Round 3 – Western Bulldogs v Sydney: The Big Chill





Bulldogs versus Swans matches bring back memories of 2016. October 1st that year and 62 years of hope – and mainly disappointment – disappeared after two hours of football.


Six years later with only one grand-final appearance and no wins so far this year, the premiership euphoria has waned.


I snap out of it briefly at the start of the match when Jamarra Ugle-Hagan marks strongly and kicks the first goal. Could this be his breakout match? I tip into more positive thoughts and remind myself about the Bulldogs’ talented list with few injuries compared to other clubs. Before the ball is bounced again I also remember how many key-position players will be available half-way through the season.


What a difference a good start makes rather than playing catch-up football. The mids were ‘on’ right from the start, as the commentators would say. Their appetite for the ball was fed by the Bulldog’s lone ruckman, Tim ‘Chill’ English.


With the Bulldogs dominating in all areas, there was still a  worrying sign when they were only two goals ahead at quarter time. The Bulldogs have a habit of not ‘putting teams away’ when they have the chance and it was happening again today. Busy, buzzing Bulldogs on the forward-line but only one more goal up to half-time. The busiest bee was Cody Weightman. Opposition supporters would be more likely to call him an annoying blowy.


The Swans kicking no goals for the quarter helped the Bulldogs’ cause. Two goals each added by three-quarter-time. Bulldogs supporters who have seen this movie before braced for the inevitable come-back by the Swans who eyed the piddling three-goal deficit. Surely Franklin, Heeney or Parker would get them over the line.


In the finish it was a combination of the Bulldog old guard of Bontempelli, Dunkley, Liberatore and medical-sub Wallis, plus a couple of players listed as below-average twelve months ago that made the difference. Bontempelli put another stamp on his greatness by running from the centre and punching the ball through the Swans’ goals to save the day. Then, to make certain of the win, in the last minutes of the match, he kicked the winning goal.


The Bulldogs win by just eleven points after dominating for most of the night.


The 2021 pre-season football magazine listed Bailey Dale and Ryan Gardner as below average. Dale went on to be named as All-Australian and tonight he showed why. Ryan Gardner proved doubting Bulldogs supporters wrong by playing the best game of his career on Buddy Franklin.


The real hero of the night was Tim English. Nicked-named ‘Chill’ for whatever reason. Perhaps because of his calm demeanour while kicking goals or marking the ball over ‘thousand-goal Buddy’? He certainly looks robotic the way he goes about his football. That does not mean the tall man with the sensible haircut has no flair. Tonight he was clearing the ball from the centre like an extra mid-fielder. His robotic look out on the ground comes from a player concentrating hard to do what he is told by his coach (master) without wasting time with high-fives or getting pats on the back.


His master Luke Beveridge has been tweaking Tim’s ‘controls’ for the last couple of years and  tonight he finally got the best out of his robotic ruckman and goal-kicker.


He turned up the ruck-o-meter  to eleven. Past the Dempsey, Wynd and Darcy levels with the needle landing on Simon Madden. Tim got the ruck part right. Now he just needs to add some goals to his dominant ruck display.



Western Bulldogs    3.3  4.10  6.15  9.17   (71)

Sydney                         1.3  1.3  5.3  9.6   (60)




Western Bulldogs:   Weightman 3, Keath, Naughton, Ugle-Hagan, Bontempelli, Vandermeer,


Sydney:    Hayward 2, Franklin 2, Wicks, Heeney, Gulden, McLean, Ronke.




Western Bulldogs:  English, Dunkley, Hunter, Weightman, Smith, Dale.

Sydney:          Blakey, Hayward, Gulden, Mills.


Umpires:        Broadbent, Fleer, Gianfagna


Official crowd:  24,325


Malarkey Votes:  3 English (WB)  2 Dale (WB)  1 Dunkley (WB)



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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. Rulebook says

    Tim English easily bog and if only the Crows recruiting staff had got there way instead of a overrule by the coach ( Don Pyke ) he would have been a Crow – thanks Neil

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