Bulldogs bite Lions in wet Ballarat scrap

The Western Bulldogs might not be right back in town after a hard-fought 16-point win over Brisbane in Ballarat, but they're at least approaching the city limits.

The Lions were the better side early in Saturday's clash at a cold and wet Mars Stadium, but Luke Beveridge's men clawed back into the contest to prevail 13.14 (92) to 11.10 (76) and square their AFL season ledger at four wins and four losses.

Aaron Naughton didn't reach the heights of his stunning breakout performance against Richmond, but the exciting youngster overcame a quiet first half to boot three goals, with his last major the sealer.

Josh Dunkley starred for the Bulldogs with an equal career-high 36 possessions, with Jack Macrae (28 disposals and a goal) and Marcus Bontempelli (26 and a goal) also important.

The Bulldogs suffered a blow before the game when sore lead ruckman Tim English was withdrawn, replaced by defender Fletcher Roberts.

Jackson Trengove was switched into the ruck and he was one of his side's better performers, ending with 22 touches and 27 hit-outs.

After winning their opening two games of the season, the Dogs lost four on the spin, before hitting their straps to win their past two.

"Even in our earlier wins we probably didn't play a consistent four quarters, but the last two weeks we've been strong," Beveridge said.

"So I think we've discovered some consistency, we haven't rediscovered it because I don't think it was there (earlier in the year).

"It's a credit to the lads to be able to establish that over the past two weeks.

"Two wins is momentum ladder-wise, but we play Geelong this week so we'll definitely go down to Sleepy Hollow with a head of steam and belief that we can challenge them."

Hugh McCluggage, who played his junior footy in the area, enjoyed a strong homecoming with 26 touches and a goal, with Lachie Neale (30 disposals) and Dayne Zorko (28 and two goals) also prominent for Brisbane, who slipped to a 5-3 record.

"I thought it wouldn't have been unrealistic for us to be four goals in front at halftime with the amount of ball we'd had inside 50," Lions coach Chris Fagan said.

"It's not like we missed hard shots.

"Obviously it was a little bit tricky and wet but we hadn't taken enough advantage of our play.

"Our moment was in the first half and we didn't take it."

The Lions finished two players down after Zac Bailey injured a hamstring in the first quarter and Jarrod Berry got poked in the eye in the final term.