Round 1- Western Bulldogs v Fremantle: Jail-Break

Western Bulldogs versus Fremantle

1.10pm, Sunday, 27 March

Etihad Stadium

“Gonna make a jail-break
And I’m lookin’ towards the sky
I’m gonna make a jail-break
Oh, how I wish I could fly”
‘Jail-break’ AC/DC

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Fremantle is the jail.

Built by the future inmates, it’s not hard to imagine how many go-slow days would have been involved. The thought of building the very walls that would see themselves incarcerated would ensure they’d use every possible delaying tactic. If ever there was an excuse for DIY procrastination, that would be it.

The most famous inmate in more recent times was Bon Scott of AC/DC fame. Bon may have only had an overnighter or a very brief stay, but our tour-guide was quick to acknowledge that Bon had indeed been processed at this jail. It certainly made the younger members on the tour suddenly become more interested in checking out the cells, hoping that Bon’s initials were carved on the walls no doubt.

Now when I think of Fremantle the football-team and its recent dominance over the Western Bulldogs, I think of that imposing jail overlooking the City of Fremantle.

It’s time the Bulldogs make their own ‘jail-break’ and take the leap from mediocre to elite. No longer should they be seen as the ‘trusties’ just doing the right thing by the AFL bosses, but become more like H-Division hard-men feared by opposition teams. No more being intimidated and made to ‘walk the line’ by those in authority, or being threatened in the ‘yard’ as they emerge from under-Dogs to top-Dogs.

Ross Lyon, whose appearance and demeanour resembles the warden in the Shawshank Redemption, will hopefully be left red-faced and fuming today when he realises he has been out-witted and out-played by the Bulldogs.

And now finally the first match of the season for the Bulldogs after an excruciating wait for the Bulldog faithful seeking redemption. It’s like having an extended bye that always creates that great unknown factor. Has the team lost form in the meantime, or have they improved sufficiently to take their game to a new level?

David King had similar thoughts a few weeks ago when he and his fellow commentators predicted where the Bulldogs would finish this year:
“ The 2015 wild-cards are 2016’s great unknown. Anything from a premiership to missing the finals are extreme, but not surprising, outcomes.” Eventually he decided they would finish outside the top-eight.

It’s these early predictions from the so-called experts that help motivate teams to prove them wrong.

Redemption awaits for those gutsy enough to go over the wall while ‘bullets’ are being fired from representatives of the seventeen rival Clubs and the AFL bean-counters. John Elliott and Ross Oakley are sure to be firing a few rounds from the watch-tower… just for old-time’s sake.

I’m not exactly sitting in the get-away car on the other side of the wall waiting to see who makes their escape, but I do have a front- row seat at Etihad to see which one of the Bulldogs will have a ‘break-out’ performance in his first match of the year.

The siren wails! The shots ring out! And it’s game on for 2016!

One of my predictions for the match came true at the first bounce. Tom Liberatore had the first clearance and pumped the ball into the forward-line. Welcome back Libba! Out of the infirmary at last and after twelve months in isolation, he looks like a ball of pent-up muscle ready to show everyone how he used to be top-dog.

The energy-levels are high from the players and the signs are so good , twenty-five thousand Bulldog supporters at Etihad can breathe again and uncross fingers that have been locked together in hope since September last year.

I tentatively tipped the Bulldogs to win after assessing the selected side realising there was at least ten players unlucky not to be selected. I could never have predicted just how accurate my tip was after the watching the exhilarating seven goals to nil first quarter.

Bontempelli set the scene with a goal in the first 18 seconds but wasn’t required to dominate for the rest of the match. Stringer started slowly and did dominate the rest of the match. Newcomers Adams and Dunkley were nerveless and played with the aplomb of veterans. Well, they couldn’t quite match the real veterans of Murphy, Mathew Boyd or Easton Wood who were simply the epitome of aplomb as they controlled the back-line. It seemed like there was a cast of thousands combining in frantic attacks on the ball and tackling the opposition when they had the ball. This was all happening against a team the Bulldogs haven’t beaten for about four years.

As usual Bulldog supporters wait for a possible come- back from opposition teams even if there is a forty-point buffer. But it never came. Only two goals in total kicked by the Bulldogs in the second and third quarters, but the Dockers only managed four goals by three-quarter time, so there was no damage done.

Pavlich kicked his first goal at the start of the last quarter which meant the Dockers needed to kick about seven more goals to win. All Bulldog supporters nervously had the their eye on the countdown-clock. We needn’t have worried. It was Stringer-time! And then Macrae-time and finally just before the final siren, it was Daniel-time. Bulldogs by 65 points and the first of the teams they have to beat to prove their credentials.

Part of my fantasy prediction for the ‘break-out’ win today was what victory-image I was going to use in the match-report if the Bulldogs had won. The most graphic one that came to mind was the iconic picture of Andy Defresne when he emerged from the sewer drain-pipe after he escaped from the Shawshank prison. Standing in the pouring rain with his arms out-stretched to the heavens, he was both being cleansed of the filth he had just endured and giving thanks for his salvation. That’s how much a win meant for the Bulldog fans today.

When Peter Gordon the Bulldogs President was asked on radio what was he hoping for most on behalf of his Club for Season 2016 he said, “ To beat Geelong. We haven’t beaten Geelong for ages.”

Thanks to the Pres, I now have a possible title for the Round 13 Bulldogs versus Geelong match report. I might call it, “Escape From Barwon Prison”.

Western Bulldogs 7.1 9.7 10.11 15.13 (103)
Fremantle 0.2 1.5 4.7 5.8 (38)

GOALS
W. Bulldogs: Stringer 5, Daniel, Dunkley, Johannissen, Macrae, Roughead, Bontempelli, Suckling, T. Boyd, Liberatore, McLean.
Fremantle: Weller, Pavlich, Taberner, Walters, Suban.
Best
W. Bulldogs: Stringer, Johannissen, Biggs, Macrae, Murphy, Liberatore, Dahlhaus.
Fremantle: Neale, Mundy, Barlow, Walters, C.Pearce.
Umpires: Ryan, Meredith, O’ Gorman.
Official crowd: 27, 832.
Our Votes: 3 Stringer (WB) 2 Biggs (WB) 1 Johannissen (WB)

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.

Comments

  1. Hi Neil,

    It’s a massive win that surprised me. Bulldogs were so powerful.

    Libba’s high performances seemed to set lights to create much power on Bulldogs for atackng footy. An attacking club seems to be formed.

    Commentators’ predictions on your Doggies have big impacts in the manner of the Kennett curse towards Geelong. Hope your Bulldogs win over them!

    I am excited to face your club at the next Round but will have to deal tough circumstances in the game.

    Cheers

    Yoshi

  2. Neil Anderson says

    Thanks Yoshi,
    The massive win surprised everyone.
    It was so important to get a good start to the season to prove the doubters wrong and keep the momentum going from last year.
    Next Saturday is a special one for St Kilda fans with Roo’s 300th. The Saints will be playing out of their skins and it won’t be easy for the Dogs.
    The Dogs need to keep winning so I’ll barrack for the Saints in any other match after Saturday…except if they meet the Bulldogs in another Prelim. Final as happened in 2009/2010.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Exciting stuff for the Bulldogs Neil. They play frantic footy. That’s always hard to counter. The battle this year with Geelong will be a beauty.

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