Round 21 – Western Bulldogs v GWS: Surf’s up

Tonight’s game on the big Friday night stage promises to be a beauty. The Bulldogs need to win to stay in touch with the top eight; they’ve won four in a row and are threatening to return to the form that saw them blitz the 2016 finals series. The Giants sit second on the ladder and have won two in a row after coming off a difficult month of two draws and two losses. The stakes are high.

 

In a few short years, the Giants and the Bulldogs have developed a real on-field rivalry and there’s no love lost between the fans, with both sides reacting to real and imagined slights. There’s a small but noisy contingent of Giants fans behind the goals but the rest of the ground is a mass of blue, red and white. This is enemy territory.

 

The orange tsunami has largely been missing from season 2017 as the Giants battled an extensive injury list. But to go deep into September, the Giants need to re-discover the form of 2016, the form that saw Giants fans ride a wave of excitement last weekend in the first quarter against Melbourne.

 

The game begins at a breakneck speed. Green is loudly booed every time he goes near the ball (he received a two-week holiday for hitting Caleb Daniel in Round 6) but this seems to give him more focus. The game is tight, with the play ebbing and flowing until half-way through the first quarter when the orange wave gathers momentum. Dylan Shiel dances past three Bulldog opponents to deliver the ball to Patton who then kicks truly, and then one minute later, Shiel again kicks to Patton who gets his third goal of the quarter. Inaccurate kicking limits the Giants lead, and two late goals to the Bulldogs brings the margin back to 10 points at quarter time as the crowd roars with delight.

 

In the second quarter the tide turns and the Bulldogs build momentum and dominate play, edging ahead of the Giants on the scoreboard at the 20-minute mark. But this time it’s the Bulldogs who are ruing their missed opportunities: nine scoring shots to three sees them only make a six-point inroad into the quarter-time deficit. The Bulldogs aren’t missing easy shots at goal. The Giants’ defence focuses on repelling the ball when it’s kicked deep inside 50, limiting the Bulldogs to low-percentage shots from the shallows of the 50-metre arc. At half-time, the Giants are four points up and we look to be in for another nail-biter between these two teams.

 

After the half-time break, the Giants go into orange tsunami mode, streaming down the ground and using their forays inside 50 efficiently. Six unanswered goals blow the lead out to 38 points at three-quarter time. At the other end of the ground, the Bulldogs struggle against the tide and are limited to just five behinds. An otherwise perfect quarter of football by the Giants was marred by Greene kicking Luke Dahlhaus in the face while jumping to receive a handball. Greene was reported immediately and a scuffle that might result in a few fines broke out. The Bulldogs crowd, which had been quietened by the onslaught of Giants goals, found voice and booed Greene with even more fervour. Greene seemed not to care and kicked a goal soon afterwards.

 

In the fourth quarter the heat has gone out of the game. The Giants extend their lead by kicking three goals to the Bulldogs one. At the 12-minute mark the Bulldog fans start streaming from the ground as the Giants fans revel in their happiness. With three minutes to go, the Bulldogs get their only goal of the second half. This is the Giants’ first win in Melbourne for the year and, while not the most devastating tsunami wave, the swell’s increasing.

 

Western Bulldogs         3.1         6.7       6.12       7.15        (57)

GWS                             4.5         7.5       13.8       16.9      (105)

 

GOALS

Western Bulldogs: Dickson 2, Dahlhaus, Redpath, Dale, Murphy, Cloke

GWS: Patton 4, De Boer 2, Kelly 2, Greene 2, Whitfield 2, Coniglio, Ward, Hopper, Lobb

 

BEST

Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Hunter, McLean, Suckling

GWS: Shiel, Coniglio, Williams, Kelly, Patton, Whitfield

 

VOTES

3 Shiel (GWS); 2 Coniglio (GWS); 1 Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)

 

Crowd: 30,672

 

 

Gill Dite is a contributor to The Women’s Footy Almanac 2017.

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About Gill

Gill spends her weekdays crunching numbers at a university. She supports both Richmond and GWS and refuses to listen to anyone who says you can only have one team.

Comments

  1. Earl O'Neill says:

    We might be on target, at last

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