The siren has sounded. There’s only room for one simple and far too familiar emotion right now.
It’s too early yet for consolation, for fierce pride in our valiant efforts and spirited performance, and this year of miracles. That will come later. Right now, it’s too raw to have perspective as that song, the anthem of our conquerors in The 1997 Preliminary Final That Must Not Be Named and The 1998 Other Preliminary Final That Wasn’t Really Very Good Either, blares out. Again.
My niece Stephanie is 11 years old and she is crying as only 11-year-olds can when their hearts are broken. She’s too young to know that this heartache and disappointment is not the opposite of the joy of winning, but part of the spectrum. That the emotion that lifted us out of our seats when Jake Stringer kicked the goal that put us in front can’t be separated from the horrified, heads-in-hands anguish, when the Crows too quickly hit back.
We start that slow, losing trudge up the MCG stairs. Two Bulldogs’ fans alongside us, men in their 30s, notice Stephanie’s tears.
‘Agh, darlin’! We weren’t even meant to be here, it’s just not our time yet,’ says one.
‘2016. You wait. That will be it. That will be our year,’ consoles the other.
She gives a weak smile, a response to their warmth and kindness as much as their words.
We head out into the cooler air, away from the thudding noise inside the arena. Stephanie’s starting to absorb what the men were saying and talking herself back around to hope. ‘Look at where we’ve come from. We were 14th. We didn’t even have a coach, or a captain.
‘Or a CEO!’ she adds, as though this was quite the most diabolical aspect of our infamous October 2014.
A moment later she says bleakly. ‘It’s just not fair.’
There isn’t very much to say to that. As I wonder if our fate will ever be different, a line from one of Springsteen’s aching odes to disappointment and shattered hopes rebounds in my head.
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true?
’d forgotten how excruciating the wait before a final can be. Despite my vow to simply enjoy the experience, I’m tense. The day drags. My emotions are all over the place.Embrace the moment. Terrified of the moment.
Finals polarise your feelings. It’s like a pendulum that swings wildly from one extreme to the other. The middle ground of hoping for honourable, respectable loss doesn’t cut it, not when there’s so much at stake.
The songs on my iPod that day are imbued with superstitious meaning, messages from the universe that transform me from buoyant hope one moment to fear of failure the next. Paul Kelly sings: ‘Before too long…every dog will have his day, every dog will win.’ The next moment Crowded House warns me: ‘Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over.' (I guess whether there's a comma after the word 'dream' makes all the difference to how you interpret that one).
Then on comes a delicate melody from The Smiths, patron saints of depressives everywhere:
‘Please, please, please, let me get what I want. This time…
'For once in my life, let me get what I want. Lord knows it would be the first time.
'Lord knows it would be the first time…’
We're at the G, at long last. It’s brilliant and beautiful in the inky twilight. I get a message from a Richmond-supporting friend. ‘We believe in fairy tales, enjoy the starry night, Bulldogs, a new beginning.’
The countdown clock building up to the game is something I usually never look at, but tonight I restlessly watch every second crawl ever so slowly by.
Around me, just as nervously apprehensive, are the people I love; my family, with whom I have watched through heartache and joy. We all share love for our club. But, I find myself wondering, is ‘love’ the right word? What is it that I ‘love’, exactly? The 22 blokes who will take the field in our colours, people I’ve never met or spoken to, just because this year they’re the ones carrying our dream on their shoulders? The quixotic fairytale romance of the ‘under(Bull)dog’, our story of non-achievement becoming more mythic and epic with every passing year? The community of fans, whose expectant, hopeful, anxious faces as I look around echo mine, with their different stories of how they came to be here but with whom I'm now intricately connected by colours, flags, history and tribal allegiance?
There’s that stirring ripple through the crowd: our boys are about to run out on the ground. An electric current seems to hit me as the wave of sound lifts us all from our seats. It’s just about the biggest fiercest roar I remember. There’s no need any more for those questions about love, those questions that really have no sane answers.
My biggest fear in finals is of us freezing in the first few minutes, failing to adjust to the heightened tempo and intensity and finding ourselves already out of the contest by quarter-time. Far from it tonight though: our start is dazzling, frenetic and yet still clean and skilled. We rattle on the goals so quickly that I think we seem to stun ourselves. In the half second where the fleeting thought arises that this could be a rout, the Crows re-group with chilling efficiency; they come at us with precise footy. They lead us at quarter time.
And so begins an epic. I'll never watch it again, and there are long snatches of the game I later can’t recall, because there is never a lull, never a chance to ponder the rhythms or tactics of the match, just helter-skelter footy from end to end.
In the third quarter our efforts are immense. Time and again we are into our 50 zone; time and again our chances are squandered.
The Bont marks 30 metres out in our forward line. Bulldog crowds are so often introverted and subdued by our well-placed fear of what can happen to those who get too big for their boots. But this mark is greeted by the most extraordinary chant for an individual I’ve ever heard our fans produce. It’s spine-tingling, primal.
‘Bonti! Bonti! Bonti!’
We’ve all been waiting for moments like this, moments to see this new generation, unscathed by our awful record in too many finals past, poised and unafraid on the big stage. The Bont, our pride and joy, will surely not miss.
The Bont misses.
Minutes later, the ball hurtles towards him again and he marks with his long octopus arms outstretched, in almost the same spot. That miss was an aberration, surely.
The Bont misses again.
We’ve spent so much energy, going forward, time and again. The draining misses from easy shots are piling up, the harried, panicky entries into our forward line are taking their toll. We’re eleven points down at three quarter time. I’m not sure we have much left to give.
These Dogs don’t like losing. Their efforts lift yet again in the frenzied cauldron of 60,000 fans, the biggest crowd most of them have ever played before. They still believe.
When Jake wheels around to shoot for goal, after The Bont has instinctively tapped it in the direction of his fellow prodigy, the thunderous roar, the emotion among the players and fans, tells me that our momentum can’t be stopped.
Our momentum stops.
We need to regain the lead again. A posse of Bulldogs have broken through the defensive lines and are charging together through the middle. Only a sloppy, wayward disposal can thwart an inevitable goal.
A sloppy, wayward handball thwarts an inevitable goal.
There’s a couple of minutes left. But the Dogs are done.
In the car on the way home, conversation comes in fits and starts. We’re slowly, painfully making sense of it. How we lost, why we lost.
Stephanie’s talking herself around to optimism. ‘We only won seven games last year, and this year we’ve won fourteen.’
A moment later: ‘I’m glad we lost today. It would be worse to lose in a preliminary final. Because then we would have had our hopes up more.’
We can’t help but laugh. ‘Defensive pessimism,’ I say.
Stephanie is puzzled about what that means.
‘Being a Bulldogs’ fan,’ explains my sister.
The psyche of every Bulldogs fan after a loss like this can never draw consolation from the past and put the match in perspectie as a mere blip, a stepping stone along the way to inevitable improvement and success. We can never view the misses and the wasted chances without the ghosts of other such moments haunting our perceptions.
In the aftermath many fans, in their anguish at the loss of a game where we dominated every statistic, can’t help but see the parade of squandered opportunities as another chapter in a history of failure. They draw an unbroken line from the great chokes of the boys of 97 and 98 and too many other years. They see the misses, the lack of composure at key moments, as a soul-destroying continuation of our inability to deliver when it counts.
They fear that this new, shiny bright generation is already somehow tainted, that our past can never be escaped. That just by breathing in the Western Oval air, our uber-talented youngsters have been conditioned to repeat the mistakes that cost their predecessors in their colours a flag or maybe even two.
I don’t buy it. Or maybe I just don’t want to buy it.
I don’t want to burden Marcus Bontempelli, just turned 20, with that heavy history of disappointment; I prefer to think of his seven clearances, his 12 contested possessions, his seven ‘one per centers’ in his extraordinary finals debut.
I don’t want to think of Lachie hunter’s disastrous, clumsy final handball that maybe cost us the match, but the 28 times this formerly flighty and inconsistent 20 year old drove us forward, the thousands of metres his young legs ran to keep us in the contest.
Maybe it’s because we’ve got no choice but to talk ourselves around, like Stephanie, to resilience and hope. Otherwise we’re conceding that our dream really is 'a lie that don't come true', instead of remembering that unbelievable Bonti chant and believing that we're going to hear it again, on a much bigger occasion, one day very soon.
That's the blog for 2015. Thank you to guest bloggers Brendan 'Tragician' Soraghan and Dan Oakes for their wonderful contributions. Special thanks to those who've let me know that you've enjoyed my little blog this year. It helps on those days that I stare at the computer and wonder why exactly I'm doing it.
Needless to say, the Bulldog Tragician blog is a labour of love with no sponsorship or ads, so if you like it, spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, comment on this blog, subscribe to get the blog straight to your inbox or even let me know in person to give me the encouragement to keep on bloggin' in 2016 (aka 'Our Year'.)
August 31, 2014
Dogs v GWS: Gia's last dance
It was the last match of 2014. A depressing year was limping to its end. A year where we'd at best stagnated,. A harsher and more accurate assessment was probably that we'd gone backwards from some modest improvements the year before.
There were only 14725 of us there, fans voting silently with their feet about the state of our club, which had been dubbed 'irrelevant', and was playing a brand of joyless footy that was hard to watch. But it was a milestone, albeit a sad one, for one of our champs; for the 265th and last time Daniel Giansiracusa was taking the field in our colours.
The stage was set for the Dogs to go out with on a high against another club with little to play for, to sell some desperately needed faith that we were on the right track, and to celebrate, with a win, all the deeds of a man who's played the seventh highest number of games for us of all time.
By half time we know something's amiss. The Dogs are sluggish and sloppy. A strange, disturbing, listless pall hangs over the match and the crowd.
We're clueless about the reason for the malevolent vibes that we later learn were swirling around the playing group. We couldn't know it was the last game as a Bulldog, not just for honest plodders Mark Austin and Tom Young, but for Adam Cooney and Shaun Higgins. We couldn't have dreamt that our captain would not only never take the field for us again, but was already making the decision that would shatter our club, to defect to our opponents that day.
With a minute to go, we've lifted just enough to be within a goal. It's Jake Stringer who comes charging towards a well-weighted pass. If he marks it, you'd think, even with his erratic kicking, he'd be able to goal. But Jake, who's even been played as a defender and been in the reserves for parts of the year, spills the ball in a way that brings to mind one of my great-aunt's sayings at the footy: "If it was a plum pudding it would have burst."
There is no fairytale finish for Gia. Unfortunately it would be wrong to declare this as the worst lowlight of my years of supporting the Dogs. But as we clapped off the forlorn group, who looked so many zillions of miles from ever forming a competitive unit, a strange vision enters my head:
'There should be signage, like a royal warrant, with elegant calligraphy, fluttering in the breeze outside the Western oval. It would read:
'The Western Bulldogs. Purveyors of Disappointment.'
April 1, 2015
The Tragician previews the season
The reverberations of Shock-tober have almost passed. We understand a bit more, though not everything, about the unsettling torpor that hung around the club in 2014. And it's a new season, after all.
Our best and fairest winner, Libber The Second, has gone down with a season-ending knee injury. But Bob's our captain and with his charisma, warmth and love for the club, the hurt of Griffen's defection is slowly healing.
There are whispers about incredible performances on the track by The Bont (his team-mates dub him 'Fooch' for 'The Future') and Jake 'The Lair' Stringer. Bob says that this is the best group of young players he's ever played alongside.
Luke Beveridge is an unproven quantity, his resemblance to the Plantaganet kings, or the possibility that he was once an extra in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so far the most noteworthy aspect about him.
Luke's been experimenting with Matthew Boyd in the backline. We all have a little chuckle about that one. Well, at least the new coach isn't afraid to mix it up.
We thrash the Pies in a practice match but The Tragician is too experienced a campaigner to fall for this Fool's Gold.
So I take it upon myself to write a blogpost with some stirring, uplifting reminders of how we all needed to stick tight when things got tough. I counselled patience when this inevitable scenario unfolded:
As the season drags on, there are likely to be thrashings, dark days when our team of skinny striplings gets humiliated, dismal afternoons where we sit silent and stoic, days when we don't really want to get out the 'Bulldog for life' membership ticket, and take our seats with fake jauntiness and black humour.
A week later, the Dogs beat the Eagles in Round One. Bob, who's been at this twinkle-toed best, gets interviewed after the match.
He reminds us that the boys need to keep this up: for 'the next 25 weeks.'
April 27, 2015
Dreaming too loud: Dogs v Crows
A spirited, dazzling performance by the Dogs has the footy world sitting up and taking notice. Our nemesis, the Pride of South Australia, had been undefeated before meeting Our Boys. Though we were coming off a thumping by the Hawks in Launceston, we blitzed them with audacious, fast, furious footy. And there's a feel-good, poignant moment when Clay Smith, recovering from two knee reconstructions, kicks a goal and every one of his team-mates swamp him, young men in love with the game and its possibilities.
We've won three of our first four matches. And for the first time in oh so long, I'm getting the spine-tingling feeling that this is not a flash in the pan, not the result of other teams 'taking us too lightly', and not simply youthful exuberance that is bound to splutter to an end.
I drove home with my sister in a buoyant mood.
We could talk about this win forever. And I realise that not once today have I looked back or thought about the Preliminary Final That Must Not Be Named, or The Other Preliminary Final That Wasn't Really Very Good Either.
My sister says, suddenly: 'I just think they can do it. I think this group are going to do it for us. They're going to win us a flag one day.'
I called the blog that week: Dreaming too loud.
It's one of Ned Kelly's whimsical Irish phrases, a warning that he gave to the schoolteacher at Glenrowan, and salutary advice, I thought, to romantics everywhere, who dare to 'get too far ahead of themselves'.
July 30, 2015
Dogs v Pies: The Men of Mayhem close in on a finals berth
The winter had been tough at times, much as The Tragician had so cheerfully foretold. But the Dogs had defied expectations and kept winning.
Winning Ugly, at times.
Winning even when, as I'd predicted, we lost the carefree abandon of early season, when games had become a grind, when slugging it out in a grim battle against lowly stragglers on the ladder could have been too hard for this unbelievably young list.
Winning when we had no right to win, unleashing a ten-goal quarter in the heat in Cairns.
Winning after we lost the hard nut Koby Stevens whose strong body so often bullocked a path for his younger team-mates.
Winning despite the heartache of seeing Clay Smith do his knee for the third time, only two weeks after his long-awaited comeback.
There was a flame inside these guys, you could see. It burnt bright and fierce. They wanted more than an honourably improved season. They weren't willing to concede that this wasn't yet their time.
Against the Pies, a finals spot is up for grabs. It's the sort of crunch game where so often the Dogs have retreated into their shells, and when the Pies goaled within 30 seconds of the opening bounce, it seemed history would repeat. But the Daring Dogs of early in the season, the 'Men of Mayhem', full of vim and run, had returned. Beating them was the first time I really believed we could make the finals, would make the finals.
I just escaped an icy shower as we left the ground. It was followed by the appearance of a rare, luminous double rainbow in the leaden late afternoon sky. It may have been my imagination, of course, as I basked in the win and the growing likelihood of a Bulldogs' finals appearance, but it seemed to me its arc began somewhere near the MCG and ended up over Barkly St.
September 5, 2015
Dogs v Lions: Salty and grumpy
When my oldest son was in grade prep I got a phone call from the school asking me to collect him as he was feeling unwell. I rushed to his classroom, fearing a major emergency. But as we walked back to the car with him showing no particular signs of illness, he explained to me that he’d decided to opt out of school for the day because he was feeling ‘salty and grumpy.’
This splendidly apt description has become a family catchphrase for otherwise inexplicable ennui and crankiness. And it was this condition to which I succumbed as the siren sounded in Brisbane earlier this week, and the Dogs had been defeated by the lowly Lions.
Of course, the outcome didn’t REALLY matter; with nothing on the line, self-preservation had clearly kicked in and the Dogs were intent on playing ‘bruise-free’ footy. But as I stomped around a little too loudly in the kitchen post-match, muttering the names of offenders whose efforts had not been to my satisfaction, I realised I was definitely exhibiting all the signs of Salty and Grumpy syndrome.
It wasn’t very rational (but when has this ever been a strength of mine?). But was it too much to ask for the Dogs to soothe our pre-finals nerves by a straightforward, effortless romp in the park – I’d have taken even a pedestrian four goal win — to finish off this amazing season?
Instead, the loss felt like a sneering, ill-timed interjection into our momentum. A cunningly placed smirk in my direction from the universe, especially once it became clear that we would be playing That Certain Team From South Australia (like a member of some superstitious pre-historic tribe, I don’t even want to name them our enemies) - at the MCG, no less. I seem to recall it didn’t turn out too well there at various points in the past.
But I knew in my heart the real reason for my over-the-top reaction to the loss. It’s been such fun, riding the wave, joyously accepting our unexpected, amazing progress. Now, suddenly, unexpectedly, it all matters again.
Making the finals means the Dogs have crossed a line. We’re on the threshold, now, of the Land of Hope, Faith and (gulp!) Possible Premiership Glory.
There was after all a smug safety in being able to say: ‘All I expect from this year is seeing the kids develop.’ Chronic failure may hurt, but it’s familiar, comfortable, cosy-slippers stuff. Now it feels like we’re about to jump out of a plane, strapped to and invested in those kids, not knowing if and where our parachute is going to land. And a crash-landing could risk that pain, that dreadful fist-in-the-stomach pain that is finals defeat.
September 10, 2015
The magic carpet ride
For eight sides in the competition the season is over. But the Dogs are not one of them. Not this year.
There's the usual roll-call of retirements. Champs who carried the Geelong fans to the ecstasy of three flags are given their marching orders; they're farewelled with dignity, but none of them feels it's really 'their time'.
Daniel Cross ends his career with yet another suicidal, 'eyes-on-the-ball' act of reckless courage; he gets carried off by stretcher. You know for certain that Crossy would most definitely not have felt it was 'his time.' His best mate Matthew Boyd stands in the Melbourne race, applauding him off the field though the warrior now wears another team's colours. Boydy will be playing in September again.
Spring is in the air, finals talk is all around. The 'Dogs fans aren't on the sidelines, we're among the conversation, hungry for every snippet of news about our team, holding our breath when we hear about injuries to JJ and Roughie, debating possible selections (though second guessing He Who Has Led Us Into the Promised Land is futile).
We're moving forward, as fans have to do, about what might come next on this journey that only a handful of our team have embarked on before. Only rarely do we pause for a second and remember with a bitter-sweet pang that The Bont's jumper four was once Crossy's. There's a shiver of happiness and more than a bit of regret when I hear an anecdote from our match against Port. The Bont delivered an enormous crunching tackle, minutes before the final siren when we were 10 goals up against Port. Among the crowd that rose to their feet to applaud the Boy Wonder was a rosy-cheeked man with a receding hairline; our record-holder Brad Johnson, our skipper the last time we were there in September.
I see news footage of Dogs' fans queueing up overnight in the cold and rain to secure their finals tickets - this for a match where you could probably walk up and get tickets an hour before. The image of their dedication, the steadfastness of their hope and loyalty, brings on that mix of laughter and tears that this crazy business of being a supporter evokes in me so often.
There's no use feigning the Salties and Grumpies. We're going to see our kids, who've given us this year of boundless fun, running out on the G. Jake The Lair and The Bont will be under the lights on the big stage; the coin will be tossed by the man who was born to be our captain. We'll shout ourselves hoarse in the massive roar that can only happen when the ball is bounced for the first time in a final. We'll be with them for all the excitement, fear, terror and joy of whatever's to come on the magic carpet ride.
It's the time of year for the champs to be rested. Is this the reason that the Bulldog Tragician - who makes extravagant claims about undying devotion to the cause - was again a feeble no-show for the match against North?
The baton was again passed to Dan Oakes. He had his own struggle to get to the match, but was at least closer to the action, on a couch in Melbourne, than the 'missing in action' Tragician.
Here's Dan's account of a win, which meant that that 'F' word, which was first raised as an almost laughable concept after THAT win in Sydney, is actually a reality, or to quote from He Who Has Led Us From The Wilderness, now 'a mathematical certainty'...
"A Bulldogs-supporting acquaintance, a journalist at a major daily newspaper and a tough operator, texted me last week ahead of the game against the Kangaroos. 'We might get whipped. North is a bogey team for us.'
It was a point of view the 10-year-old had also been spruiking during the week when I pushed him on whether we would be going to the game. I wouldn't go so far as to say this level of pessimism is unique to Bulldogs fans, but as the owner of this real estate frequently points out, it is a recurring theme.
My friend the hack brought this up to explain why he was not going to the game, and the 10-year-old was inclined to follow his lead. Geelong's loss on the Friday night, which guaranteed the Bulldogs finals footy, was the clincher.
The 10-year-old decided that his beloved Dogs did not need his support against the Kangaroos, but his soccer coach, who plays for the mighty Bayside Argonauts first team, did. If the Argonauts won, they went top of the table and were a shoe-in for a finals place.
So, shaking my head at the fickleness of modern youth, I wandered across the road on Saturday afternoon and caught some of the Southern Football League finals match between Murrumbeena and Keysborough at Cheltenham's Jack Barker Oval (named for the father of Saints legend Trevor, and, incidentally, one-time home of Footscray Brownlow Medallist Peter Box, who played for Cheltenham before heading west), then ambled a couple of hundred metres with the boy to Shipston Reserve to see the Argonauts take on Endeavour Hills in the round ball code.
All of which is to say that, to my eternal shame, I've written two guest blog entries about games I watched from my couch.
Nonetheless, when we got home and settled down for the Dogs game (on a slight delay), we did so with a sense of anticipation. This was a different proposition to the Eagles away. You know with North there's a fair chance they aren't going to turn up for the game.
And also, North themselves. I feel like I should like them. Another smaller, working-class club, punching above its weight, threatened over the years with relocation or merger. But somehow they just rub me up the wrong way. They just aren’t…I don’t know…loveable.
All that said, though, and I know not everyone will agree with me, why boo Shaun Higgins? The bloke gave the Bulldogs decent service for years and decided he wanted a change of scenery.
With Griff, there is a real and reasonable sense of betrayal simply because of how much the Doggies faithful loved him. You can't say the same for Higgins (and I tend to think he was treated a bit harshly by the fans. Injuries and being played all over the ground didn't help), so what exactly are people angry or disdainful about? If we never really took him to our hearts, why expect loyalty in return?
Anyhow. There are few sights I like less than seeing Drew Petrie getting the ball in his mitts early in the game. Whether this is borne out by evidence or not, when he is on form against us, I feel like we're in a bit of strife. So it felt a little like an omen when he kicked the first, albeit 11 minutes in.
On the flipside, it was great to see Lukas Webb running around again. Although we haven't seen him at senior level since his cameo of a couple of rounds early in the season, he showed enough back then to suggest he may be the pinpoint-kicking heir to Murph or the re-modelled M Boyd in years to come.
Roughy, another welcome returnee, kicked our only goal of the quarter from a beautiful little snap, and it was a dour affair all round.
Then, bit-by-bit, the Bont edged into the picture. Cruising around, seemingly sweat-free, the boy wonder started to show signs this would be a special performance.
He kicked our first goal of the quarter in the 13th minute, which was followed by one from Honeycrunch (when we drafted young Mitch, the 10-year-old, not an avid fan of the written word, squinted at the paper and said “who’s this bloke…Honeycrunch?”), and a rapid-fire pair from Dead-Eye Dickson (after a beautiful break by McCrae and the Bont) and The Lair to leave us ahead at half time.
I think it’s fair to say that JJ is one of the slightly unsung heroes this year. While the bouquets have rained down on the Bont, Hunter, Wood, The Lair and Mitch Wallis this season, Johannisen’s remarkable improvement has gone less noticed.
There was genuine ecstasy on the couch when he materialized in our forward 50 and took a lovely grab, after Webb bombed it long, then slotted it.
Waite and Higgins pegged a couple back for the Kangas, but Crameri kicked one after being caught high in the square just before three quarter time.
So, the stage was set. The 10-year-old, despite all my entreaties regarding Higgins, let loose with a “get stuffed you flog!” as the former Dog kicked the first of the final term.
But then it happened. The play that encapsulated our season. The Bont came off half back, spun gracefully out of two tackles, then banged it long towards our forward 50, The Lair got there first and plucked the ball off the deck, brushed two North players aside like they were pink batts, handballed to Wallis, who dished it off to Picken, who ran inside 50 and banged it home. Cue semi-tears of pure joy.
Another lovely little string of tackles and handballs in the forward 50 for Dickson to score, and we were looking good.
Then another beautiful passage of play: Roughy sacked a North player in the centre square, The Lair picked it up and ignited the invisible afterburners, carrying it Judd-like towards our forward arc. He went for the square (although, truth be told, given who we’re talking about, most likely for goal) and Crameri took a lovely grab and goaled.
The rest of the quarter was a procession. JJ kicked his second, Zaine Cordy laid a massive tackle on Higgins inside 50, setting up a goal for 'Honeycrunch', Crammers chipped in with another, and, as if things weren’t insane enough, Biggs kicked one, and then another from within the centre square!
The final quarter really was an encapsulation of the way we play at Etihad, which leaves you feeling strangely conflicted. I mean, it is a terrible stadium in some ways, emblematic of the corporatisation of sport. Cold and sterile, and why shut the roof when the weather is fine?? But clearly our chances of going more than a week deep in the finals are only enhanced by an Etihad final. It will be interesting to see who we draw, and what our glorious leaders request.
So, what does this performance mean overall? When I arrived at work on Tuesday, I overheard a colleague of mine on the phone to the ABC library with an interesting request. “Yeah, can I get some vision of the Bulldogs’ 1954 premiership?”
PS. The Argonauts lost. And it rained.
About the Bulldog Tragician
The Tragician blog began in 2013 as a way of recording what it is like to barrack for a perennially unsuccessful team - the AFL team, the Western Bulldogs.