I’d come to the realisation that the great novelist Thomas Hardy was somehow directing the scripts of the Western Bulldogs. Indeed the Footscray Football Club well before that. (He may have even been pulling the levers for the Prince Imperials way back in the 1880s for all I know).
Thomas Hardy is the author of novels such as Tess of the D’Urbevilles and (this was the clincher in establishing the link between a British novelist and the fate of an Australian rules football team) Far from the madding crowd.
To recap on my line of thinking: Ole Tom - though around any self-respecting footy club he'd be known as Tommo - specialises in ponderous co-incidences. A sense of impending doom hovers relentlessly. Even when a character appears to be on the brink of happiness, Ole Tom pulls out a few contrived and heavy-handed plot twists – an overheard conversation, a letter slipped under a door, the failure of Paul Hudson to shepherd for Chris Grant in September 1997, for example - all designed to ensure the continued misery of his characters.
Ole Tom can lay it on a bit thick, if truth be told. One of his characters, Jude the Obscure, is described as: the sort of man who was bound to ache a good deal before the fall of the curtain upon his unnecessary life should signify that all was well with him again.
That can mean only one thing. Jude the Obscure was definitely one of the anguished fans among the Bulldogs crowd in 1997, the fateful occasion of The Preliminary Final That Must Not Be Named.
I reached for the Thomas Hardy Is Directing Our Future theory after Round three because - with only a minute to go - the Dogs were leading the Hawks. It had been a brave, spirited, tenacious performance, an announcement that we were serious contenders in 2016. Brilliant footy combined with a fanatical self-belief meant we'd weathered several challenges from the Three-Peaters.
But - just as a stirring victory for we, the truest of true believers, appeared inevitable - Ole Tom ratcheted up the tension.