With coach Luke Beveridge recently lamenting the Bulldogs' "spits and spurts" form line this season, a big win over a young and developing Brisbane Lions side could kick-start their premiership defence. Efficiency up forward has continued to plague the Dogs like last season, and the result is the second lowest percentage of the top-eight sides. They will employ a smaller attack in the injury absences of Travis Cloke, Jack Redpath and Jordan Roughead. The Lions knocked off the premiers at Etihad Stadium in the JLT Community Series and Coach Chris Fagan will be hoping gun midfielders Dayne Beams, Tom Rockliff and Dayne Zorko can continue their impressive form, and young key forward Josh Schache can be a target up forward.
WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Saturday, April 22, 1.45pm AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide
LAST FIVE TIMES
R5, 2016, Western Bulldogs 17.18 (120) d Brisbane Lions 10.7 (67) at Etihad Stadium
R23, 2015, Brisbane Lions 19.16 (130) d Western Bulldogs 19.8 (122) at the Gabba
R12, 2015, Western Bulldogs 22.14 (146) d Brisbane Lions 11.8 (74) at Etihad Stadium
R12, 2014, Brisbane Lions 14.11 (95) d Western Bulldogs 13.9 (87) at Etihad Stadium
R22, 2013, Brisbane Lions 15.10 (100) d Western Bulldogs 13.15 (93) at the Gabba
THE FIVE POINTS
1. The Bulldogs could have won by a lot more when the sides last played. Dominating the disposal count 447-328, they won the clearances by 19 and smashed the Lions in inside 50s with 71-31.
2. The Western Bulldogs continue to be one the highest handballing sides in 2017, ranked third averaging 187.3 per game, a long way ahead of the Lions with 154.5 per game.
3. The Bulldogs and Brisbane clash for the 52nd time and the Dogs hold the advantage, winning 29 games to 22. Nothing separates the sides since 2013 with three wins each.
4. The Bulldogs continue to be the best tackling side in 2017 so far, averaging 78.8, a long way ahead of the Lions averaging 65.3 per game.
5. At Etihad Stadium the Bulldogs have defeated the Lions seven times from 12 contests, including the last two by a combined 125 points. The Lions have lost six of their last seven games at Etihad, including four by more than 50 points.