Grand Final 2021 – Melbourne v Western Bulldogs: Once Upon a Time in the West


Long-time friends Gareth (G) and Matt (M) didn’t get to spend grand final day together this year. Instead, they traded mock commentary via text messages throughout the evening, picking up on their favourite footy cliches.  Here’s a summary of the banter.


Once Upon a Time in the West


G:  We are ‘doing our preparations’ in the rooms

M:  And can enjoy Mike Brady walking the empty streets of Melbourne.

G:  He’s just managed to get his old knees up the stairs at the MCG

M:  The first team that settles the nerves early could do well by quarter time

G:  But it’s not until we enter the ‘premiership’ quarter that the game is really decided. Until of course the ‘fourth-quarter’ quarter.


First Quarter

M:  Good signs early for the Dees…

G: Good ‘early’ signs

M: They’ve settled first hey

M:  BT just invented a new word – ‘comfortableness’.

G:  That’s great. But swings can both ways on grand final day (night)

M:  Looks like a uniform swing at the moment – and that uniform is red and blue….


Second Quarter

G:  That pendulum is swinging

M: More of the contest we expected – how will the Dees respond, and then how will the Dogs respond if the Dees respond?

G: Both have responded well to whatever has been thrown at them.

M:  This could be one for the ages…

G: I believe that phrase is reserved for near final siren !


Half time

G:  Now we need whiteboards and elaborate data-driven analysis

G: And how the Dees need more from their leadership group

M:  Dees need more from their leadership group, their talls, smalls and those of average height.

G: And run and carry players. And defensive forwards.

M: And defenders dropping a kick behind and in front of the ball

M:  Dees need more from EVERYONE – but we knew the men from the west would scrap.

G:  And now we have the AFL showing it’s got its finger on the pulse of music from last decade

M: The WASO are a quality outfit.

G: Couldn’t hear a lot of the harp.

M:  Abby’s half time summary – ‘so far a game in two halves’…


Third Quarter

M: Good signs for the Dogs…

M:  GREAT signs for the Dogs.

G:  Now they will start to talk about who has been the difference

M:  First reference to Norm Smith…

M:  Dees need 6 of the next 9 goals…

G:   And a grand final has just broken out.  That’s one they like to use

M:  Big response

G:  Great signs for the Dees.

M: Been a lot of signs tonight

G:  Viney took matters in his own hands.

M:  Almost as many signs as responses tonight.

G:  Premiership quarter – we can say that now

G:  Now your norm smith prediction. Petraccia ?  Or maybe that forward with 5 goals

M: Petracca for mine.

G:  They are dropping out his stats as clues

M:  ‘The Dogs have a very faint glimmer here…’

G:  But gotta go. Gotta take risks.  Take the game on


Fourth Quarter

G: This is a blow out

M: ‘Lots of time left, 16 minutes in the game”‘..

G: This is where BT predicts the crowd. But has been given it earlier

M: I would be amazed if it was less than 59,999.

M: Full credit to the boys – this is a spectacle of skill.

G: They steadied. They didn’t panic.  They didn’t worry about the scoreboard. Knew what they had to do to get back into the game

M: Concentrated on executing the plan and playing their roles

M: It’s been A Hard Day’s wait since 1964.

M: Any late goals for the Dogs no compensation, a hollow feeling.

G: Lots of questions to be answered

M: Hard to watch for dog fans . Let’s spare a thought for the Dogs and their supporters….

M: But what a story – great scenes.

M: An emphatic win on the biggest stage. Emphatic !

G:  Lots of individual stories out there to hear

G:  Dogs need to suck it up. Regroup.

M:  Did it for the boys.

G:  Hasn’t sunk in

M: Lost for words.

G: The pettracas, the gawns, they played their roles

G:  Footy’s emotional.

M: Go and join the boys

M: Just soak it up

M: The night is young in the wild west. The streets around me (Perth) will be a rockin’ tonight with hearts beating true from you know who…

M: And blue and red pumping through veins.

G: Veins of ‘long suffering fans’.



MELBOURNE                        4.5     5.9     12.11     21.14 (140)
WESTERN BULLDOGS     1.2     7.5        9.5     10.6 (66)


Melbourne: Fritsch 6, Brown 3, Petracca 2, Neal-Bullen 2, McDonald 2, Spargo, Brayshaw, Sparrow, Oliver, Langdon, Jackson
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli 3, Treloar 3, R Smith, Naughton, Hunter, Johannisen


Melbourne: Petracca, Fritsch, Oliver, Brayshaw, Salem, Gawn, Jackson
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Daniel, B.Smith, Treloar, Macrae, Liberatore, Dale


Melbourne: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Nil


Melbourne: Jordon (unused)
Western Bulldogs: Vandermeer (unused) 


Crowd: 61,118 at Optus Stadium



We’ll do our best to publish two books in the lead-up to Christmas 2021. The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020  and the 2021 edition to celebrate the Dees’ magnificent premiership season(title is up for discussion at the moment!). These books will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers and Demons season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from these two Covid winters. Enquiries HERE


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About Gareth Meyer

Part-time food, wine and travel writer (and photographer), Hawks supporter since Huddo senior had the football on a string, proud owner of Martha the toy poodle.


  1. Daryl Schramm says

    Still haven’t seen the replay. It’s on my list. Loved the article and it certainly bought back memories of what happened that evening. Loved “there’s been a lot of signs tonight”.

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