Round 15 – Sydney v Western Bulldogs: Youthful Revolution at the Dogs


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Sydney versus Western Bulldogs

4.35 pm, Saturday, 2nd July

Sydney Cricket Ground


Neil Anderson



NARRATOR: Two Bulldog supporters meet up for coffee in Bondi before heading off to watch the Dogs versus Swans match at the SCG. LARRY GILMORE nicknamed HAPPY is a local and is busy checking the teams which are well-hidden in the back of the The Daily Telegraph. DANNY who lives in Droop Street, Footscray, Victoria has just arrived from the airport to catch up with his mate. He sits down after ordering a coffee, sighing and utterly despondent, which is in complete contrast to his friend HAPPY.


HAPPY:  Have you seen the teams?  Bloody fantastic ins for the Dogs!


DANNY:  Eight bucks for a cup of coffee. Unbelievable. Just because it’s Bondi.


HAPPY:  They’ve even brought Big Will Minson back!


DANNY:  They’ll probably give him a couple of games before he retires. (pause) I wonder how

long it will take this guy to make his precious over-priced coffee? I don’t know how

you can afford to live up here.


HAPPY:   And look at this! JJ’S back with Easton Wood! You little beauty!


DANNY:  Now there’s a couple of hamstrings just waiting to twang. ( pause) What do they charge

for food and drinks at the SCG, do you know?


HAPPY:  Clay Smith’s playing after his third knee reco. I can’t wait to see how he goes!


DANNY:  And they’ll just throw him to the wolves against that Sydney mid-field. He

should’ve come back in the VFL. I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this match.


HAPPY:  Geez Danny. I thought you’d be looking forward to the match today. The Dogs have

picked a really strong side. Don’t you reckon?


DANNY:  ( sighing) Yeah, well at the start of every season, they tell you it’s going to be

the year of the Dog…and what happens, they can’t even beat Hawthorn or Geelong.


HAPPY:  But they’re 9-4 even with all the injuries. So why did you fly up here if you thought the

Dogs weren’t going to be good things?


DANNY:  Well like I said, they suck you in with all that hope so you’ll take out a membership.

So I might as well get my money’s worth… even if we get done again.


HAPPY:   Bloody hell Danny! I just can’t wait to see the Dogs run out today! Remember we beat

them last year up here in the rain?


DANNY:  Yeah, that’s when they had Bob Murphy playing and Franklin only kicked three goals.

Who’s out for the Swans?


HAPPY:  Ah, let’s see. I think Tippett is the main one. And Ted Richards is still not playing.


DANNY:  Is that all? I told you, we’re stuffed! ( pause) If that coffee isn’t here in five minutes I

might as well cancel the order.


HAPPY:  I just hope we get good seats. If the Dogs win well today, they might be back in the top

four. ( pause) Anyway, here comes your coffee. Drink up and we’ll catch a taxi. And

don’t worry, it’ll be my shout. I just want to get there early!




NARRATOR:  Our two protagonists are taking their seats just before the first bounce. HAPPY is all smiles and expectant as he watches the Bulldogs finish their pre-game warm-up and head for the change-rooms. DANNY is not so happy complaining about the view and being surrounded by Swan’s supporters. He is convinced the Bulldogs are going to lose badly. When the ball is finally bounced, HAPPY and DANNY will expect their predictions to come true after the lead changes several times throughout the match. It will take until the final siren before DANNY will decide if his trip to Sydney would be worth it.


So let the match begin…


HAPPY  would have been pleased with the Bulldog start especially seeing Jason Johannisen and Clay Smith moving so well after long absences. Especially Clay Smith following his three knee reconstructions. DANNY on the other hand would be ready to let fly with a ‘ told you so’ at the lack of marking by the tall-forwards as the Bulldogs just bomb the ball into the forward- line.


Then the Buddy Franklin show started to crank up with his first goal after about fifteen minutes. Fortunately he only kicked points later in the quarter and it was McVeigh who kicked the only other goal for the Swans. Stringer was trying to impose himself on the match, so much so, he ran from the centre to the fifty-metre line without bouncing the ball and was penalised. Rampe did an excellent job after racing through  the goals and then to avoid pushing the female goal-umpire into the fence. It wasn’t so much his gallantry that caught the eye of spectators, but the care shown in knowing where to place his hands around the umpire to ensure she didn’t fall. He could easily have ended up as a sensation on You-tube if he had missed her waist by just a few centimetres.


In the second quarter the Bont made his move after a quiet start and kicked a goal after a lucky free-kick. Then his audacious partner -in- crime Stringer awoke from his slumber and curved the ball through the goals, followed by his trademark burst through the pack for another one. Hunter did his best to stop the Bulldog’s momentum by kicking across his defensive goal where it was marked by Franklin, who then passed to Parker for a goal. An even quarter with four goals kicked by both sides.


Parker kicked the first goal of the third quarter but then it became the Tom Liberatore show. He started with passes to Stringer and Redpath for goals and then kicked a goal himself after Clay Smith extracted the ball from a pack. He extracted the ball from a pack himself soon after to kick his second goal. The whole Bulldog team lifted their intensity, attacked the ball in packs, increased their tackle count, kicking six goals to two for the quarter.


A thirteen point lead is never enough for DANNY  and most Bulldog supporters at the start of a last quarter. Especially when the Swans have a dominant forward in Buddy Franklin. It was either the presence of the footy- gods or a Hannebery brain- fade that allowed Will Minson to kick the first goal. Hannebery decided to return the ball to the umpire instead of player Minson after a free-kick, which allowed Minson to kick a goal from about forty metres out. Buddy loomed as the match-winner with a fifty-metre goal and another one right in front after easily out-reaching Adams to mark. And then there was the grand-finale which involved three young Bulldog players rather than veterans such as Morris and Boyd. Apart from the fact they created a miraculous win at the death, even the DANNYS of this world would acknowledge that these three players will be part of a group that will one day lead the Bulldogs to a premiership. Daniel to Bontempelli who short-passed to Johannisen who was in a better position to goal. And calmly goal he did to win the match by four points.



The two actors at the beginning of this play represent  different ways that Bulldog supporters think about the past, present and future of the Club. Danny and mainly older supporters still aren’t convinced that the Club will win a premiership soon and the Danny from Droop Street character has become the gloomy, pessimistic figure on the Coodabeen’s program accordingly. But if social media is any guide, Happy and the optimists are starting to get the numbers in the house, to use a current analogy. It might be a case of young people who dominate Facebook recognising that it is the younger players at the Bulldogs who are leading the way to a premiership. They will be more convinced than ever after watching the last two minutes of play against Sydney on Saturday.


Bulldogs   1.2  5.3  11.4  13.5   83

Swans        2.5  6.7  8.9   11.13  79



Bulldogs:   Stringer 3, Liberatore 2, Johannisen, Redpath, Roughead, Hunter, Jong, Bontempelli, Biggs, Minson

Swans:     Franklin 5, Parker 3, Sinclair, Hewett, McVeigh



Bulldogs:   Hunter, Bontempelli, Liberatore, Boyd, Picken, Johannisen

Swans:       Parker, Franklin, McVeigh, Hannebery, Kennedy, Mills


Umpires:    Schmitt, Stevic, Findlay, Fisher


Official crowd:  33,386


Our Votes:   3 Parker (S) 2 Hunter (WB) 1 Franklin (S)

About Neil Anderson

Enjoys reading and writing about the Western Bulldogs. Instead of wondering if the second premiership will ever happen, he can now bask in the glory of the 2016 win.


  1. jan courtin says:

    Good one Neil!
    Presumably you would be in Danny group of supporters – well age-wise anyway – but hopefully your beliefs would align with Happy’s?! Remaining positive is just so vital, especially now that your Doggies are playing good consistent footy. It won’t be too long, I’m sure!

    By the way, I find it hard to believe that the coffee cost $8, even in Bondi! I’ve never ever paid more than $4 in Bondi, and most of Sydney’s coffee prices are on a par with Melbourne’s, perhaps even less!

  2. G’day Neil,

    Your play story is interesting showing how Bulldogs supporters think about the game.

    Two actors seem to be in the similar situation at St Kilda. Young players gain more experienced and improve, but Riewoldt and Montagna play well and help young blokes with great leader skills. Mixture is needed. At the kennel, Bob Murphy will play the same role as Nick and Joey. I guess Bob encouraged boys from the coaches box in the match.

    The game was great and entertaining. Thanks for your theatre play and a good entertainment.



  3. Neil Anderson says:

    Thanks Jan,
    I am rapidly joining the ‘Happy’ group after years of being aligned with Danny.
    The wins against the top teams instead of just falling short for whatever reason has helped me change camps.
    You caught me out with my bad research on the price of coffee. I guess you could call it playwright- licence instead of poetic- licence but I wanted to exaggerate the price for the sake of the story.
    Thanks Yoshi,
    There is a lot of excitement from all Bulldog Supporters at the moment especially on Facebook. But after a loss there is a lot of unwarranted criticism and even nastiness about some of the players and even the coach which was amazing. Young supporters expect the team to keep winning and haven’t got the capacity to accept defeat when it happens. They want success and they want it now!

  4. Chad Woodbine says:

    I listened to the first half of this one over here (in South Korea) at a bbq while keeping an eye on everyone’s kids playing in the pool. It is great listening on the radio, you get a sense of being there and yet you don’t get your full attention dragged away at the same time. The callers for Grandstand ABC were ok, although I prefer the Indigenous Radio callers as they tend to call with a flow that I can really get into. Being the only westerner there was a true blessing as well because I could be excused (and ignored) comfortably for having a hobby that took me away from conversation that is often tedious as my Korean is terrible and most people’s English is very good but still quite limited.

    I loved the game and they way you have reported it. I am probably more part of the younger/optimistic crowd than the skeptical older generation, but see the shadow GWS as being the major threat to finals glory for us. We can be anything and I see the young bulldogs as the best I’ve ever watched. Thanks for the write-up, kick back and enjoy the ride :)

  5. Rulebook says:

    Well done,Neil I admit I am a Danny type supporter and purely footy analysing wise I fear the rest of us are about to run in to a orange tysumai which is going to dominate the competition for a while this years seemingly open race may be our only chance for a while

  6. Neil Anderson says:

    Thanks Chad,
    As someone who has only been computerised for about ten years and on Facebook for three years, I am still amazed when I have a comment sent all the way from Korea.
    You and Rulebook both have nominated GWS as a threat over the next few years. I must have shifted to more positive thinking about the Bulldogs, but I have been more worried about other Clubs. I just hope the Dogs get there first.
    Thanks Rulebook,
    I agree one of the seven other Clubs in the eight need to win it this year before GWS gets the final’s experience and snag their first premiership.

  7. Chad Woodbine says:

    Neil, I stay away from the facebook club groups but tend to read Big Footy, there seems to be a lot more balanced opinion on there (mixed in with the silly ones), it is always interesting to read on there and some of the really good comments make me wonder why people ever watch the footy shows. Reading the main board is a bit like reading the facebook comments but other forums are excellent including our club board.
    I have this great memory of winning a game at Telstra dome about 10 years ago when we were last in contention for finals, and I caught the first train back to Footscray with other supporters. We were jammed in the train and singing “Sons of the West” at the top of our lungs. This goes on for about 10 mins and we hear an announcement over the PA “To all the Footscray supporters in the first carriage singing… there are another five carriages empty behind you.” We all went wild and sang louder, all the way to West Footscray. Best footy memory by a mile, and I imagine that this is happening these days, just with all of the carriages full.

  8. Luke Reynolds says:

    Brilliant Neil! Really liked your use of the great Danny from Droop St. Didn’t see the game, wonderful win by the Bulldogs. I’m torn between wanting to see the ‘Dogs win the flag this year or waiting until everyone’s favourite player Bob Murphy makes his return….

  9. Neil Anderson says:

    Thanks Luke,
    I suppose it’s like you and the Pies, but I can’t wait to see the full list of players including Bob Murphy ready for next year. Having said that, I’ve done a bit of a Danny jumping ahead to next year assuming the Dogs won’t win it this year.
    The Dogs have put themselves in a good position to go deep into September and early October so I’ll just sit back and enjoy the ride.

  10. Must be something about the Swans-Doggies games. The 2015 match in the wet in Sydney was a cracker. At that stage Bob Murphy was saying it was the best win ever. He’s got a few more to choose from now. I can remember people on the train heading home from the MCG (Geel v Rich) listening on their phones – and people gathering around one guy who was streaming it live on his phone. That I can recall the famous scooping up of the footy in the final seconds (Easton Wood?) should have been an early sign that the Doggies were part of a sparkling narrative.

    Here’s how Kerrie Soraghan (one of the Libber sisters) saw it.

  11. Neil Anderson says:

    There certainly is something about the Swans /Doggies games, particularly in recent times. The match last year in the rain was a huge turning point for the Dogs where they received a might big injection of belief.
    And yes, it was Easton Wood a.k.a Tarzan who swung down from the trees and scooped up the greasy ball and saved the day for the Dogs in the dying minutes of the match.
    When the AFL nominates its rivalry-round, they should have the Dogs versus Swans match instead of Dogs versus St Kilda.

  12. Top work Neil.

    Is that the last game Misnon played for the tricolours? It was certainly his last goal.


  13. Neil Anderson says:

    I think that was Minson’s last game Glen. I did well suggesting through Danny that they were only giving him one last game before he retires.
    I still can’t believe the Dogs won a premiership using their full-forward as the back-up ruckman to a guy that played at full-back not so long ago. Just another winning unorthodox move by coach Beveridge.
    You should enjoy one of my articles in the 2016 Doggies Almanac which mentions a visit to your old street in Footscray.
    See you at the launch.

  14. Good onya Neil. Look forward to firstly catching up next week, then reading the article.

    Yes , OUR old street in Maidstone. we’re both products of it.


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