AFL Round 18 – Western Bulldogs v West Coast: Sons of the Scray fight back

My favourite comic-book hero as a child was The Phantom. And my favourite Phantom story that stayed with me was the one about the weakling boy from the city who ends up at the Phantom’s boot-camp in the jungle.

The kid emerges from the jungle some time later all muscled and combat-ready to take on the bullies back in the city.

The Eagles have bullied  the Bulldogs for a long time now.

I was reminded of this pattern of behaviour watching a replay of the 1999 Qualifying Final between these two teams on Channel 7 before today’s match. Nothing much has changed for the Bulldogs. This time it was Liberatore Senior as the best little-man on the ground and they still relied on the second-smallest man, Steven Kolynuik, to kick the goals.

Nothing epitomised more the bullying by West Coast than the two book-ends; Glen Jakovich and Fraser Gehrig.  All the skill and gut – busting run from Liberatore, West, Romero, Johnson and Smith for three and a half quarters was brought undone by these monsters at the death.

In later years Cox, Kennedy and Glass have been the bullies as Johnson, Boyd and Co. fought out of their weight- division. This is what I’m worried about today despite the Eagles ‘resting’ a number of players including the young bully in training, Nic Naitanui. I mean in size rather than attitude.

So it’s time for the young Bulldogs to make a stand. There are still a number of Eagle giants ready to kick sand in their faces. It’s time the Sons of the Scrays  got revenge on behalf of their fathers.

I’m sure I could see the knowing smiles on the faces of the Subiaco gang as they casually huddled before the first bounce. And when Kennedy lined up on the much-shorter Dale Morris he must have been thinking how easy is this, despite Dale’s reputation of taking down some of the heavyweights of the competition. Kennedy should have known that Dale Morris had to earn his stripes as a rookie and reservist before he was inducted into the Barkly Street Gang.

Dean Cox was taking it easy getting newly made-man Scott Lycett to do his dirty work. Not even worried about bringing in this mercenary from Port Adelaide.

As predicted ‘Twinkle-Toes’ Kennedy got the first goal and was so smug and laid-back he couldn’t be bothered high-fiving the rest of his gang. It was just too easy.

There were some early signs that Barkly Street Boys weren’t going down easily. ‘Dutchy Dahlhaus counter-punched and set up another  small-forward in Addison for a goal and not long after kicked one himself. What was I saying about the over-reliance on small forwards kicking goals?

Josh Hill who once ran with the Barkly Street gang kicks an easy goal and is so laid back I expected to see him ‘moon-walk’ as part of his celebrations.

The second quarter and the Eagles cruised along with a bit of help from one of the Carringbush defectors; Sean Wellingham.

By now the young Bulldogs have had enough. There was a sudden realization that if they all combined and showed their latent talent, they could actually beat these big guys from the West.

Cooney of old was constant movement.  Dahlhaus was kicking goals. (Of course he was, he was one of the smallest Bulldogs on the ground.)

The third quarter was much of the same and despite Kennedy kicking an easy goal, the Bulldogs were able to match the Eagles on the scoreboard. Then ‘Skinny Grant’ who hadn’t been given his permanent colours showed the rest of the gang he had enough. Risking being snapped in half, he crashed a pack for the first time in his life and helped create a goal. He later kicked a rare goal himself. The ‘weakling’ had struck back and after seeing the crew back-slapping him so hard, getting his colours on Monday would be a mere formality.

The last quarter with Grant still feeling the glow of his gang’s respect, he kicked an angle goal and topped off his coming-of-age match by jumper-punching Matthew ‘Harpo’ Priddis.  No-one calls Jarrod Grant ‘Spindle-Shanks’ and gets away with it!  Except perhaps Barry Hall.

To be twenty-points in front with five minutes to go was bliss for all Bulldog supporters. Especially those of us who have watched our boys beaten up over the last two decades.

The other player and son of a Scray I haven’t mentioned after his best game in his short career is Mitch Wallis. His father who once controlled  the West- Side and  earned  the respect  from his own team as well the enemy who crossed the Maribyrnong, would be so proud.

The man and legend who handed down the number three from his back would also be well satisfied with its allocation to Mitch Wallis.

Western Bulldogs    3.3  7.7  12.10  16.15  (111)

West Coast                4.4  7.6  10.8  13.11     (89)


Western Bulldogs:  Dahlhaus 4, Grant 3, Dickson 3, Addison 2, Cooney, Giansiracusa, Boyd, Murphy.

West Coast:  Hill 3, Kennedy 3, Cripps 2, Darling 2, Wellingham 2, Dalziell.


Western Bulldogs:  Cooney, Dahlhaus, Murphy, Liberatore, Griffen, Stevens, Wallis, Minson.

West Coast:  Wellingham, Kennedy, Gaff, Priddis, Cox, S Selwood.

Umpires:  Wenn, Foot, Fisher

Official crowd:  17,019

Our Votes:  3 Dahlhaus (WB)  2 Wallis (WB) 1 Liberatore (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.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Neil, what a happy day for the Bulldogs. More please!!


  2. Neil Anderson says

    Thanks Yvette.
    This is a late report because I’ve been away in the Grampians. No internet, no mobile coverage and no knackery! Quite a shock to the system.
    After reading your emotional account of the Doggies win I thought anything I wrote would be a bit lame. But I decided to add to your thoughts on just how precious that win was for Doggy supporters. I see supporters from other clubs were just as happy as we were.
    Glad to have you as Bulldog supporter by proxy.

  3. It’s always good to see The Gluck Twins cop their fair whack, eh Neil?

    The Dogs made us work in the last practice match and I wasn’t sure if it said more about The Striped Marvels or The Wesren Labrdoodles. Good to see The Doggies up and about again.

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