Bulldogs stunned by grand final demolition

The Western Bulldogs’ “arduous” journey to the AFL grand final saw them blown off Optus Stadium by a rampant Melbourne outfit.

© Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS Captain Marcus Bontempelli was an inspirational figure for the Bulldogs even in defeat.

After winning finals in Launceston, Brisbane and Adelaide, a second premiership in six seasons proved one step too far.

The final margin was a whopping 74 points, which will be forever remarkable to everyone who watched Saturday night’s historic decider in Perth.

Inspirational captain Marcus Bontempelli put the Bulldogs 19 points ahead 13 minutes into the third quarter, before the Demons swept them away in irresistible fashion.

Melbourne then kicked 16 of the next 17 goals to race away to their first premiership in 57 years.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was left stunned by the dramatic turnaround.

“You’ve got to give Melbourne credit,” Beveridge said.

“To think we were 19 points up during that third quarter and for the scoreline to end up as it was was a considerable show of power and strength out of the middle.

“We couldn’t stem the tide, we couldn’t get a clearance and get it into our half. 

“It happened so quickly, and in the blink of an eye, the game is almost gone, so all we can do is credit them. 

“Has our journey been too taxing, has it taken it out of us? I’m not too sure. 

“There’s no doubt it’s been arduous, we’ve had some challenges, but I couldn’t be more grateful for what our players have been able to do to get us to this stage.

“As good as Melbourne were, it would’ve been nice, if you’re going to go down go down in a a bit of a tighter tussle.”

The Bulldogs sat inside the top-four for most of the season but had to fight their way to the grand final from fifth after losing their last three games of the home-and-away season.

Their sudden-death finals wins, particularly the semi-final thriller against the Brisbane Lions and the smashing of Port Adelaide a week later, were iconic victories for a club that has won just two premierships.

Beveridge is determined to get the Bulldogs back to another grand final and was already thinking about that in his post-match speech to the players.

“I largely just expressed my gratitude for what our players have been able to do,” he said.

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