The Western Bulldogs have kept in touch with the top eight with a 20-point win over the GIANTS in a cracking contest at GIANTS Stadium on Saturday night.
In a high-scoring frenzy, the Dogs took control in the third quarter with a quick five-goal burst proving the difference in the 19.11 (125) to 16.9 (105) victory.
Cody Weightman booted five goals – all in the first half – and Aaron Naughton matched it with five of his own in a devastating double act.
Jack Macrae was a force in the midfield with a massive 37 touches and nine tackles, while Tim English benefited from Braydon Preuss' early injury to dominate the ruck.
The win keeps the Dogs in 10th place, but just one win behind sixth-placed Richmond.
The only downside to the victory was the potentially serious knee injury to Taylor Duryea in the first term, while Weightman bravely fought on after dislocating his elbow in the third quarter.
Toby Greene kept his side in it with a career-high seven goals, while Jesse Hogan was a constant threat with three majors.
Stephen Coniglio and Tom Green held their own in the midfield, but the loss of Preuss combined with the pre-match withdrawal of Matt Flynn made life very difficult for the GIANTS midfielders.
There were few signs early of the rivalry that has become one of the most heated in the AFL as a fast and furious opening term produced 11 goals and a three-point lead for the Bulldogs.
The shackles remained off in the second quarter as the teams combined for the highest half-time total score this season (127) with the Bulldogs leading by five points.
The goals continued in the third term, but the Bulldogs were able to surge to a 29-point lead off the back of winning clearances 14-4.
The match continued in similar fashion in the final quarter to end with the highest combined score of 230 so far this season.
Injury carnage hits both teams
It was almost a case of survival of the fittest as both sides dealt with numerous injuries. It all started before the opening bounce with Matt Flynn was withdrawn with a quad injury. Taylor Duryea lasted less than 10 minutes before suffering what looked like a serious knee injury. The GIANTS' ruck problems got worse when Braydon Preuss limped off with an ankle injury before he too was subbed in the second term. James Peatling was struggling with a hamstring injury, but battled on before he was ruled out at three-quarter time. Cody Weightman dislocated his elbow in a sickening incident, but incredibly managed to return and play out the game. Jesse Hogan was also limping at one point and debutant Ryan Angwin appeared to be ailing as well.
Toby's career night
Inspirational GIANT Toby Greene produced a performance for the ages with an incredible seven-goal haul. The co-captain was on fire from the outset with three majors in the first term as he kept his side in touch after an early Dogs blitz. He added another one in the second and one more in the third to match his career-best of five goals. But he wasn't done there with two more in the final term to become just the second GIANT in history - after Jeremy Cameron - to boot seven goals in a game.
GIANTS 5.4 9.7 11.8 16.9 (105)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 6.1 10.6 16.9 19.11 (125)
GIANTS: Greene 7, Hogan 3, Coniglio 2, Riccardi 2, Ash, Brander
Western Bulldogs: Weightman 5, Naughton 5, West 2, Williams, Bontempelli, McNeil, Scott, Ugle-Hagan, Macrae, Dunkley
GIANTS: Greene, Green, Coniglio, Hogan, Himmelberg
Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Weightman, Naughton, English, Dunkley, Bontempelli
GIANTS: Preuss (ankle), Peatling (hamstring)
Western Bulldogs: Duryea (knee), Weightman (elbow)
GIANTS: Matt Flynn (quad) replaced in selected side by Zach Sproule
Western Bulldogs: Nil
GIANTS: Jarrod Brander (replaced Preuss in the second quarter)
Western Bulldogs: Lachlan McNeil (replaced Duryea in the first quarter)