AFL Round 4 – Adelaide v Western Bulldogs: When all else fails, there’s always schadenfreude

It’s raining in Adelaide and the commentators can’t decide which team will cope best in the conditions.

I’m just happy to see the wet stuff again after recording .6 mls in the last fortnight and not much more since December last year.

Despite the negative connotations in the title of this report, I’m actually fairly confident of the Bulldogs causing an upset today. The rationale? A big win against the Lions in Round 1, winning three quarters against Freo and just the one bad loss against theTigers in Round 3.

Of course I’ve completely overlooked the injuries to four senior players last week and the fact that we were playing our 1997/98 nemesis …at their home ground.

It’s amazing how you can rationalize a win for your team as you agonize over your tips each Thursday. That little voice in your head tells you things like, ‘The new recruits will make an immediate impact and get the boys over the line’ and ‘Don’t forget their captain’s out…and they’ve dropped Bernie Vince.’ All ‘grasping at straws’ stuff of course, but after decades of little success, the mind works in mysterious ways.

It doesn’t take long for any feint glow of optimism to be snuffed out in the first quarter. Dangerfield does a Deledio and dobs one before the Bulldog back-line has finished their warm-up stretching exercises.

The rest of the quarter is a slug-fest in the wet with two goals each but the Crows finishing on top by a point.

The next two quarters are heart-breaking for Bulldog players and supporters. No goals kicked and back-line players attempting dinky little passes instead of kicking it long into the forward-line. Come to think of it, that wouldn’t have worked anyway when there’s no ‘Royce’ or ‘Snake Baker’ to mark the ball.

I’m completely shattered before the last quarter and the voices are back telling me to find something positive out of this mess. The best I can come up with is a silent prayer that we don’t get beaten by more than fifty points. Pathetic I know and the footy-god on duty let me know all about it. He arranged for a Crow player to goal just before the final siren…which meant the Crows won by 52 points.

Just when I think I’ve suffered enough, Bruce ‘Stats’ McAvaney decided to pull one out of his proverbial. Using that weird, excited, asthmatic voice, he breathlessly told Dennis that ‘This looks like being the lowest score for the Bulldogs since…1965!’ Thanks Bruce. I really needed to hear that. But there’s still a feint pulse, so would you like to have another kick?

As things go from bad to worse and Y59 (year 59 after last premiership) goes down the gurgler, us beleaguered supporters are inclined to look back at better times. Not easy to find but I tend to remember the suburban twelve-team competition. It’s all relative, but the Bulldogs were never at the very bottom of the ladder that often. We ranged from mediocre to bad but there was always at least a couple of teams below my team. To me this was a type of schadenfreude. Not exactly delighting in the misery of others, but more relief that in those days there was at least some teams that were travelling worse than yours.

Now confined to be part of a group of teams at the bottom of the eighteen-team competition, I decided to check on the other cellar-dwellers and flicked channels to see how the Demons were faring.

The Demons had just put in a twelve-goal quarter (three times as many as the Bulldog’s total match) and were singing the Club song with enormous gusto and delight. A huge burden lifted. All thoughts of schadenfreude disappeared from my thinking after watching those celebrations from a felow struggling team, so instead I reached for the dictionary.

I was looking for the best word or expression that best described a feeling of delight that’s found in other people’s good fortune rather than their misfortune. Besides, misery likes company and that’s exactly what I need right now.




ADELAIDE:  2.3  4.5  9.7  12.8


BULLDOGS:  2.2  2.2  2.3  4.4




ADELAIDE: Dangerfield 4.1, Walker 1, Mackay 1, Kerridge 1, Henderson 1, Crouch 1, Jenkins 1, Lynch 1, Douglas 1, S.Thompson 1, Sloane 1, Petrenko 1.


BULLDOGS: Cooney 2, Macrae 1, Boyd 1.




ADELAIDE: Dangerfield, Otten, Henderson, Thompson, Sloane, Douglas.


BULLDOGS: Cooney, Minson, Morris.




Sloane 3, Dangerfield 2, Douglas1.




CROWD: 24,684


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.

Leave a Comment