MELBOURNE - The fight the Western Bulldogs were missing for much of last AFL season has been rediscovered in a valiant one-point comeback preseason win over Hawthorn.
The Bulldogs trailed by as many as 14 points midway through the last quarter before charging home to win 1.10.6 (75) to 2.8.8 (74) despite a fine five-goal performance from Hawk superstar Lance Franklin at Etihad Stadium last night.
The Hawks, winless so far in the preseason, had their night further soured by having David Hale and Luke Breust limp off injured in the second half, while Dogs draftee Jake Stringer also hobbled off in the last term.
Skipper Matthew Boyd (31 disposals) was excellent for the Bulldogs while youngster Clay Smith had a fine game and kicked a nine-point super goal to put his side in front in the last quarter.
But after Hawthorn's Jordan Lewis kicked a behind to level the scores, it was a poster from young tall forward Liam Jones that ended up deciding the game.
It was the Dogs' first win since midway through last season, with the club having lost its last 11 games last year.
They kicked the first three goals of the night, the first to Robert Murphy, who is expected to play mostly in attack this year and showed he will add spark.
The Dogs edged back in front by half-time before Hawthorn looked set to blow them away with the first three goals of the second half.
The Hawks again looked set to kill the contest when Jarryd Roughead booted a nine-pointer to start the last quarter and Franklin kicked two goals in two minutes soon after to push the lead to 16 points before the Dogs' decisive charge.