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Relief for Beveridge as Bulldogs thrash Tigers

The Western Bulldogs have posted their highest score of the AFL season and given under-fire coach Luke Beveridge some relief from fierce criticism with a 91-point thrashing of injury-hit Richmond.

Under a blowtorch after four losses in their previous five games, the Bulldogs were dominant from the opening bounce in their crushing 19.19 (133) to 6.6 (42) victory at the MCG on Saturday night.

The Dogs held their opponents goalless in the first quarter and were never challenged in a result that improved their record to 4-5 ahead of a tough away clash with Greater Western Sydney next week.

"One of the difficulties when maybe there is some external pressure is to go into a game and relax your mind and make fluid and concerted decisions in the game, especially with the ball," Beveridge said.

"I thought our ball security and the way we used our hands and brought each other into the game was as good as we've done for a fair while.

"It's been a hallmark of the times when we've been a really good team and challenged or not. I just thought that everyone really kept their heads.

"There was a lot of heart in tonight ... and the spirit in the players was strong.

"Now the maintenance of that and the progression of it going into a really challenging game against GWS will be really important."

Aaron Naughton, Sam Darcy and James Harmes (four goals each) cashed in on the Bulldogs' territorial dominance of Richmond as they won a lop-sided inside-50 count (77-41).

Aaron Naughton and James Harmes.
Aaron Naughton (L) and James Harmes (R) celebrate one of their combined eight goals. (Rob Prezioso/AAP PHOTOS)

The Dogs had 116 more disposals than their opponents and also won the tackle count (55-46).

Adam Treloar (41 disposals), Marcus Bontempelli (32), Bailey Dale (30) and Ed Richards (34) were prolific ball-winners, with skipper Bontempelli and Riley Garcia adding two goals each.

But the contest never reached any great heights, with both sides guilty of a raft of skill errors.

Dion Prestia (23 disposals, one goal) battled hard for Richmond on return from injury, Shai Bolton kicked two majors from 19 touches and Daniel Rioli (26 possessions) was busy, though the Tigers had few winners.

The margin temporarily blew out beyond 100 points during an ugly second-half as Richmond (1-8) slipped further into the mire.

Unlucky midfielder Jack Graham (tight hamstring) was substituted out because of yet another soft-tissue issue just minutes before Sam Banks was concussed in a scary landing from a third-quarter marking contest.

Dogs ruckman Tim English accidentally took Banks' legs from underneath him after being pushed into the contest by Noah Balta.

Sam Banks and Tim English.
Sam Banks is spectacularly upended during a marking contest. (Rob Prezioso/AAP PHOTOS)

Play was held up for several minutes while medical staff assessed Banks, who was driven off the field on a medicab but was awake and alert in the change room soon afterwards.

Maurice Rioli Jr hurt an ankle in the dying stages and was also taken off on a medicab after his left leg got caught and twisted under the weight of a Treloar tackle.

Rioli will be sent for scans to determine the extent of the damage.

"It's a bit disappointing with the young lads that have gone out of the game again, so we get tested as a footy club," Tigers coach Adem Yze said.

"But our execution and our method was off early.

"In the first half we just couldn't get our game going the way we wanted to and they were very good.

"They came with a strong contest, smashed us around clearance and their good players played really well.

"It's really disappointing."