Is it a coincidence that the Dogs have put in their best performances while Bulldog Tragician is many miles out of the country ? Seems only too likely, but you can be assured there were joyous celebrations when news broke. What a just reward for the perseverance of players and fans.
While the Bulldog Tragician attempts to recruit new supporters in the Big Apple (can you believe there was NO coverage in the New York Times analyzing the victory ? What sort of hick town is this?) John Darcy has brought the game to life for us. Thanks again John and here's his review:
Having parked our car 3 or 4 blocks from 'Doglands' stadium, friends Norm, Jan and I are walking briskly to the ground with the game set to start in 15 minutes. That's one of the pro's of following a 'smaller' club; you can generally drive and park quite close to the ground and getting a seat is never a problem. And so it was on Sunday when joining a queue of two and negotiating the security check ( honestly, what is their purpose? I have carried a swiss army pocketknife in my pack for five years and never been questioned), it's off to bay 17 where there's so many empty seats, we could have all laid across them and still had some left over.
The dogs look keen as they make their way on to the ground and charge towards the lovingly made banner. And then.. they stop, duck under it and keep going. Whatever happened to players ripping through it; each player trying to out jump the previous one? Once upon a time blokes like Rick Kennedy and Scotty Wynd would chew it up and spit it out on the way through.
The toss is won by Boydy and a cheer goes up through the crowd. In the indoor confines of our home ground the advantage is zip but we will take our victories wherever we can get them, regardless how small.
The dogs get a lot of the ball in the first quarter but when they fail to hit their targets, the Eagles hurt them on the rebound with a couple of 'coast to coast' goals.
The game remains tight through the second quarter. As has been evident in recent weeks, the dogs are really getting a feel for each others whereabouts. When they have ball in tight clinches, a series of 5 or 6 slick handballs and they are on their way. With this improvement, a couple of players have really lifted in the last couple of weeks. Confidence is a wonderful thing and Dal and Granty have found theirs. They are zipping about so much i hope the WADA guys are not in the crowd.
At half time i decide to walk around the ground. Behind the goals at home games the club has our traditional bulldog with its owner. This one is called Sid. Sid is quite popular and adults and children like being photographed with it. I'm unsure what Sid makes of it all. His default expression gives nothing away. I like the fact that Sid is continuing a quirky tradition that has been going for many, many years.
Further along i pass a bloke wearing one of those 'spaghetti' hats in team colors. Urrgggh, how i hate them. And the 'court jester' hats. What else? Ah yes, the plastic 'clickety-clack' thingo. Bit hard to explain but they make a lot of noise. The inflatable hand... not a fan. Most of all i hate the ground announcers, their incessant waffling and the cranked up advertising over the p.a. Okay, end of rant...back at my seat and on with the footy.
The second half sees the bulldogs continue where they left off. Whenever the eagles look like getting close the dogs are able to answer. Mitch Wallis seems to have slipped into the role that Clay Smith was playing before injury ended his season. Lachie Hunter is looking lively and the young talls in the backline, Roughead, Talia and Young are looking good.
As the game goes on it becomes obvious that the boys aren't going to let up. The crowd can sense it too. The siren sounds with the dogs 22 point victors. The elated fans are smiling and so they deserve to; five wins from the previous twenty eight games is enough to test the most dyed in the wool supporter.
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.