The Western Bulldogs have come from 49 points down to defeat Gold Coast by 21 points in an incredible AFL pre-season win.
The Suns kicked 10 of the first 11 goals on Thursday at Metricon Stadium but were overrun after halftime, falling 4.13.12 (126) to 0.16.9 (105) to the reigning premiers.
With both sides close to full strength, the Bulldogs scored nine goals to two in the final term to cap off a stirring comeback and a 70-point turnaround.
Jake Stringer (26 disposals) kicked three of his four goals in the last quarter, including a nine-point supergoal that put them in front again after the Suns snatched back the lead through new co-captain Tom Lynch.
Matthew Suckling, meanwhile, booted three supergoals – one each in the second, third and fourth terms – to go with one six-pointer.
It is their first win of the pre-season after defeats last month to Melbourne and Brisbane, and should give the Bulldogs plenty of momentum heading into their March 24 round-one clash with Collingwood.
The nature of the comeback should outweigh most of coach Luke Beveridge’s concerns stemming from their first half.
Missing only Jordan Roughead, Dale Morris, Tory Dickson and the departed Joel Hamling from the team who won the premiership last year, the Bulldogs looked well off the pace as the hosts dominated all facets of the game.
But the tables turned after the long break, leaving Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade with plenty to mull over two weeks out from their season-opening Q-Clash with Brisbane.
Suns midfielder Aaron Hall had a game-high 36 touches, while Gary Ablett – in his first pre-season outing in three years – collected 22 possessions and kicked two goals in an encouraging first game back from shoulder surgery.
Lynch kicked six goals, but barely saw the football in the second half.
For the Bulldogs, Tom Liberatore (28 disposals) and Luke Dalhaus (27) were the leading possession-getters, while Marcus Bontempelli, Lin Jong and Tom Boyd were also influential at times.
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