Round 17 – Carlton v Western Bulldogs: Dogs not done yet… still got a trick or two up their long sleeves

 

When Luke Beveridge and the assistant coaches asked the boys in the Bulldog lab to produce a key-position player to help get them out of a slump, they couldn’t have done any better than roll out Lewis Young.

 

The brief to the scientists was simple: “Firstly he should be tall, rangy and an excellent mark like our former champion ruckman Gary Dempsey. You won’t be able to give him the number 24 jumper because Biggsy’s wears that one, but you can definitely make sure he wears a long-sleeved jumper. Just like Demps in the old days.

 

We’ve decided the new guy’s number will be 33 made famous by Brian ‘Choco’ Royal who wore it with distinction in his 199 games with the Dogs. Some of our older supporters will remember a character behind the goals at the Barkly Street end who used to hold up a sign which said, “KICK IT HERE CHOCO” ! Anyway Choco will present his jumper sometime before the match, even if we have to use a stand-in player to accept it.

 

Now the other bloke he has to look like is the one he’s going to replace on Sunday. Easton Wood. We might even be able to confuse the opposition at the start if he looks a lot like Easton. So we want him taller than Easton, but you can give him the ‘superman’ look with the same haircut, athletic body etc. Obviously he has to be a brilliant intercept mark.

 

Next week we’ll be looking for a full-forward. He should be a mixture of Simon ‘The Pieman’ Beasley and Jack Collins, so with blond hair but balding. But right now we have to invent some parents for our new number 33 for the papers to do a feel-good story. We might do the ‘club’s flying over his folks from Adelaide’ line to see their boy’s first game. We’ll pay for their accommodation. That sort of thing. Anyway guys, see what you can come up with but you’ll need to have him all kitted out ready to go by Sunday lunch-time. Any further communications about this latest project will be code-named 999 Young. Young will be the new player’s surname and 999 refers to the number of Bulldog players created… I mean making their debut, since 1925.”

 

When the team first runs out, I always look carefully for signs of enthusiasm as well as checking those first practice-shots for goal. I will be particularly interested today watching player 999 Young. Today supporters were able to watch the players warming up in the change-rooms, giving us an even better insight into how they prepare for battle. The first player I noticed was The Bont. Smiling and revved up during some handball drills. He is a monty to play a blinder. Then there was captain-in-waiting Mitch Wallis hugging it out with each team-mate he passed. Like a friendly sergeant farewelling his men before they go over the top. He will definitely play well because he is driven by a sense of unfinished business. And that is to be part of a grand-final like many of his current team-mates.

 

Like a lot of Bulldog matches this year, it was a scrappy start with the opposition getting a quick two or three goal lead. One positive was The Bont getting a 50 metre penalty after being pushed in the back before the first bounce. After weeks of JJ getting the same treatment for no reward, the umpires finally paid one in our favour. Unfortunately Marcus kicked a point, the first signs it could be a bad day at the office for the Dogs. The Dogs were being out-marked by the Blues on both our forward and back-lines. The over-enthusiastic Mitch Honeychurch turned the ball over leading to a Curnow goal. Player 999 Young managed an early quick hand-ball but was easily out-marked later by the tall and much more solid Casboult. I wondered if the Bulldog’s coaching staff would have to… er …re-program Player 999 at quarter-time, or could they do it from the bench using a remote-control.

 

I needn’t have worried. Player 999 Young settled into his role on the back-line effortlessly half-way through the quarter. Taking those intercept marks he was designed to do. Check. Accurate kicking into the forward-line. Check. The Bulldogs managed two goals for the quarter after a Blue’s bad kick-out and a Stringer goal, just, after he fumbled the ball on the goal-line.

 

More saving marks from Player 999 Young in the second quarter plus goals to ball-of-energy Mclean, ‘Baby-face’ Dale, ‘The Badger’ Honeychurch, The Bont and Picken. It was about this time that the commentators picked up on the fact that Player 999 Young was wearing two jumpers. A long-sleeve and a sleeveless over that one. I assume in their haste to provide a new ‘player’ for the match, something went wrong in the production stage and he’s ended up wearing two jumpers. The club spin-doctors will will probably explain it away by saying his ‘mother’ wanted him to wear two jumpers because of the Melbourne cold weather.

 

The third quarter and Jason Johannisen had found his rebound run again. A huge bonus for the Dogs. Free kicks and flukey marks on the Dog’s forward-line produced some easier goals for a change. The Bont goaled right in front and McLean’s kick to a diving Hunter and handball back to McLean for a gaol were the highlights. Brim-full of confidence, Player 999 Young took a speccy over team-mate Suckling to fully announce his arrival as the Dog’s new centre-half-back. I wondered whether the guys in the lab might have turned up his ‘ turbo-boost’ control just a smidgin.

 

JJ produced some more magic in the final quarter. Running hard towards goal he had his kick smothered but persisted regaining the ball and kicking a goal on the run from 40 metres. Breaking through that ‘lack of confidence’ barrier that has plagued him in recent weeks in just a few seconds of play. Only two goals for the Dogs and three for the Blues meant the ball was boringly played between the two back-lines. But I’ll take boring every time as long as the Dogs can eke out a win and that’s exactly what they did. Player 999 Young must have been feeling pretty good about a win in his first game when he bumped, or more accurately bounced off Casboult, after Casboult hit the post from ten-metres out. The boys in the lab might have to adjust the brag-o-meter when he comes in for his first service.

 

The Dogs need a lot more careful recruiting or ‘manufacturing’ of the right players to ensure wins rather than just getting over the line all the time. Player 999 Young was a good start in in the process but they desperately need someone just as good on the forward-line. Player 1000 Danger has a nice ring to it.

 

Bulldogs     2.4 7.7 10.8 12. 10   82

Carlton       3.2 4.4   6.6   9.8      62

 

GOALS

Carlton: Wright 3, Curnow 2, Boekhorst, Gibbs, Casboult, Graham.

Bulldogs: Dale 2, Bontempelli 2, McLean 2, Johannisen, Stringer, Hunter, Picken, Honeychurch, Wallis.

 

Best

Carlton: Gibbs, Curnow, Wright, Jones, Kerridge

Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Daniel, Macrae, Dale, Young, Wallis, Johannisen

 

Umpires: Kamolins, McInerney, Stephens

Official crowd: 35, 157

 

Our Votes: 3 Bontempelli (WB) 2 Daniel (WB) 1 Macrae (WB)

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.

Comments

  1. Luke Reynolds says:

    What a start by Player 999. First thing I noticed about him was his remarkable similarity to E.Wood.

    Great piece Neil, especially loved the ‘Mum making him wear two jumpers’ line.
    As well as the Choco Royal and Simon Beasley references!

  2. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    I’d absolutely have my Cygnet wearing the long sleeved jumper Neil. Even up in ‘balmy’ Sydney.
    I saw his jumper presentation in the game preamble and he certainly looked triangular of torso, ready made. Good job, Bulldog lab! Very enjoyable read Neil.

  3. G’day Neil,

    999 Young is still young and I am sure he will be developed to be like the Bont or Stringer.

    All your Bulldogs need is using all talents at once to perform the very best. I hope this young bloke moves back to the forward line to score goals.

    Probably he can be a multitasking player. Josh Bruce is a forward but fills in ruck sometimes. Sam Gilbert can look after back line as well as play in the midfield.

    Cheers

    Yoshi

  4. Rulebook says:

    Neil player number 999 brings back Ad Uni FC memories where due to the huge number of players
    you have your own 3 digit number ( I was 123) Rattling Rob Read was meant to be 137 and his number was sewn on back to front your on the mark number 731 always amusing

  5. Neil Anderson says:

    G’day Luke and thanks to you and others for the comments. I’ve said it before, but the ‘comments section’ on the Almanac is the genius part that makes the Almanac web-site work so well.
    Imagine if we all submitted our pieces we thought were worthwhile without any feed-back.
    I was waiting for Player 999 Young to play his second game before I responded.
    The first thing I noticed was he was wearing the sleeveless jumper on Saturday. Even if it was only 24 degrees up in Cairns. And he does look like a clone of Easton Wood, Luke.
    Mathilde I see your mothering instinct was apparent with regard to Player 999 wearing the two jumpers in the Melbourne cold. Why do I picture you as a giant mother-swan with the cygnet warm and sheltered under your wing, watching those other Swans over the white picket-fence?
    Yoshi we could still use Player 999 on the forward -line. We had one of our smallest players Liam Picken kicking all the goals against the Suns and it should have been big Jack Redpath.
    Rulebook, it would have been quite a task to sew/attach the triple-numbers on the backs of the uni-players. Did you have to send for a seamstress from the cloisters to undertake the task?

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