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11:05am  Apr 20, 2018

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Team Selection | Round 5

6:25pm  Apr 19, 2018

Opposition watch: Bulldogs

Jacqueline Guldon, Carlton Media  July 15, 2017 12:00 PM

Classic Matches | Western Bulldogs Prepare yourself for the Blues' game this week with a trip down memory lane to a classic Carlton match. This week we look back at Round 3, 1999.

Carlton will strive to build on its recent narrow defeats when it returns to the MCG on Sunday to face the reigning premiers, the Western Bulldogs.

With an eight-point loss to Melbourne in Round 16, and a 12-point loss to the Crows just one week prior, the Blues will head into Round 17 eager to bag the four points for their fourth consecutive match on the hallowed turf.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will front up to the ‘G for the first time since Round 1, but will also look to bounce back after a 59-point loss to Adelaide on the road last week.

Having won only two of their past eight matches, the 11th-placed Bulldogs will be let off their leashes on Sunday to chase their eighth win for the season and remain within arm's reach of a top-eight spot.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Western Bulldogs young gun Marcus Bontempelli said his side would need to play with “intensity” if it was to return to its best football.

“We need to show that Bulldog fight and spirit from the first second (on Sunday),” Bontempelli said.

“I really don’t think we’re too far from churning out our best game for the year. We saw on the weekend (against Adelaide) it was there for a half, but for us now the challenge is doing it continually for the four quarters of the game.

“We’re hungry to win.”

Sunday’s match will mark the 144th encounter between the teams, though only their fifth at the home of footy and the first there in 10 years.

While the overall ledger sits at 87 wins to 52 in Carlton’s favour, the Western Bulldogs have reigned supreme in five of the past seven meetings, including the most recent battle in Round 4, 2016.  

In that hit-out, the Bulldogs claimed a 36-point win under the roof at Etihad Stadium, with midfielder Lachie Hunter and defender Shane Biggs the highest ball-winners with 33 and 32 touches, respectively. 

While the Bulldogs recorded 90 more disposals on that occasion, they edged only slightly in front in the contested possession count. When they meet again this weekend, the royal blue outfit, currently ranked six spots above Carlton for contested possessions, will look to capitalise in that area, particularly in the absence of sidelined Carlton midfielders Ed Curnow and Patrick Cripps. 

The Blues have made five changes to their team this week, with Nick Graham and Blaine Boekhorst making their way back into the side, alongside Dylan Buckley who will play his first senior game for 2017, Alex Silvagni who has recovered from an injured calf and Ciaran Byrne, who will make his return after overcoming a ruptured ACL.

The five inclusions have replaced injured trio Patrick Cripps (leg), Simon White (knee) and David Cuningham (hip) and omitted pair Harrison Macreadie and Ciaran Sheehan.  

In contrast, the Western Bulldogs have named captain Bob Murphy, Shane Biggs, Bailey Williams and debutant Lewis Young. Matthew Boyd (achilles), Easton Wood (suspension) and Clay Smith (omitted) will all miss Sunday’s match.

Carlton will face the Western Bulldogs in orange socks for the Club’s annual CARLTON RESPECTS game from 3:20pm on Sunday at the MCG.

Purchase your tickets here, and remember to wear your own splash of orange to show your support for gender equality for the prevention of violence against women.