AFLW Round 7 – Western Bulldogs v Melbourne: Pavlov’s Doggies

Western Bulldogs v Melbourne

Victoria University Whitten Oval

Saturday 17 March,



There’s a feeling in the (balmy) air tonight that this is anyone’s game. There’s also a high wind weather warning and storm clouds swirling overhead.


Melbourne is a team good at giving me heart failure, but after last week’s game, we could be in for a goal spree.


The Bulldogs have the home ground advantage, free ice creams to sugar-up the crowd, and free noisy clackers. The food trucks are doing a roaring trade as my fellow romance writer friend Sasha (Bulldog’s supporter) and I settle in to the hill at the Barkly Street end.


Melbourne take control early in the first quarter, keeping the Bulldogs scoreless. Despite nearly all the action being in Melbourne’s scoring zone, the Bulldogs are defending stoutly. When the dust settles on the first quarter (alas, only metaphorically) it’s 1.1 to the Dees.


The wind is swirling and so is the dust. Plumes of smoke and steam pour from the food trucks doing a roaring trade.


Hmm, what’s the collective noun for food trucks? A Caravan? An a-la-carte? A festival?


It’s a festival here tonight as the Bulldogs fight back hard. In this balmy heat, the crowd is going crazy, aided by frequent prompts from the big screen urging everyone to ‘make some noise’. Just like Pavlov’s dog salivating at the ringing bell, the Bulldog’s fans go wild. It works because the Dogs kick 3.2 for the second quarter, while Melbourne post a solitary goal courtesy of Paxman (The Engine). The Dogs are seven points in front going into half time.


The Dees are hanging in there, and the twitter hashtag #AFLWDogsDees is trending in Melbourne tonight.


So is #Batmanvotes and #SAvotes. At half time, I catch up with those scores. They say politics is showbiz for ugly people, but for some it’s also bloodsport. When the dust settles on those results, it’s back to the really important game on the ground here.


Whoever wins is through to the Grand Final next week. However, the Dogs might still make it if they lose because of their incredible percentage. But if the Dogs win then something, something maths something, something Brisbane’s percentage. Long story short, other teams have to fall over so Melbourne can Bradbury their way in.


The third quarter is often where games are won or lost, and Melbourne are in thumping form. Maybe they’ve all had an ice cream because they take the lead and hold the Dogs scoreless AGAIN.


Unfortunately, Melbourne’s accuracy is off kilter (I blame the swirling wind) and they kick one goal six. Those missed opportunities are the sort of thing that chews the lining off your stomach. At the final change Melbourne are five points ahead in this topsy-turvy game.


I’m surrounded by Bulldogs supporters, ps. Sasha has lived in the shadow of the Whitten Oval for a few decades, but this is her first visit. This is only my second, but like last time, I’m loving the community spirit and friendly atmosphere. We see one overly refreshed old bloke being helped from the ground by some caring police peeps. We sing under our breaths: “You’re going home in the back of a divvy van.”


I’m biting a layer of skin off my lips as we head into the final quarter where the lead changes three times. Dogs are in front again with a goal off a free kick for Monique Conti.


This game is buttock-clenchingly good.


Melbourne’s ever-magnificent Kate Hore takes a speckie and her goal steadies the Dees. I have no idea how many minutes are left. Can the siren go now please?




Brooke Lochland has kicked a goal from nowhere down the other end and the Dogs are in front again, by just two points.


Come on Dees, get it back up here, do something.






The siren sounds and ‘Daughters of The West’ blares out. What a game! I’m so entertained and thrilled for the Dogs I can’t begrudge them this. What a sensational night of football and entertainment.


I’m not crying, really, it’s just the dust in my eyes.


As we leave the arena, by pure chance, we spot a couple of caterers with a tray of hot pies – it’s the end of the night and they’re giving them away!


Oh yes, and another couple of free ice creams on the way out. What a great night!


The family is going to love me, Sunday lunch is sorted!


Votes: 3 Emma Kearny (WB), 2 Karen Paxman (Mel) 1 Food Trucks.


WESTERN BULLDOGS     0.0     3.2     3.2     5.3     (33)
MELBOURNE                       1.1     2.1     3.7     4.7     (31)


Western Bulldogs:
 Kearney, Brennan, Berry, Lochland, Conti
Melbourne: Cranston, Paxman, Smith, Hore


Umpires: Mirable, Dore, Johanson

Official crowd: 7593




Ebony McKenna is a total show off and has trouble shutting up. The most important reason she's here at The Footy Almanac is because she's Rod Oaten's daughter.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Ebony,
    wind and tears, effort and injury, scrappy with moments of joy. Just not at the pointy end of the game/season for your team. I felt for the players plodding off the ground. Heartbreaking for the losers, and it’s all stars and sunshine for the winners. Until next week. It is a cruel and magnificent game.

  2. Spot on Yvette.

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