VFL Grand Final: Footscray v Box Hill

VFL Grand Final


Footscray  v  Box Hill.


Now I won’t bore you with my total dislike of ‘Emptyhead Stadium’, but the VFL Grand Final is there again this year, so after the Global Warming March I headed down to this footy ground behind Flinders Street Railway Station for the game.

And the ground management did nothing to change my view of this arena. I joined a long queue for a ticket to be told that this ticket office is closing, and you and hundreds of others must now walk to Gate 5 for tickets, and join an even longer queue. At least it was sunny and warm outside, but no, when you got inside some giant intellect had determined the roof had to be shut, and it wasn’t sunny and warm anymore, quite cool in fact and not to my liking.

What I did like about the scene was the crowd. With about ten minutes before the bounce, there was a very big crowd of red, white and blue supporters of all ages, where I chose to sit. No super box patrons here. There was an announcement that level three was opening to accommodate the numbers, a great sign that grass roots footy is alive and well.

Both teams came out to play, the Bulldogs in the great old Footsray jumper, Box Hill in the Hawthorn jumper with a small brumby emblem, I was hoping they could have played in the historic Box Hill strip, but no. The game started in a fast and furious way, Box Hill took an early lead but Footscray bounced back.. The game continued at breakneck pace with a few glaring turn overs on the Footscray backline which let Box Hill for a couple of easy goals. Everyone was having a red hot go and it was great to watch. Brett Goodes was in everything as was Tom Campbell for the Bulldogs, Mitch Hallahan and James Sicily were best for Box Hill. Scores at quarter time 4.2 each.

At times during the second quarter I had a feeling Box Hill were on top, they seemed to be more skilful, but you couldn’t keep the Doggy spirit down, they bounced back on every occasion, so at the big interval Footscray were actually in front by a point.

Cyril Rioli who had been on and off the ground in the first half without having much influence flashed his brilliance for a couple of minutes early in the third quarter and gave away a couple of goals to Box Hill, but it was a cameo appearance and the Doggies held on with grit and determination against who I thought at that stage was the better team. There was only six points in it at the orange break in Box Hill’s favour.

Last quarter in the Grand Final, what a game of footy. Box Hill kicked the first two goals and were up by three goals and looking good. But the Scraggers weren’t done for. A couple of goals from sharp angles got them back in the game. The Footsray supporters were screaming encouragement and the Doggies were storming home with another goal. Liam Jones was marking strongly down back and up forward and with two late goals, he sealed the game.

When the final siren went, the Footscray supporters let out a huge hurricane of noise, they had done it by twenty two points. They were jumping up and down and hugging each other. I noticed quite a few senior citizens with tears in their eyes as they sat with their partners. What a great scene, what a great way for Footscray supporters to finish the 2014 season.


Best Players

Footscray    Brett Goodes (Norm Goss Medal), Lin Jong, Tom Campbell. Liam Jones, Michael Fogerty, Tom Young, Sam Darley, Jordan Russell.

Box Hill    Mitch Hallahan, Sam Iles, Ben Ross, Billy Hartung, James Sicily. Ben Ross.



Footscray   Liam Jones 5,  Tory Dickson 2, Jack Redpath 2,  Tom Campbell, Michael Fogerty,  Jarrad Grant,  Daniel Pearce,  Jason Tutt,  Tom Young.

Box Hill  James Sicily 3,  Mitch Hallahan 2,  Ben Ross 2,  Sam Collins,  Sam Grimley,  Billy Hartung,  Luke Lowden,  Dallas Willsmore,  Alex Woodward.


Crowd   Global Warming Rally, 30,000

Docklands Stadium, 23,000



  1. Neil Anderson says

    Agree with your best players especially Jong and acting captain Jordan Russell. Can’t agree with Tom Young. He was the turnover king and always seems to get caught with the ball whenever I watch him.
    Still worried about Grant and Cordy taking the next step.
    I know what you mean about Etihad being soulless etc after watching Footscray play Williamstown at Whitten Oval which was brilliant. Ironically that big crowd at Etihad probably got the Dogs over the line. At least they didn’t have to play at Port Melbourne like they did against the home-team in the prelim final.

  2. Neil, The Footscray crowd groaned when Tom Young made a few glaring errors, but he kept on attacking and he was full of “Scragger spirit”, he never gave up. The best part was at the end, I reckon I saw a couple of dozen Senior couples with tears running down their faces, gave me a lump in the throat too.

  3. Neil Anderson says

    You are right about Tom Young Rod. He was trying his guts out towards the end and he kicked a running goal making up for one he gave away. It’s just that you get so tensed up at the start of the match and watching anyone turning the ball over, it puts them under the microscope for criticism throughout the match.
    I would have been one of those seniors with the tears running down the face if I was there.
    That’s the beauty of being home in your man-cave watching it on TV. You can let the tears flow and no-one will ever know…unless you tell them on the Almanac. of course.

  4. Awful venue and nearly didn’t go…service is a disgrace.
    Great win for ‘Scrays
    Jong clearly best as he has been for most of the finals. Thought Jones next which is a real quandary because he looks astar at this level yet has been so outclassed up in grade.
    Next year the Club must endeavour to play home matches at the Western Oval, despite the risk that crowds and revenues will be better than the dud draws at Docklands.

  5. The first Footscray flag at Docklands. To my knowledge it makes three venues the Builldogs have won premierships on; Melbourne Cricket Ground, Lakeside Oval and Docklands. Where did they win their VFA flags in the old days?


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