AFL Round 2 – Western Bulldogs v Fremantle: Freo comes to play (yes, in Melbourne)

The scars we carry remain but the pain slips away it seems.
It used to be so hard to come to Docklands, we always lost and we were lost,
the game a torment wedged between the Holiday Inn and Tullamarine.

The Western Bulldogs come out in their new old jumpers ready for battle. The dogs have a place and a dream and a fire that won’t die. But they only have 15,000 fans, can that work. Their Footscray veterans make a guard of honour but they won’t win for them today, they don’t understand new war. We didn’t but now we do.

Fremantle come out looking for the contest – Fyfe goes bang, then Mayne, then Crozier, then Walters, then Bradley. Cooney gets one against the tide but Barlow replies immediately. Closing on quarter time there is a sense amongst the 15,000 Doggies and 5000 Dockers that the game is over; like Sumo wrestling sometimes the end comes sooner than you want it. For the next three quarters honour is duly satisfied, but the game never approaches tension.

Cooney with the ball in hand in 2013 is definitely the man who won the Brownlow in 2008, but when a ruckman legitimately likes his chances of running him down you feel Adam needs to watch all the Greg Williams footage he can find. The man on man contests are the most interesting part of the day. Crowley has shut down Griffen completely, and Nick Lower who has a good handle on new war closes out Mundy fairly well. Fyfe and Liberatore run off each other, both are good, but Fyfe is much more damaging with his disposals. Libba2 will be a better player than his father by a good stretch – I wonder if the veterans think that too. Minsen clearly beats Griffen in the ruck but it doesn’t matter that much at ground level, and Griffin cleans him up marking and in general play around the ground. Brett Goodes got his welcome to the big time a week later than he probably expected. He is a fantastic find for the Dogs and can get much better when he adjusts to the pace of the game. Mzungu was brilliant for Fremantle, in his best game yet he is an emerging powerhouse.

Freo are in a good groove, and the dogs are definitely on the up, there is an interesting story of coaches here too. A fair bit has been said about both these men, much of it derogatory – that goes with the territory, but on the evidence of this game it is also clearly wrong.

6.2                   9.6                   13.9     16.10
1.1                   5.5                   7.7       11.12

Malarkey Medal: 3.Fyfe  2.Mzungu  1.Libratore


  1. Dear Neil, there is much to enjoy in watching the Bulldogs this year. Something has clicked into place and I think we can thank the new coach. The boys seems proud and gelled together, and they will get beaten by better teams but can hold their heads up if the continue to play with this energy. They can only get better with experience, and Goodes is a good news story, as with Libba.


  2. Neil Anderson says

    Don’t blame you for getting a tad excited about Freo’s reversal of fortune Neil.
    I was looking carefully for any Freo bias in your report but have to say it was fairly even-handed, apart from the occaisional, but gentle back-hander to a couple of Bulldog players. Nice to see Libba Junior getting a vote after his Dad copped one of your drive-by swipes.
    The tide must have turned for Freo. In the good old days even when the Dogs were struggling, you could mark down a win against the Dockers at Etihad before the season started.

  3. cowshedend says

    5000 Freo supporters? if there was 1000 there i will eat my rather large sombrero!

  4. nathan jarvis says

    We have the strength of five men, Hatchomper.

  5. Neil, how is Barlow playing nowadays. He set the world on fire when he first played for Freo, then suffered that dreadful broken leg. Has he returned to the form he showed prior to his injury ?


  6. Neil Belford says

    Yvette – agree entirely, Neil, no offence intended to Libba1 – just the thought that 2 might be elite.

    Barlow is completely back on. Last year he lacked confidence in his kicking (whcih was excellent – but he is now fully recovered and I think a more complete player than when Rhys Palmer took him out.

  7. Neil A

    I think you should apply for the position as Footy Almanac Integrity Officer.

    If there’s one thing we don’t need it’s bias in Almanac match reports. Please continue to look carefully and report any breaches.

  8. Neil Anderson says

    Tongue in cheek Les. Like texting, the message can be misconstrued. Didn’t mean to part of the bias police, just a bit over-anxious about my team’s start to the year.

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