The Western Bulldogs continued their unbeaten start to 2021 against the GWS Giants, but it came at a major cost.
The Western Bulldogs have continued their unbeaten start to the season, but the win came at a major cost, with three players injured against the GWS Giants.
A gallant young Giants side stuck with the Bulldogs, before the ladder-leaders used a nine-goal final term to run out 15. 14. (104) to 9. 11. (65) winners in Canberra.
Dunkley, who has been one of the in-form midfielders in the AFL, dislocated his right shoulder twice. The first incident occurred on an attempted spoil, before he returned to the field after the doctors had put his shoulder back in place.
However, the star midfielder was left nursing his right arm once again after dislocating his shoulder for a second time when punching the ball forward.
The shoulder dislocation is the second of Dunkley’s career after he missed 12 weeks with a left shoulder dislocation back in 2017.
Dunkley’s injury followed a sickening injury to English, who copped a knee from high-flying teammate Aaron Naughton to the head in a marking contest.
English caught Naughton’s knee flush to his jaw and was laid on the turf for a significant period before he was helped off the field by the Bulldogs’ medical staff.
The 23-year-old did not return to the field after the head knock and is likely to miss next week due to the AFL’s 12-day concussion protocol.
Following the match, Bulldogs star Jack Macrae, who was best afield with 40 disposals and a goal, paid tribute to Jong and the rest of his injured teammates.
“I feel so sorry for Jongy,” Macrae told Seven.
“He’s put in so much work and it was pretty devastating to see him go down. Hopefully the other boys are not too bad.”
The Bulldogs’ all-star midfield was once again dominant in the win, with Macrae joined by Dunkley (29 disposals), Adam Treloar (35 disposals), Tom Liberatore (27 disposals) and captain Marcus Bontempelli (26 disposals).
GWS’ efforts were led by young gun Lachie Ash, who finished with 35 disposals and 15 marks in a career-best effort, while stand-in skipper Toby Greene kicked four goals.
The triple injury blow means the Bulldogs will take a significantly undermanned team into next week’s blockbuster clash against Richmond at the MCG, while the Giants will aim to get back on the winners’ list when they travel to Adelaide to take on the Crows.