AFL Round 7 – Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne: Magical Son of the West

By Bob Speechley 

A trip to Footscray and a walk around Barkly Street and its environs will reinforce in anyone’s mind why Majak Daw is really a true “Son of the West”. These streets are filled with 7 foot tall timber ready to be harvested as burgeoning ruckmen for any Australian Rules team needing a ruckman or two. Whilst Majak was born in Khartoum from where this tall timber emanates it is a far cry from Doggieland where his introduction to our game comes from and the same West which nurtured the formidable Teddy Whitten and Premiership Coach Charlie Sutton heralding the cry “You can take the Boy out of The Western Suburbs BUT you can’t take the Western Suburbs out of the Boy”. Neither Charlie nor Teddy ever left the Western suburbs unlike many others who got their start at Footscray and left for “Greener” pastures. This includes no fewer than 4 Brownlow medalists, Dempsey, Quinlan, Round and Templeton, the original Tattooed Footballer Robbie McGhie and in recent years Harbrow, Ward and Lake. I imagine that if Majak was recruited by the Bulldogs he would probably sever the connection after completing a promising apprenticeship.

I say this in the context that if Majak was performing his magic for the Western Bulldogs against North Melbourne rather than for them on Saturday evening the Doggies would have won by about 4 goals (i.e. 22-6 = 16, whilst 15 + 6 = 21). I can envisage a banner headline in The Footscray Mail – “VICTORY AS MAGIC DOOR OPENS FOR DOGGIES”! His 6 majors in just his 4th AFL game were very impressive

One factor that the experts commenting on this game seem to have overlooked is that having Majak occupying the goal square gives Drew Petrie the liberty of drifting upfield thus adding potency to the Kangaroos attack close to the middle of the ground.

The game was number 200 for Firrito and 100 for Thompson whilst Boomer Harvey was playing his 1st for 2013 following a holiday of 6 weeks for an indiscretion in the 2012 final against West Coast. Two Daniels – Cross and Wells were named as subs and a 3rd (Giansiracusa) won the toss electing to kick to the newly proclaimed “FOOTSCRAY END” formerly known as the “LOCKETT END”

The opening half and the start of the second saw a tense battle with neither side grasping the ascendancy. At the 14 minute mark of the Third Quarter the Bulldogs led by 2 points and it seemed as if the game would go down to the wire. Two minutes later Boomer Harvey intercepted a Bulldogs pass relayed the ball to Petrie who kicked truly and started an avalanche of goals which numbered 8 by the nine minute mark of the Final Term. At this point the Dogs heads were starting to sag as were those of their despondent supporters. Putting this situation to one side there were a lot of positives coming out of the game. Both sides seemed to evenly matched and their attack on the ball was fierce. The centre ruck duels between Minson on the one hand and Goldstein/Daw on the other were keen with Will being the most effective ruckman on the day. Ryan Griffen was outstanding all day. He topped the clearance numbers and overall disposals by a long shot and was clearly Best on the Ground. Robert Murphy kicked the Goal of the Day as he turned on the after-burners to shake off his opponent Macmillan on the half-forward line.  Markovic was shifted from full-back on Daw to the forward line and booted his first 3 majors in AFL games.  Whilst Daniel Giansiracusa was the Doggies leading goal kicker he also dropped 2 sitters around the 50 metre mark during the game. Lower had a great day with 15 tackles and a blanket job on ball-magnet Andrew Swallow whilst for the Dogs Dahlhaus and Picken never stopped going in ferociously for the ball.

North were cleaner in their disposal and were able to create a loose man down field for a lot of the game. As already mentioned Petrie was a good target for them and the Magic Man seemed to find the ball close to the goal – a pity he was on the other side!

Western Bulldogs 4.1 7.3 11.7 15.7 (97)
North Melbourne 5.5 8.11 13.14 22.19 (151)

Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa 4, Markovic 3, Murphy 2, Griffen, Minson, Dahlhaus, Smith,  Wallis, Austin
North Melbourne: Daw 6, Petrie 3, Black, Goldstein, Ziebell, Thomas, Macmillan 2,  Harvey, Sierakowski, Atley

Western Bulldogs: Griffin, Minson, Murphy, Dahlhaus, Lower, Picken
North Melbourne: Daw, Ziebell,Thompson, Harvey, Petrie, Atley

Umpires: Donlon, Foot, Mitchell

Official crowd: 23,690






  1. Peter Fuller says

    To make your list of “deserters” complete, you probably should include Brian Wilson – even though he left Western Oval almost before he began. Gary Dempsey and Kelvin Templeton could be distinguished from the others in your observation, as they delivered Brownlows and stellar service for the Dogs, whereas Quinlan, Round and Wilson only fulfilled their potential after leaving the Western Oval . Do you also want to acknowledge Brad Hardie? George Bissett probably warrants a mention as another high profile emigrant from the West (and among Doggies’ supporters I know, is “known” to have been robbed of the 1969 Medal).

  2. Neil Anderson says

    Dear Agony Aunts and Uncles,
    I’m amazed the Bulldogs get within fifty points of any team continuing with one
    ruckman, even with Will Minson doing a great job this year. Compare the lack of big solid talls at the Dogs with West Coast and Hawthorn at the moment.
    After each loss the coach solemnly talks about the young players…and he might as well say the skinny senior players as well, can’t compete for four quarters. He should be talking about the elephant in the room, or more correctly the lack of gorillas on the field needed to support our talented mid-fielders.
    It was interesting to see an inexperienced but good ordinary player in Lynch bob up for the Crows and kick ten on the weekend. Why are the Bulldog recruiters missing these type of players? Signed, Frustrated Of Barkly Street.

  3. PeterSchumacher says

    But will Lynch or Daw fire this week?

  4. Kerrie s says

    I love that imaginary headline. Would have loved to see him in bulldog colors. Our team is rather drab at present. Someone capable of making the crowd murmur in anticipation whenever he goes near the ball, as Majak does, could been a real draw card.

    I read that he was a very speculative pick, his athleticism not in doubt, but unbelievably raw. It must be so hard to pick young talent and the Dogs have had their share of failures with ‘smokies’ who’ve not fired- so to speak. Dare I sat it but it’s still early to predict how good Mjak will be, but all who love the game would love to see him succeed.

  5. Andrew Starkie says

    Bob, I can’t believe you gave Minson votes. Goldy towelled him. And another thing: Majak’s ours! Hands off.

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