Round 9 – Western Bulldogs v GWS: The Ryan Griffen Cup

The Griffen match. That’s all this one could ever be. In the end he barely got any touches (good), but there was a definitive moment of Ryan Griffen hatred  toward the end when he took an isolated shot at goal. The stadium hooted and pounded the ground and fences and would have erupted if he had missed. But he shot true.

I’ll say it now, while we’re all here. The man gave us the best years of his life, and if he was unhappy he wasn’t serving anyone sticking around. The way he went about leaving left to be desired, but that’s life on the underside of the AFL. We can and should fight to get ours, of course, but we have some cool kids now. We can respect him and then we can forget him!

It’s been an odd year, that’s for sure. We’ve played true against the so far top dogs of the AFL: Fremantle, Sydney, West Coast, Adelaide and now GWS. And we’ve lost against… dammit, St Kilda and Melbourne are nobodies; I don’t care how diplomatic we’re supposed to be.

Between the 10-minute mark and the 30- of the first quarter we scored seven goals, after a very tight, scoreless first five minutes. By gum it was exciting. Even the behind we registered was a transcendent moment when Johannisen sprinted from half-back and was involved in three separate stretches of the same end-to-end play.

Luke Dahlhaus scored two snapped goals in the first quarter, part of a stellar season. Mitch Wallis scored a cool goal too. Have you ever heard of the observer theory that we as spectators notice the players who physically stand out more (blond hair etc) and merely think they’ve been everywhere because the eye is drawn? Well, Wallis had 12 first-quarter touches and pulled us to a match-winning lead of 49-6, reduced by a goal after the siren. He actually WAS everywhere!

We were welcoming back the thinking man’s rottweiler, our own Will Minson; German speaker, clarinet player et al. He scored a wonderful angled set-shot in the first quarter and the crowd loved it. He was fantastic today, allowing us to compete in the ruck for once, putting pressure on all around the ground, scoring with multiple shots snatched from ruck contests.

We were watching this match with the St Kilda match heavily in our minds. Otherwise us fans could have put our feet up for the last three quarters. This match was a thrashing, a type of match that could have been 100 points. Look at the shots: 33 to 13. It’s just that our conversion wasn’t perfect after the wonderful first quarter and theirs literally was: GWS’ quarter-by quarter scores were 2.0, then 5.0, then 7.0.

The top vote-placers write themselves. Matthew Boyd played a gem of a second quarter and overall match in the Murphy-type role of classy ball-playing defender. Easton Wood also just gets better and better in defence.

There were also tiny moments that steadied us on the few occasions we started having St Kilda flashbacks. Johannisen took a mark so high near the end of the second quarter I thought it had been one of our big men. Koby Stevens scored an astonishing banana goal after halftime, a very important one. Tory Dickson then scored his fourth goal when we were getting a little antsy after a string of team behinds.

In the circumstances I didn’t have to get to know the Giants. They scored two goals in a minute in the second quarter to dead silence, two disconcerting goals in the minute after halftime, and that was all she wrote. I only worked out now that number 8 was Callan Ward of western suburbs fame. He’s grown his hair lately and looked an awful lot like Griffen, which was the reason I thought he received his booing. Heath Shaw looked classy at times, and it was an annoying privilege to see Jeremy Cameron’s two terrific contested marks for goals. Luckily GWS hardly got the ball down there.


May 30, 2015 at Etihad Stadium.
WESTERN BULLDOGS                8.1  10.5  13.12 16.17 (113)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.0  5.0     7.0   11.2 (68)

Western Bulldogs: Dickson 4, Dahlhaus 2, Minson 2, Picken 2, T. Boyd, Wallis, Johannisen, Stevens, Grant, Murphy,
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 3, Greene 2, Stewart 2, Treloar, Scully, McCarthy, Griffen

3 Minson 2 M Boyd 1 Wallis

About Marty Gleason

As a toddler-ish Footscray fan at Western Oval in the 1980s, I collected rocks while Mick Malthouse climbed a ladder to sit in the coach's box on top of a pole. I think about those four games in 2016 every day.


  1. kath presdee says

    Fair play to the Doggies on their deserved win. Of what I saw of the game (I had local footy club commitments so I had an excuse) the Dogs played well and the Giants had flashes of brilliance and a few minutes of competence. They were outdone and out-thought.

    Unfortunately I think Leon was using the game to experiment in certain positional play (Adam Treloar up forward springs to mind) and our guys had already put the game in as a tick in the “W” column. This doesn’t respect the Doggies who I believe are our natural rivals in the competition, nor did it give Heath Shaw the respect he deserved for his 200th game.

    I wish we had a rematch with you guys at Spotless.

  2. Marty Gleason says

    Treloar scored a very good goal in the second quarter. I guess one swallow doesn’t make a spring but the play made me take notice of who he was.

    I’ve heard others mention us maybe being rivals in the Sunday Age yesterday, I don’t really see the connection. What makes you think that?

    Revenge matches tend to come soon enough.

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