The Western Bulldogs have won their first match since June last year holding on in the dying minutes to beat Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
Albeit a NAB Cup game, the Doggies ended a losing streak lasting nine months after losing their last 11 matches of the 2012 season.
Despite the obvious ladder gap from last season, it would be the Doggies who would jump away in the first term, bagging the first three goals of the game. A late goal from Hawks star forward Lance Franklin cut the margin back to 12 points at the first break.
The big man, who has come under speculation after putting off contract talks until the end of the season, nabbed another goal early in the second quarter and when ruckman David Hale put one threw soon after the Hawks were back level.
Star midfielder Ryan Griffen booted his second for the game to regain the lead, but Franklin chimed in again banging home a supergoal from the edge of the centre square. However, it would be the new recruit and ex-Eagle Koby Stevens who would help his club to a 1 point lead at the half.
It looked as though last years runners up would take control of the game as they slammed on the first three goals of the second half but the Doggies hit back quickly through 29 year old Brett Goodes, brother of Swan Adam Goodes, and number 5 draft pick, Jake Stringer.
Once again the Bulldogs held a slender one point lead, but as they did in the third term, the Hawks booted the first three goals in the last, including two to Lance Franklin and a supergoal to Jarryd Roughead. In past seasons the young Dogs would have laid down, but despite being a NAB Cup game they refused to go away and a Luke Dahlhaus goal brought them back within striking distance.
Amazingly, as the game went down to the wire, it would be youngster Clay Smith who would bomb home a supergoal putting the Doggies in front with just minutes to go. Both teams had chances to win it late but the Bulldogs held on in the dying seconds to win by slimmest of margins.
Etihad Stadium – Friday 1st March 2013
Western Bulldogs – 0.3.3, 0.5.3, 0.8.4, 1.10.6 (75)
Hawthorn – 0.1.3, 1.3.5, 1.6.6, 2.8.8 (74)
Western Bulldogs: Smith
Hawthorn: Franklin, Roughead
Western Bulldogs: Griffen 2, Murphy, Johannisen, Stevens, Goodes, Jones, Stringer, Dickson, Dahlhaus
Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Hale 2, Savage, Smith