Round 23 – Fremantle v Western Bulldogs: Code Purple

Fremantle versus Western Bulldogs

4.40 pm, Sunday, 28th August

Domain Stadium, Perth


Neil Anderson



A timely dose of perspective arrived for this old footy-addict two weeks ago.


The Bulldogs had just beaten the Magpies on a Friday night and they had already secured a finals spot, so everything was right with the world. Unfortunately my choice of a late-night snack of junk-food to celebrate led to my undoing.


Saturday morning I was admitted  via emergency to the Warrnambool Base Hospital with gut pains that as I repeated several times to doctors and nurses, were at the eight out of ten level. The ultra-sound revealed stones in the gall-bladder and doctors later confirmed the whole gall-bladder was shot and they would operate on the Sunday to remove it. I’m glad they did because the post-op report described the gall-bladder as acute and gangrenous.


My accommodation for the first night and three nights after the operation was in the paediatrics ward. I was told I might have to shift if there was a sudden intake of sick babies, but otherwise I had a room to myself complete with lady-bug motifs on the walls. The nurses gave me that extra bit of care and concern that they would have normally given to babies and toddlers.


There was no chance of sleep before and after the operation so I listened in to the various conversations from the corridor and nurses stations. I couldn’t actually hear a lot of what they were saying, but it was more getting a sense of whether they were talking in a relaxed manner or if there was any urgency in their voices. I half expected an announcement over their PA saying they were about to admit a sudden intake of babies or toddlers and Mister Anderson would have to be shifted to another ward and share with half a dozen blokes.  From paediatrics to geriatrics.


The only emergency colour-code I heard several times over the PA was CODE-GREY. I immediately relaxed thinking that with such a neutral colour it must have been the briefest and non-problematic of all the emergencies. Before I started writing this report I thought I better at least check the emergency colour-codes in case I had it all wrong and someone like Glen who works in the health industry would be quick to correct me. I’m glad I didn’t ask the nurses at the time because apparently CODE-GREY is a signal to all staff that someone in the area is acting in a violent and aggressive manner. If I’d known that at the time there would have definitely  been no sleep for me.


I also thought I was safe with my title of ‘CODE-PURPLE’. I was thinking of the Bulldogs taking on Fremantle of course and it was meant to indicate that there was a danger of an upset on the cards, especially with Pav retiring and because of the Bulldog’s poor record in Perth. Surely there was no such thing as a CODE-PURPLE emergency used anywhere else. But I was wrong again. CODE-PURPLE is apparently the signal for a bomb-threat.


Not surprisingly, football took a back-seat as I recovered. It was hard to concentrate on reading a newspaper or checking footy-websites anyway, although I did try and finish an article about Ted Whitten which I had started writing for John Harms. It will be interesting to see if the final draft makes any sense.


So with a much clearer head and a good dose of perspective about what’s really important, I was hoping to at least see the Bulldogs finish the season with four wins in a row. Not worrying so much about their final ladder position, but being proud of the Club about to play finals without at least ten of their best players who have not been available for most of the year.


It was evident in the first quarter the Bulldogs were a young exhausted side just wanting to finish the home and away part of the season and then hopefully regroup for the finals. Sloppy handballs even from the Bont and very little run and carry with the ball. Their only two goals came from a small forward in Clay Smith and throughout the match there were never any tall forwards to mark anywhere near the goals.


The Bulldogs had to contend with 34,000 Docker fans urging Matthew Pavlich to finish on a high and kick goal number 700 which he did in the first quarter. All of Pav’s team-mates played out of their skins to ensure he finished his career as a winner. Just before the end of the quarter Tom Boyd was on the ground clutching his ankle and was quite distressed. I tried to keep calm in accordance with my new relaxed outlook watching footy-matches by chanting Frank Costanza’s ‘ Serenity now!’


The second quarter high-light was Dickson’s goal after a long run and Dale Morris’s brave marking on the back-line. A lot more tired football with a lot of points and only two goals kicked by the Bulldogs. Even players not usually in the starting line-up for Freo such as Pearce were playing well and kicking goals. It’s possible they wanted to be noticed in the final round before exit meetings with Club officials next week. I expected some of the fringe Bulldog players to do the same but there was no evidence they were desperately fighting for a spot in next week’s final’s team.


By half-time Hawthorn had beaten Collingwood on the other side of the continent which meant Bulldog players knew they would be playing the Eagles in the elimination final. No further injuries would have been  the main priority for coach Beveridge.


So fairly bruise-free football in the third term for the Bulldogs with only two goals kicked and then no goals kicked in the last quarter. The final margin was a twenty point win to Freo giving their champion player Pavlich the send-off he deserved. In my new relaxed approach to watching football, I was also feeling magnanimous enough to be pleased to see Freo win the match for Pav. Especially after seeing the Bulldog team and officials lining up to acknowledge him and Bob Murphy genuinely congratulating him after the match.


Fremantle     4.1  7.2  9.3  10.9  (69)

Bulldogs      2.4  4.9  6.12  6.13  (49)


Fremantle:  Walters 2, Mundy, Pearce, Neale, Apeness, De Boer, Pavlich, Hill, Yarran

Bulldogs:   Dickson 3, Smith 2, Dahlhaus


Fremantle:  Neale, Ibbotson, Hill, Pearce, Pavlich, Mundy

Bulldogs:   M Boyd, Picken, Dahlhaus, Dickson, Jong, Stevens

Umpires:   Dalgleish, O’Gorman, Findlay


Official crowd:  34,765

Our Votes:  3 Ibbotson (F) 2 Neale (F) 1 M. Boyd (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.


  1. I live and breath Freo and bleed purple, but I was very impressed with the Doggies on Sunday, with the respect they showed Pav. Their banner was for him, and they were gracious in defeat and good enough to stick around for Pav’s speech and exit. From all accounts the supporters behaved well too.
    Good luck next Thursday!

  2. G’day Neil,

    I’m sorry to hear you have got a sick and hope you are feeling better. No more junk food to celebrate the win.

    Was there any colour code of red, white and blue? These three colours represent you.

    I watched the part of the match, but it was hard to see Doggies’ sexy footy. Your Bulldogs were too kind to Pavlich… I remember Lenny Hayes’ last home game was played against your club, but you guys won. Oh I wish you could do the same to Pavlich.

    My Saints ended the 2016 season. I wish very the best to your Doggies and hope bad records at Subiaco ends on Thursday next week.



  3. bob.speechley says

    Sorry to hear of your plight Neil and I trust you’ve fully recovered despite missing your gall bladder. I note that you’re writing something on EJ for the Almanac.

    Do you mind if I relay your contact to John Lack who is writing an entry in the ADB on Mr Football?

    ? ?


  4. Sorry to hear of your illness Neil. Wishing you and your Bulldogs a full return to health and prosperity – in 2017.

  5. Neil Anderson says

    Thanks Lorri.
    Proud of the Bulldogs for their year so far and proud of the way they stayed for Pav’s send-off.
    You would expect nothing less when the team is led by Bob Murphy.
    Thanks Yoshi
    The red, white and blue flags will be flying in the near future. Not as emergency signals but in triumph like the French flags after they stormed the Bastille.
    Bob, the article on Ted I wrote for JTH is due to be published tomorrow in the Inside Football magazine. You may have to check with John if the article can go on the Almanac after that. It’s OK with me if you relay my contact to John Lack.
    Thanks for your message Peter. I like the way Suckling drew a long bow at a presser and said the Bulldogs would learn a lot playing at Domain on Sunday before they return again on Thursday week. Hmmmm
    Yes, I am looking forward to a healthy new year for me and my Dogs.

  6. It was a great day.

    The Footscray banner was outstanding.

    Suckling, and the others, will be better for the run, he was tellingly run down by Ballantyne and cornered by Yarran and his left foot was misfiring… put it down to the pressure.

    Here’s hoping for a good showing next time they come to Subi.

    PS Danyle Pearce has played every game for the Dockers this year. That was his best. And he has two years to go on his contract.

  7. Neil Anderson says

    Danyle Pearce must have been hidden away from us on the East Coast. If it was his best game it was probably why I noticed him on Sunday.
    We will need Suckling and all his final’s experience to fire against West Coast. I’m guessing you would be happy if the Dogs rolled the Eagles so you can give Peter B a call.

  8. hopefully endone came to the rescue. i wish i had taken some after that enema inflicted by richmond

  9. Neil Anderson says

    Have to see a specialist next week re the new filtration and plumbing set-up. Gall-bladder’s gone so I think the bile-duct has to work overtime.
    So glad the Bulldogs finished the home and away season better than Richmond and Melbourne. I wouldn’t want to add depression to my physical problems.

  10. Peter Fuller says

    Best wishes and apologies for coming late to your Code Purple recovery party, at least that’s what I hope is the case.
    I actually think that the Warrnambool Base are on to something. They have allocated you a second childhood. In a reprise of ’54 the Bulldogs sweep all before them in the 2016 finals and 7 yo Neil ecstatically celebrates even without a gall bladder.

  11. Neil Anderson says

    Thanks Peter.
    Yes, the code-purple recovery party continues although it was a low-key event with no alcohol consumed and definitely no junk food.
    You might be on to something there about being transported back to 1954 via the paediatrics ward to relive the grand-final as a seven year-old. I was probably mumbling something about seeing the Dogs win the grand-final when I was coming out of the anaesthetic and the nurses would be reminding me that the 2016 finals hadn’t began yet. There’s definitely a play to be written with all of this.
    Looking forward to seeing the Dogs have one last crack on Thursday night.

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