicked a late goal to give him five for the game, but the Roos were home and only need to win one of their last three games to secure a finals birth.
Brent Harvey did his Brownlow Medal chances no harm having another best on ground performance having 27 disposals and kicking 3 goals, while Campbell, Grant and Harding all kicked 3 goals each.
Bulldogs skipper Brad Johnson was the best for his side kicking 5 goals as well as having 22 disposals and taking 11 marks.
The Roos are still a great chance of a top 4 finish, currently only trailing Sydney on percentage, but have an easier run home than the Swans.
The Bulldogs drop out of second spot but are sure to play the Hawks in the first week of finals.
North Melbourne 6.5 11.6 15.7 – 21.10 (136)
Western Bulldogs 2.3 5.4 11.7 – 18.8 (116)
North Melbourne: Campbell 3, Harding 3, Grant 3, Harvey 3, Thompson 2, Hale, Sinclair, Wells, Jones, Lower, McMahon, Thomas
Western Bulldogs: Johnson 5, Harbrow 3, Giansiracusa 3, Murphy 2, Hahn 2, Welsh, Cooney, Griffen
North Melbourne: Harvey, Campbell, Rawlings, Wells, Grant, Harding
Western Bulldogs: Johnson, Murphy, Harbrow, Giansiracusa, Cross, Cooney
North Melbourne: Simpson (hip) out, replaced in selected side by Watt
Western Bulldogs: Hudson (back) out, replaced in selected side by Street
Umpires: Vozzo, Stevic, Hendrie
Official crowd: 31,957 at Telstra Dome