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Finals contenders Western Bulldogs and GWS Giants meet at Mars Stadium in a season-defining clash with huge top eight ramifications.

The Dogs (9-8-1, 121%) will be full of confidence coming off a 41-point win over Essendon that saw them climb into fifth place as Luke Beveridge welcomes back 2016 Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen and recalls Rory Lobb.

For the Giants, they’ve hit their best form of the season under Adam Kingsley, with six wins on the trot to move into the top eight.

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This match gets underway at 1.45pm AEST from Mars Stadium.

Watch it live on channel 504 from 1pm AEST.

QUARTER-BY-QUARTER MATCH REPORT

There were no late changes, with Rhylee West (Western Bulldogs) and Nick Haynes (Giants) named the starting subs.

Both sides had opportunities early in the game, but the windy conditions in Ballarat made it difficult for them to get clean passages of play.

The tough conditions were laid bare when Cody Weightman’s set shot was sailed hard right by the wind.

Moments later, Marcus Bontempelli found Bailey Smith deep in the forward line to convert the Dogs’ first goal of the game.

Bontempelli was busy early with 11 disposals at 72 per cent efficiency despite the strong breeze, with Brownlow medallist Gerard Healy noting the Dogs skipper had “totally dominated this opening 20 minutes.”

Playing in his first game since Round 10, Jason Johannisen kicked a ripping goal on the run before celebrating accordingly with teammates as the Dogs extended their lead.

“They are all over them at the moment, the Western Bulldogs,” Saints great Leigh Montagna said on Fox Footy.

Healy added: “There’s worrying signs here for the Giants.”

The Dogs led by 14 points at quarter-time, 3.5 (23) to 1.3 (9), but their inaccuracies left some scoring on the board.

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