AFL Round 15 – GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs: Crunching the numbers

Although Canberra is on the eastern seaboard, this match is a case of west versus west. The battle of the ‘Westies’. Two teams miles from their homes ordered to fight it out in front of a handful of friends and family for economical reasons and for the greater good of the competition.

In the meantime clubs from the opposite end of the ladder can procede with their blockbuster matches in front of eighty thousand people in Melbourne. That’s footy in 2013.

Unfortunately if the Bulldogs played GWS at Etihad they would lose money after they pay the rent rather than breaking even by playing in Canberra. That’s the ballancing act Bulldog president Peter Gordon is trying to address.

Vlad The Enforcer has done his homework on money lent to the small ‘franchise’ clubs and even from overseas, I’m sure he’s keeping an eye on things and calling in his favours.

With the match about to start in Canberra, it’s easy to see some parallels with the political scene.

Recycled-coach Kevin Sheedy and his team of virtual unknowns – it is not unlike our recycled Prime Minister and his new team of virtual unknowns.

The two struggling teams desperate for bragging rights does remind me of factions within a political party, meeting on neutral ground to sort out their differences.

The Bulldogs representing the old-guard established in 1925 with the backing of the Trades Hall Council in Melbourne. The GWS is the Sydney right-wing faction established in 2011 and has managed to recruit all the best young talent from around the nation to shore up the marginal seats.

Not surprisingly, the old guard has resented the amount of funding provided to Western-Sydney electorates and wants to sort it out today on the football-field. It will be interesting to see who has the numbers at the end of the day.

A handful of stalwarts with a bunch of proteges versus a young team comprising of the best talent in the land.

As the two factions enter the field it already evident the old-guard is hesitant, defensive and already worried about not having the numbers at the end of the match.

The new-guard has a nothing to lose attitude displaying flair and a recklessness that only comes with youth.

O’ hailpin typifies the GWS mentality by coming off the long run and kicking a goal outside fifty.

Whitfield who was offered the number one ticket in last year’s nominations runs in and kicks an easy goal from fifty metres.

Those usually faceless-men known as the time-keepers now take centre-stage after the time-clock malfunctions.

Then the footy-gods pay a visit to the nation’s capital. Liam Jones takes a rare mark just out from the goals as the siren finally sounds. One umpire tells him to have his kick but is over-ruled by a second umpire who was even further away from the action. Nice variation on hitting the post …footy-gods.

The second quarter is just as scrappy as the Bulldogs continue to play down the wings.

Are they coached to play down the wings and to avoid the corridor in case they turn it over?

The stats say they win the contested ball, but so what? They have no system to get the ball quickly into the forward line and even if they do, the two talls don’t go on a lead or take a pack mark.                                                                       It’s time they stopped using youth and inexperience as an excuse. I call the Member for Casterton Jeremy Cameron to the stand as evidence Mister Speaker.

The third quarter is scrappy and the GWS lead by two points.

The Bulldogs will have to rally or lose support from the faithful. There could also be a leadership spill as powerbrokers behind the scene become impatient back in Melbourne.

The final quarter and the flag on top of Parliament House can be seen waving in the breeze. Like the white smoke at the Vatican, it could be a signal that voting is almost complete and the final tally is about to be announced.

The Bulldogs are finally saved by elder statesman and party-whip Daniel Giansiracusa, ably assisted by young turk and member for Gippsland Clay Smith.

So the final result is a four-point win to the Bulldogs, so close the GWS could have asked for a countback.

As for me, I would still prefer to watch my team play against a neighbouring suburban team than on a neutral ground five hundred kilometres away. But that’s just me apparently.

I wonder if I stare at the old MCG scoreboard at Manuka Oval hard enough and long enough I could see that final score again when the Bulldogs won the premiership.

Now that really would be a beautiful set of numbers.


Bulldogs  4.1  5.5  9.7  13.9    (87)

GWS       4.2  5.6  9.9  12.11  (83)



West.Bulldogs: Giansiracusa 3, Smith 2, Tutt 2, Jones 2, Stringer, Dalhlhaus, Wallis, Dickson.

GWS: Shiel 3, Cameron 3, Smith 2, O’hAilpin 2, Whitfield, Hoskin-Elliot.




West.Bulldogs: Talia, Cooney, Minson, Morris.

GWS: Shiel, Smith, Scully, Whitfield.


Umpires: Wenn, Ryan, Leppard.


Official Crowd:  7,132


Our Votes: 3 Talia (WB), 2 Sheil (GWS) 1 D. Smith (GWS)

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. Kath Presdee says

    Commendations to the Member for Footscray on his remarks.

    I feel for Doggies fans – I used to remember that Sydney also played their games against the Doggies at Manuka for a while – they’ve probably played more games in Canberra than the Kangaroos have.

    The Giants will also be grateful for the Doggies for one of our best players – Callan Ward. The Doggies gave us a ready made young leader and I’d hate to think where we’d be without him.

  2. Neil I wrote a very similar article on my blog about how much Saturday’s match made me nostalgic about old footy values, regretful of economic rationalism and nervours about where our Bulldogs sit in this whole new picture. I feel like GWS represent a brave new world that is leaving us further and further behind.

    Kath – I appreciate that you must love having Callan Ward in your team but we didn’t by any means ‘give’ him to you. He grew up in our heartland and is very sorely missed by all of us who saw him play his first game, and the ones after that, and looked forward to him being a captain of our club one day. My nephews had his number on their Bulldogs’ guernsies and wrote him a note imploring him to stay with us, to no avail of course. Footy is an even crueller sport than politics!

    Thanks for the witty article Neil.

  3. Neil Anderson says

    It was almost a case of salt in the wounds to see a Bulldog champion who was a local like Whitten, Hawkins and Johnson lead your team out against the Bulldogs Kath.
    It’s no wonder we despair for our future.
    Interesting to see you were thinking and blogging about matters such as economic rationalism referring to the Bulldogs situation Kerrie. I started off trying to write a light satirical piece about playing football in the city of politicians but my thought process drifted towards the economic reasons of how it’s come to this for the Bulldogs.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to write about a great victory against a top team that occurred at Whitten Oval on the weekend instead of all this other stuff. Like Geelong supporters can write every second week after a victory at Simonds Stadium.
    I know we push the nostalgia bit too often at times, but at the moment it’s all we’ve got.
    Thanks for the comments. I appreciate your support and beautiful bias.

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