Bulldogs. Hawks blow away early season cobwebs

Western Bulldogs will continue to monitor tough onballer Liam Picken in the days ahead after he suffered suspected concussion in a 22-point win over Hawthorn in a pre-season match in Ballarat on Saturday.

GOTCHA: Mitch Honeychurch (Western Bulldogs) does his best to avoid tackling attempt by Hawthorn's Isaac Smith.

GOTCHA: Mitch Honeychurch (Western Bulldogs) does his best to avoid tackling attempt by Hawthorn's Isaac Smith.

The former North Ballarat Rebel was stretchered off the ground 18 minutes into the third quarter of the JLT Community Series encounter after suffering a heavy knock to the head in a pack marking contest.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Liam Shiels shows the Bulldogs a clean pair of heels at Mars Stadium. He was among the Hawks' best. Pictures: Dylan Burns

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Liam Shiels shows the Bulldogs a clean pair of heels at Mars Stadium. He was among the Hawks' best. Pictures: Dylan Burns

Picken was only introduced into the game after half-time, with the Bulldogs choosing to simulate home and away match conditions by using just four players off the interchange bench despite having eight available.

STRETCHER: Liam Picken is gently taken off the ground after suffering a heavy head knock in the third quarter,

STRETCHER: Liam Picken is gently taken off the ground after suffering a heavy head knock in the third quarter,

He had quickly made an impact with seven touches.

Jason Johannisen chats with teammate Liam Picken, who suffered suspected concussion, on the ground after the match.

Jason Johannisen chats with teammate Liam Picken, who suffered suspected concussion, on the ground after the match.

"He doesn't know any other way. He's just full on and wants to make a contest," stand-in coach Daniel Giansiracusa said.

"We'll assess him throughout the week so.

PERFECT START: Luke Dahlhaus congratulates Josh Schache on kicking a goal with his first kick in Bulldogs colours

PERFECT START: Luke Dahlhaus congratulates Josh Schache on kicking a goal with his first kick in Bulldogs colours

“Hopefully he's all okay, but at least he was up and about after it."

Picken’s cameo was part of a Western Bulldogs surge which laid the foundation for the win.

PERFECT: The scene at Mars Stadium in idyllic conditions for Saturday's AFL pre-season match.

PERFECT: The scene at Mars Stadium in idyllic conditions for Saturday's AFL pre-season match.

After engaging in a free-running first half shoot-out which had Hawthorn in front by eight points at the main break, Western Bulldogs applied the heat with a five-goal third term to open up a 12-point advantage.

They increased this to 25 points early in the last quarter before Hawthorn rallied for one last time.

The Hawks had their chances, but captain Jarryd Roughead twice hit the post and the game was gone.

Giansiracusa and Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson each expressed satisfaction in aspects of the game, as well as highlighting areas which needed work.

“For both sides there were patches which were good and patches which were a bit ordinary, That’s to be expected in a first hit-out which lacked a bit of polish,” Clarkson said.

He said Hawthorn’s only injury concern was a slight corky for Roughead.

Marcus Bontempelli had a big influence on the game for the Bulldogs with 27 disposals, while recruit Josh Schache was saved for the second half when he shared time between attack and in the ruck – just as another newcomer Jackson Trengove did.

Tom Mitchell was again a ball magnet for Hawthorn with 30 touches.

BULLDOGS 6.0 7.3 12.8 15.10 (100)

HAWKS 5.2 8.5 10.8 11.12 (78)

GOALS – Western Bulldogs: Dunkley 3, Honeychurch 2, Macrae 2, Dale 2, Daniel, Wood, Trengove, Schache, Picken, Liberatore. Hawthorn: Schoenmakers 3, Roughead 2, Gunston, Pittonet, Breust, Hanrahan, Smith, Mitchell

BEST – Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Dunkley, Macrae, Williams, Crozier, Biggs, Liberatore. Hawthorn: Sicily, Mitchell, Smith, O'Meara, Bruest, Shields