Round 5 – Western Bulldogs v Brisbane: The Hero’s Journey

After the excitement of the close game against North Melbourne last week, I was looking forward to a more comfortable game on Saturday afternoon. It was Bob Murphy’s 300th, so I knew there would be expectation and nervousness from all concerned, particularly after the hype all week. I also knew Brisbane wouldn’t just roll over and give us the 4 points.


It was a beautiful sunny day in Sydney and I normally like to make the most of the weather on such days and get out on the bike or to the beach. However, today was an exception. I did have my coffee in the backyard as I read all the reports about Murph and watch my partner suffer in her Saturday morning ritual with her personal trainer. At least one of us got some exercise and I do admit to being a sadist on Saturday mornings. I get great pleasure seeing her suffer (it is the one hour of the day she can’t have a go at me as she is usually lying on the ground exhausts and by the time she gets the boxing gloves on she has no energy left to have a swipe at me except for the occasional verbal return swipe in jest.)


With the morning ritual over I ventured inside to watch the game. Hipwood missed a chance for the Lions and the crowd roared as Murph got his first touch off the backline. A mistake by Dawson led to a mark by Dunkley but he kicked a shocker. Points to Stringer and Hunter then finally a goal to Adams after a lovely scoop by Campbell. However, Hipwood and kicked 2 goals for the Lions by this time out the back. A lovely clearance from the backline resulted in a free kick to Ling Jong but he missed badly from dead in front. A bad kick-out from Harris was intercepted by Stringer but he missed. From a great tap by Campbell Macrae goaled and then JJ but the Bont missed one, then McLean missed one and then out the back Hipwood scored another goal for Brisbane just prior to the siren. Despite having most of the play we were 5 points down. Shocking kicking – 3.7 to 5 straight goals.


In the second quarter Tom Boyd kicked a terrific goal then a great kick by Hipwood set up Lester who goaled for the Lions. Then there was a reign of goals to Brisbane from McCluggage, Lester again, Zorko, Keays, Robinson and Taylor. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – Brisbane streaming to a 38 point lead.


My brother is a fair weather fan –of Richmond and Brisbane depending upon which team is having the better season. I texted him ‘Are you watching this?’ Fortunately he wasn’t, otherwise I would never have heard the end of it.


Despite it being such a long haul, I always felt certain the Dogs would come back. You see, it was Bob Murphy’s 300th game and the script needed to have a happy ending.


I’ve been reading Joseph Campbell’s ‘the Hero with a Thousand Faces’ and in it he compares all the myths and folk tales and fairy tales over the ages and how they are all similar. The hero has to go through a journey to get the Holy Grail or the princess or in this case a win in his 300th.


‘The Hero’s Journey’ as the theory is now popularly referred to is the basis of most Hollywood films and best-selling books. There is the call to adventure (playing footy in Murph’s case), The Road of Trials (shocking injuries, finals failure, missing a Grand Final victory, even missing one from dead in front in this game), the crossing of the return threshold (Murph is back this year!), Master of the two worlds (footy and journalism) until finally the freedom to live (finally the 300th has been achieved – and with a win).


Saturday’s game had all of this – so many reasons for success, so many obstacles along the way and now at the last hurdle, even more obstacles –obstinate Brisbane.


However, the happy ending I knew would come, didn’t until 5 minutes before the end when they finally tamed the Lions (just like in the movies). The adversary finally conquered, the Dogs were on a roll and slapped on a few easy ones against the exhausted Lions to make the result look more comfortable than it was.


Believe me, they can’t play like that next week and expect to get away with it. And I’m going down to Canberra for the game against GWS. My heart needs to be in proper ticking order for the drive home.


But then again, it is only a game, it’s a bit of show business and the script just has to go that way or we would be dead-set bored. In the end, I won’t mind if we have more trials and tribulations but Murph finally gets his true reward at the end of the season – the one he so richly deserves– a Bulldogs premiership.


Good on you Bob.


Western Bulldogs:            3.7         5.13       9.18       17.20. 122

Brisbane:                            5.0         12.3       12.5       14.8.90


Western Bulldogs: Stringer 3, Dunkley3, McLean 2, Adams, Macrae, Johannisen, Bontompelli, T Boyd, Picken, Dahlhaus, Murphy, Smith

Brisbane Lions: Hipwood 3, Zorko, Laster 2, Keays 2 McCluggage, Robinson, Taylor, C. Beams, Rockliff


Western Bulldogs:  Johannissen, Dahlhaus, Macrae, Picken,, Stringer, Mclean

Brisbane: D. Beams, Martin, Zorko, Taylor, Rockliff, Robinson, Mayes

Our votes: Dahlhaus, D. Beams, Macrae

Umpires: Schmidt, Hay, Williamson

Attendance: Etihad Stadium 31,822


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.

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