Bulldogs scrap for Blues win
Western Bulldogs earned a badly-needed 20-point victory against Carlton to keep their hopes of defending their premiership hopes alive.
Luke Beveridge's side had only won one of their previous five games since the mid-season bye, losing three of those games by margins of 46 points or more.
But they came out on top in a low-scoring scrap at the MCG, led by Marcus Bontempelli who finished with 30 possessions, five clearances, two goals and six inside 50s.
Carlton kicked three goals in the opening 10 minutes of the match, but the Bulldogs responded with five consecutive majors to take control - the last of them a superb snap from Bontempelli.
The reigning premiers restricted the Blues to just three more goals across the next two-and-a-half terms to go into the final quarter with a comfortable 26-point advantage.
Though Brendon Bolton's team managed three more majors in the final term, the Bulldogs weren't threatened and closed out the game 12.10 (82) to 9.8 (62).
Bontempelli was well supported through the Bulldogs midfield by Jack Macrae and Caleb Daniel. Macrae had 31 possessions and eight marks, while Daniel tallied 25 possessions.
Jason Johannisen, who signed a lucrative new five-year contract with the club during the week, kicked a goal and gathered 23 possessions.
The Bulldogs' victory brought them within a game of eighth-placed St Kilda, but their day was soured by a hamstring injury to forward Jake Stringer in the second quarter.
Carlton were well led by Bryce Gibbs, who had 32 possessions, while Matthew Kreuzer had 50 hit-outs and five clearances.
Bolton said: "There were a lot of fundamental skills errors, probably from both sides but particularly from us, particularly with some errors forward of centre and decision-making, which we missed with some opportunities to hit the scoreboard."
Western Bulldogs are 1000/1 to win the Grand Final, while they are 2000/1 to finish in the top eight.
View all Australian Rules betting