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Round 2 – Western Bulldogs v Sydney: Flag unfurled


Western Bulldogs v Sydney Swans


Throughout the off-season, the talk had all been about what a fairy-tale ride the finals series of 2016 was, what a great fillip it was to the game, to the nation and to the world that the Bulldogs had finally won a second premiership after a 62 year wait. Indeed, news of the win went to the far flung corners of the globe unlike in ’54 when I didn’t even hear about it in Sandringham!


Talk also was about who had recruited whom and who would knock the Dogs off their newly-won perch next year for surely they couldn’t go back to back. The talk was GWS. But for the faithful, no such thoughts entered our minds. Our talk was about the Grand Final re-match, scheduled for Round 2 when the Premiership flag would be unfurled with past players proudly in attendance. Wasn’t it a cute piece of theatre for the AFL to schedule the unfurling of the flag up against the vanquished from last year? Surely the Swans would be in revengeful mood and hopefully knock the Dogs off to get the tongues and tails wagging. Good publicity. Let’s start the whitewashing nice and early.


But it was all talk. Friday night was about action. After a late training start for both teams, the Dogs won their first game against Collingwood whilst the Swans were beaten at home by Port Adelaide. The omens looked good therefore for a Dogs victory. It seemed the Dogs had handed the short pre-season better. With key players out for the Swans, they were forced to blood some new talent. Not so the Dogs, who have talent in reserve and were able to have three of their GF winning side named as emergencies. Unfortunately for the skeptics, the Dogs were favourites.


I’m not sure why, as I was confident, but I was really pumped up and nervous. I watched every bit of the Fox Footy preview and finished my beer before the game even started!  The beer went down well. The start of the game didn’t. The Swans flew out of the blocks with Reid in superb touch. Suddenly they were 23 points in front. However, a goal by Cloke arrested the momentum and by quarter-time we had settled and only trailed by 7 points. A strong second quarter had us in front by half time – the team contribution being very even. The third quarter saw us get right on top with a particularly dominant performance by Lin Jong (glad he stayed). However, the final quarter was the one you needed to see. The Swans fought right back with three miraculous goals form Buddy Franklin to quickly wipe out our lead. Not to be denied, Liam (Billy) Picken turned on his finals brilliance again to run from one end of the ground to the other to set up a brilliant goal for Bontempelli. We were in front again. Stringer chimed in for his third and Picken kicked two more to give us a comfortable win in the end. Like the Grand Final, it was a see-sawing hard fought contest – a pleasure to watch.


The Swans went down again but a healthy rivalry between these two teams is building. I look forward to the Grand Final re-match re-visited here in Sydney in a few months.


As for all the summer talk, the Dogs wild be up there again this year. So will the Swans despite starting 0-2 (their youngsters look good) and after a falter GWS probably will be in contention too. But already some of the teams are making the summer experts nervous. Let them be. My nerves are settling more comfortably now after Round 2 and the flag flying again at the Western Oval.



Western Bulldogs:           2.6          7.7          12.11     16.14.110

Sydney Swans:                  4.1          6.5          9.7          13.9 87


Western Bulldogs: Stringer 3, Cloke 3, Picken 2, Bontompelli2, T.Boyd 2, Hunter, Jong, Suckling Murphy.

Sydney: Reid 6, Franklin 4, Laidler, Newman, Florent.

Best: Western Bulldogs: Bontompelli Picken, Johannisen, Jong, Murphy, Stringer, Dahlhaus, Liberatore

Sydney: Franklin, Reid, Kennedy, Lloyd, Hewett, Jones

Our best: Jong, Franklin, Bontempelli

Umpires: Ryan, Mollison, Hosking

Attendance: 42,834





About Les Currie

I'm a passionate lifelong Bulldog supporter born and raised in Melbourne, After stints in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne I have now been in Sydney for the last 30 years. I have been involved in the arts all my life predominantly as a Theatre Producer and Manager with early stints in film and television. I am now getting back into writing and enjoying developing the character of Zuka the Flying Wonder Dog and working on a novel set in post '54 Footscray. When not working, writing, watching plays or movies or watching footy I'm at the beach or in the bush avoiding traffic.


  1. Footy Scrapbook Man says

    Enjoyed your match report Les. It certainly was a great match – one of the most memorable home and away games I think the Doggies have played in. Right up there with the Essendon win late in 2000.

  2. Keiran Croker says

    Hi Les, The Doggies play a great style of footy, and putting aside any concerns around free kick counts, have moved the ball from defence to attack much more cleanly than have the Swans in both the GF and last weeks replay. For my Swans I am very buoyed by the quality of players we have recruited in recent times and think we will be thereabouts this year once we get the right mix of new and old. Your Doggies will definitely be there too… good depth, Cloke adds something and the team is very well coached. Looking forward to the rematch in early June.

  3. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    It was an excellent game Les. It’s very hard, even for this opposition supporter, not to love Bob and the Bont. Picken on the other hand …
    The rivalry is good.

  4. Les Currie says

    Ah, yes, Mathilde. Picken did some damage in the GF didn’t he.? Looking forward to the Swans getting a win tonight. Having a bite of Indian beforehand.

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