I made my debut, so to speak, at Footscray Hospital. I lived in Yarraville until I was three when the family moved to the other side of Melbourne. The Bulldogs played their last Grand Final the year I was born.
Through the 1970s, 80s, and 90s the Dogs were pretty predictable. A few solid wins early in the season would have all the experts saying ‘Finals contenders’. And then the fade would set in. Again and again the promising start came to nothing. How did it come about? Several generations of Bulldogs fired up and fizzled away. Loser psychology? Western suburbs inferiority complex? There’s a worthy academic paper to be written exploring the phenomenon.
Whatever the handicap, the Dogs are now done and dusted with it. Last Saturday they fought off the equally determined Sydney Swans to take the flag, raise the cup, and make history.
The 1954 Premiership Bulldog by Melbourne cartoonist WEG. It really has been that long since the last Grand Final win. Which was, until Saturday, the first, the one, and only.
I was never a team sports player and I was even less of a team sports supporter. But I shed a quiet tear or two when the final siren sounded and the Dogs became AFL Premiers of 2016. Congratulations to the team for their well earned victory.
The Western Bulldogs’ breaking of a 62-year premiership drought is like some sort of fantasy, climbing from the hardly dizzy heights of seventh spot on the ladder.
But how they jumped the final hurdle should enter football folklore as well. Because this really was one of the great grand finals, not only of the modern era, but of 120 seasons of VFL and AFL football.
It swayed this way and that, with five lead changes. It featured a rollocking 11-goal second quarter. And it was still in doubt until the last couple of minutes. The Dogs’ tale was a story of romance which deserved a fitting final chapter. And boy, did it get one…
(Thanks to Fox Sports)
The numbers look even better when you click on the image as you enjoy this fine musical accompaniment.