Aaron Naughton was substituted out with concussion as the Western Bulldogs climbed to the top of the AFL ladder with a routine 29-point win over last-placed North Melbourne.

Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore and Jack Macrae helped the Bulldogs gain control in the midfield to set up the 16.12 (108) to 11.13 (79) victory at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

A third straight win saw the Dogs leapfrog Melbourne – who were upset by GWS on Saturday – into top spot ahead of a meeting with red-hot Sydney in round 17.

But it came at a cost as key forward Naughton was taken out of a match at half-time for the second time in three weeks.

Naughton was searching for a big mark moments before the main break when he threw himself into a pack and landed heavily.

He lay almost motionless for about a minute before being helped to his feet and hobbling off the ground.

Emerging star Cody Weightman excited Bulldogs fans playing deep in attack and had a first quarter to remember.

Zaine Cordy in action for the Western Bulldogs.
The Western Bulldogs are on top of the AFL ladder after a 29-point win over North Melbourne. Credit: AAP

The 20-year-old made use of the space afforded to him by Naughton and Josh Bruce to kick three of the Dogs’ first four goals.

He finished with four as Mitch Wallis, who was a late inclusion for Ed Richards (ill), bobbed up with three in the final term.

Liberatore, Bruce and Bailey Dale kicked two goals each.

Macrae continued his streak of having at least 30 disposals in every game this season, gathering 31 and seven clearances.

North Melbourne were embarrassed by the Bulldogs in round three to the tune of 128 points but showed some signs of their development since that Good Friday humiliation in a far more competitive performance.

Cam Zurhaar kicked four goals and pulled down a superb one-handed mark in attack during the final term.

Ben Cunnington (26 disposals and nine clearances) and ruckman Todd Goldstein were also among the Kangaroos’ best and kicked two goals each.

Key forward Nick Larkey’s tough day was compounded when he hit the post from the top of the goal square after swooping on a loose ball in the final term.

Western Bulldogs dispatch gallant North Melbourne to top AFL ladder
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