More on the Bulldogs

This weekend is Round 20 of the 2015 AFL season.

What I really want to write about is the players. It’s a tradition that their names are all changed so that they finish with the ….y sound or the ….a sound or the …o sound. It makes it easy to shout abuse and praise when you’re at the game. So this is how it goes with my team.

We have Granty, Bonty, Matty, Tommy, Wally, Willy, Boydy, Lukey, Lachy, Stewy, Jacky, Jakey, Woody, Smitty, Biggsy, Jordy or Roughy, Jongy, Morry, Webby, Honey, Joshy, Hammy, Tali, Danny .

Also these boys are in the lucky position of having names that already end in the …y sound: Darley, Cordy (1) and Cordy (2), Tory, Bailey, Koby.

And then we have The Rat, The Bont, The Darl and Fletch. And then last but not least we have Liam Picken – fitting no category and a brilliant class of his own!

My Bulldogs play Melbourne on Sunday at 3.20 pm. It’s the worst time of the weekend for a footy match. The trip home right on tea time is awful. After shuffling over the bridge from Docklands to Southern Cross Station we are squeezed through the MYKI gates like baby food through a mouli. Then the relentless human tide carries us down the escalators to Platform 11 where we try our best to stay at least bumping distance away from the edge of the platform.

If we are lucky a train has just cleared at least half the platform. If we’re not it’s every person for themselves as we are packed, sardine like onto the platform. Finally our train arrives but then once again we are pressed forward in a great human lump, expanding into the carriage like foam spray filler. Forget about a seat. You can only hope to be within grabbing distance of a rail or seat back. Don’t worry too much though. We are so tightly packed that our fellow passengers will hold us up when we hit a rough spot.

If we’ve had a win it’s a jolly ride home. If we lost there’s plenty of footy experts on board to tell us why.

When we hit our home station out comes the phone and the pizza order is in. Thirty minutes later, warm house, warm pizza and the replay on the telly.

I love the footy!

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Keep a Lid On It!

Sorry folks, my next post is going to be about the mighty Western Bulldogs too.

We won again…a convincing win against Port Power.

That win and our quite impressive percentage has moved us up to 4th on the ladder. That means that not only will we play in finals, we will also have the “double chance”. “The what?” you say…. The double chance! We play a top 4 team (pretty tough) but if we lose that game we get to play a lower ranked winner the following week with potential if we win that to play again. And if we happen to win that game it means a spot in the preliminary final the following week….next step the Grand Final!!

But we have 4 rounds of footy to go before the finals start so the plan has to be to “take it one week at a time” and “keep a lid on it”. Don’t get too excited until the home and aways are over, don’t jump the gun.

Next week our opponents are Melbourne, a lowly ranked side who beat us when we met them earlier this year. So we have a challenge ahead already. We need to prove that we can back it up week after week. We need that killer instinct that the Hawthorns and Geelongs have. You get ahead but that’s not good enough. You have to go on fighting and scoring goals and crush the opposition. Having been on the wrong side of a few of those types of games its not a pleasant way to spend your afternoon but on the winner’s side it’s brilliant.

I am loving the footy right now!

hamlingThis is Joel Hamling, one of our young guns, displaying his fantastic leap. The guy with beard is Tom Campbell, our ruckman and one of the tallest blokes on our team – 200 cm, so Hamling is up high!

My target Audience

Hi there target! I hope you know who you are because I don’t!

Anyone will do really… with the one proviso. I am easily discouraged so if you don’t like what you read please say nothing! My parents always said if we couldn’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. Now, I can see the value in saying something mean…especially to politicians…and it might be true and everything, but all the same, I don’t want to hear it.

It’s like bad television. Just turn it off!

Over time and after receiving lots of positive feedback I’m sure I’ll be more able to accept the negative responses.

Now, a bit about what I like. I live in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and I barrack for the Western Bulldogs – Footscray when the last/ first and only Grand Final was won. We haven’t won a Grand Final since 1954 – thrashed Melbourne by 51 points. We haven’t been in a Grand Final since 1961 – lost to Hawthorn.

Last year saw Footscray playing at the Whitten Oval for the first time since the 80’s. The Club nearly disappeared altogether in 1989 when the AFL, and Ross Oakley decided to merge us with Fitzroy, but the outcry from supporters and the general public saw the club remain. “Merge Oakley into outer space” was one of the bumper stickers that popped up everywhere. In an effort to widen the supporter base the club changed its name from Footscray to the Western Bulldogs.

Then last year the Western Bulldogs launched its own side in the second Aussie rules competition- the VFL. What a year it was! The senior AFL side was floundering, but the Footscray side surprised supporters and the football world alike by finishing their first year in the competition as Grand Final winners.

Then, in the off season things started to run off the rails. Players, including our captain, Ryan Griffen started telling the football world he wasn’t happy with the coach. The Board intervened and things seemed to settle…for a while.Then during trade season Griffen said again that he wasn’t happy and asked to be transferred to another club and then he went bush.

At the end of trade week our club was a changed bunny. We had no coach, no captain, our Brownlow medalist, Cooney, was gone and Shaun Higgins and Liam Jones as well.

We all sat back with bemused expressions on our faces and arms crossed. Next season wasn’t shaping up very well at all. Before Round 1, 2015 we had lost our CEO as well.

Now here we are with the finals only a month away and guess what? We are 5th…out of 18 clubs. We are going to play in the finals. I know! I can’t believe it either! Luke Beveridge, the new coach has been brilliant and Bobby Murphy, number 2, our new captain has had a stellar year. The kids are looking like stars – Bontempelli, Caleb Daniel, Johannisson,Stringer, Hunter, Campbell, McLean, Webb. There’s been a bit a sadness too Clay Smith did his knee again and Libba did a knee too in a practice match before the season even started. The old boys – Boyd, Morris, Murph have been fantastic. We have been loving the game, loving watching them play, enjoying the wins..a lot! Jarrod Grant looks like a player and Mitch Wallis has become a ball magnet.

We have a reasonable run to the finals but the class of Hawthorn is a whole different thing. Whatever happens over the next two months, it has already been a good year and we know that next year it’ll be even better.

Here is a cartoon from our official cartoonist – First Dog on the Moon – this one was at the start of the season.

first dog