NAB Cup, Round 1: Bulldogs see off brave Lions in Canberra slush

By Steve Healy

Ah, Sunday afternoon footy on the radio… can it get any better than this? Fev’s first game for the Lions, Buchanan’s and Staker’s as well. The dark sky is looming outside my bedroom window, whereas the Canberra sky is even darker and Manuka oval has been three inches under water all day long. That is the sort of weather that brings me (Well, I can’t really say that) back to the days where VFL/AFL footy was regularly played in wet and muddy conditions with a crowd of a few thousand watching, with tough contests all around the ground and players struggling to get kicks away. Unfortunately, these days ended a few years in to my life.

The siren sounds to signal the start of play. The SEN commentators are painting the picture fluently. A couple of minutes go by, Staker marks the sponge 40 metres out, and chips it over the top to big Brendan. Fevola leans back and sneaks in the first goal of the game from 15 metres out on a slight angle. A few minutes of tough, in and under footy follow, before Sherman doesn’t get the ball back quickly enough after receiving a free on the half forward flank, and moves inside fifty to kick an easy nine-pointer. The game turns into a quite entertaining scrap from this point. Lake puts the Dogs on the board with a point, while Amon Buchanan is really making an influence in maroon, picking up 10 disposals in less than twenty minutes. Charman and Leuenberger are both tapping the ball really well at the stoppages, while Cross, Cooney and Boyd, the usual culprits, are trying hard for the Dogs. Travis Johnstone looks even wilder this season, but he’s playing well. A short quarter ends with the scores at 0.4 (4) to 1.1.3 (18), after a goalless 20 minute period. Buchanan has 12 possessions for Brisbane while Cross has an honest eight for the Doggies.

The Dogs still can’t get on the board until youngster Andrejs Everitt kicks a great goal for the conditions from just inside 50. The Lions reply. A rainmaker is kicked into the forward line, and the new No.34 Jesse O’Brien takes a mark and drills it home.  Sherman, who’s playing a good game, slides one through the middle and extends the margin to 21 points. From here on, the Dogs change their approach and start to dominate. But they just can’t convert. The half time siren blows, and the score’s 0.1.8 (14) to 1.3.6 (33) in a low scoring scrap. Despite the early goal, Fevola has made no influence, and has been held quiet by Lake and Morris. Buchanan has 16 possessions for the Lions and Cross has 14 for the Dogs.

Right from the beginning of the third term the Dogs dominate, but just can’t assert their dominance on the famous Manuka Oval scoreboard. Behinds from Hudson and Gilbee put the Dogs on 1.10, before Cooney kicks a classy goal on the run to bring the “home” side back within 11 points. The Dogs wither their way to 2.14, before Cousin-of-Jarryd Jordan Roughead caresses one through from just inside 50, capping off a good game so far in the ruck. The next piece of play is great: Adam Cooney explodes from the centre clearance, before kicking towards young forward Liam Jones, who receives a free for holding in the goal square. He kicks the goal and the Dogs move five points ahead and its game on. I am shocked as the three quarter time siren sounds after 20 minutes! The quarter was that short? No. I learn that the AFL shortened the last two quarters of the game to an even 20 minutes because it might get too dark. For crying out loud, the NAB Cup is already a shorter version of the game, why would you make it even shorter! With all that aside, the half time score was 0.4.14 (38) to 1.3.6 (33), after a scoreless “quarter” from the Lions. Cross has 20 possessions for the Dogs and Buchanan and impressive young Lion Tom Rockliff have 18 and 15 respectively.

The last quarter begins and Everitt marks and kicks his second through for the Dogs within three minutes. Luckily for the Lions, Sherman immediately replies, which also ends a remarkable run of 13 scoring shots by the Dogs. A period of nothingness follows, Tom Rockliff is doing his best to keep the Lions in the game but neither team can manage a forward throttle. Of all the ways to end this score drought, an interchange infringement from Tom Collier does, which provides Ryan Griffen with a super goal, yet again from a 50. With a stop-less seven minutes remaining, things look tough for the Lions. Jared Brennan puts one through for the Lions to give them some hope, and with the margin at eight points I’m now barracking for a nine pointer to put the Lions in front. It doesn’t come, the Dogs hold strong and win 1.5.14 (53) to 1.5.6 (45).

The damp crowd of 3,707 depart the Oval, happy with seeing a genuine wet-weather contest. Tom Rockliff led the possession count on the ground with 25 possessions and best on ground for mine. It was a brave performance from the Lions, despite only scoring twice in the second half, and even without regulars like Brown, Black and Power. But full credit to the Dogs, who will enjoy their victory, despite having a minor injury setback with Higgins coming off the ground late in the game. They have also found some talent in former  mature-age Geelong rookie Brodie Moles, who picked up 16 possessions.

Never underestimate footy on the radio.

Western Bulldogs 0.0.4 0.1.8 0.4.14 1.5.14 (53)

Brisbane 1.1.3 1.3.6 1.3.6 1.5.6 (45)

Super Goals:

Western Bulldogs: Griffen

Brisbane: Sherman


Western Bulldogs: Everitt 2, Jones, Cooney, Roughead.

Brisbane: Sherman 2, Fevola, O’Brien, Brennan.


Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa, Gilbee, Cross, Cooney, Boyd, Harbrow, Roughead, Moles, Everitt.

Brisbane: Rockliff, Sherman, Buchanan, Johnstone, Stiller, Charman.

Umpires: Unknown                    Crowd: 3,707 at Manuka Oval

My Votes: 3. Tom Rockliff (BL), 2. Daniel Giansiracusa (WB), 1. Lindsay Gilbee (WB).

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.


  1. If the Pies knock off the Saints tonight (19 Feb) the Pie fans will have them inserted as flag favourites. They’ll post comments about “Dids” and “Leon Neon” and how good “Bally” is and what a star “Clokey” is and how good their “young guns” are. It will be quite comical.

    Never mind how good the Dogs and Hawks appear so far.

  2. good effort champ

  3. Thanks Lowrie, great to see ya on the Almanac lol

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