AFL

Bulldogs notch win against Blues

The struggling Western Bulldogs have notched a much-needed AFL win, edging Carlton by 20 points in a scrappy MCG contest.

The reigning premiers led by four goals at three-quarter time and staved off the depleted Blues to climb within a victory of the top eight.

Sunday's 12.10 (82) to 9.8 (62) win came at a cost for the Dogs, with key forward Jake Stringer succumbing to a hamstring injury minutes into the second quarter.

Stringer immediately left the ground and sat out the rest of the game with his left leg iced.

Carlton were reduced to a single rotation late in the game with Alex Silvagni, Ciaran Byrne and Dylan Buckley succumbing to injuries.

It wasn't the most convincing victory but the Bulldogs would be happy to take it after losing four of their past five games.

After a dismal 59-point loss to Adelaide last week, the Dogs looked in danger of another blowout early on, conceding the first three goals to a fast-starting Carlton.

The Dogs had 14 forward entries but no marks inside 50 in the first quarter, with Carlton's tall defenders feasting on intercept marks.

Classy midfielder Caleb Daniel proved the game-changer, racking up four inside-50s and 14 of his 25 disposals in an outstanding second term as the Dogs outscored the Blues five goals to one.

There were shades of the Bulldogs of last year as Daniel, Marcus Bontempelli and eye-catching youngster Mitch Honeychurch put together some impressive handball chains.

Up by 21 points at halftime, the Dogs struggled to press their advantage, with both sides lacking composure going forward.

Opportunistic goals from Mitch Wallis and Toby McLean handed the advantage to the Dogs as the Blues ran out of legs during the fourth quarter.

Matthew Kreuzer dominated the ruck battle with 50 hitouts, Matthew Wright booted three goals and Bryce Gibbs led Carlton's midfield brigade with 32 disposals.

AAP