This week while the Bulldog Tragician is out of the country, John Darcy has sent in a wonderful and entertaining account of this week's match..where, as Tim Lane once put it, the Shoppers from Forges met the Shoppers from George's .
Take it away John...
There was a time, well ok many times when the bulldogs were not that good. And whenever we were to play a top team, i being a young catholic man, would pray to god that it would bucket down leading up to and during the game. It may have meant getting wet but maybe, just maybe, it could get us the four points.
And so it is that today all roads led to Launceston to play those horrible hawks. East meets West, privilege meets poverty etc. Ah those hawks...memories of bygone tussels; the record drubbing in the qualifying final in 85, the almost redemptive effort 2 weeks later in the prelim,or even that one back in '83 when we knocked off by the eventual premier at Princes Park with Robbie Groenawagen playing his heart out (hey isn't the Wagen running footy in Tassie? Or maybe the Captain is flying a 747 somewhere over the Pacific...).
Anyway the promised showers never quite arrived. I settle down in front of the telly ever so grateful that channel 7 has seen fit to allow us to be showcased on their network (sarcasm). While a win would be nice, two things i hope to see are the bulldogs linking up and creating some flow and also a greater kick to handball ratio. It seems the more we handle the ball, the greater chance of comical stuff ups.
I am of course sitting alone as the family has scattered to all ends of the house. Even the dog has abandoned me.
Players are in position on the ground. At one end is Roughead vs Roughead; young dog Jordan up against his more experienced cousin, Jarryd. At the other end is the high leaping if slightly maligned Liam Jones with a once loved bulldog, Brian Lake (author gives wistful look).
Both sides are wasting chances throughout the first quarter but the dogs are quite plucky. Liberatore features a lot. Probably Tony more than Tom. The cameraman must have been on a retainer given how many times the old dog appeared on our screen.
The boys stay in touch for most of the arvo. 'Ballllll.....', '... oh b*o*dy rubbish' i scream at the box, causing chuckles from my daughter in the next room. I make mental note to advise the AFL to attach tv screens to all umpires. It is so obvious when i watch it.....
There is good tackling; there is players running in two's and three's supporting each other; there are players willing to get under their opponents skin. I'm loving this! I wanna reach through the screen and rip Jarryd Roughead off his cousin who he has pinned to the ground. I want to pat Granty on the back and tell him not to worry that he's missed a few, he's having a crack. And i want to tell Mitch ' mate you might look like Harpo Marx but you are playing like a Massey Ferguson tractor'. And, and....
And predictably the hawks kick away in the last quarter and i think to myself, please, please, boys remember Macca's words: 'when things get really tough we've got to find a way to hang in the game.
And to their credit they begin to get the ball out of the centre and attack the goals. Sure the result is decided but four goals in the last five minutes and i am off the couch and vocal. My partner thought we must have won the game.
We didn't, but for two weeks in a row we have made a little movement on that long road to where we want to get to.