Well. Here it is. Everyone’s second favourite team (pffft – yeah right.) versus the team everyone’s just about sick of. First of all – let’s debunk the everyone’s second favourite team thing. First – if you have a second favourite team, you’re doing it wrong. Second – the only reason nobody really hates the Bulldogs is because the last time they won the flag was 1954. That’s 62 years ago. We didn’t even have television until 1956. On top of that, only 81,000 were actually at the G that day. And the majority of those would now be 6 foot under. And the third layer on all of this is that the Dogs beat Melbourne in that Grand Final. Melbourne. They have even less fans than Footscray. So without putting too fine a point on it – there’d be approximately three-fifths of bugger all people who have ever seen the Dogs be successful. It’s hard to hate losers.
This is pretty much in direct contrast to the team wearing the poo and wee colours. Has there ever been a more lauded, more feted, and ultimately, a more winning team? We’re sick of them. We’ve had enough of them. And yet – they Just. Keep. Winning. How can you back against the Hawks in a final? How can you pick a team that is unaccustomed to success to defeat a team who really doesn’t know what it means to lose. How?
I don’t know. But I am. I have a funny feeling the Dogs might win this game by a lot tonight. Don’t ask me why. I feel like it’s a matchup thing. Dogs are faster in the midfield, and the fact that Hawks don’t have big key forwards that can pull them apart actually plays into the Dogs hands. So yeah. I’m tipping the Dogs tonight. And guarantee a commentator will mention something about a torch being passed or similar analogy tonight.
Opening bounce. Bruce is excited. No pre-siren biffo. Disappointing.
Dogs look “on”. Lingy agrees with me. Damn.
1:30 Hawks player – (Breust I think) drops the footy cold in a tackle about 40 out from goal. No free kick. Here we go.
Damn Burgoyne is smooth. Bont is everywhere early.
3:30 Free kick Bulldogs. In front of goal. Wait, what? Dickson shot at goal. Spud shank. Behind. 1-0.
Dogs playing fast tempo footy. Keen to move the ball quickly. They could run the Hawks ragged tonight.
Suckling getting booed. Yeah you stay classy Hawforn.
4:30 Daniel snap – out of bounds on the full.
Hawks can’t get out their D 50. Foot skills not quite there.
Free kick Hawthorn. It was there.
6:30 – GOAL Hawthorn. Dogs defender missed a spoil. Sicily was Johnny on the Spot and snapped a goal after the ball fell into his hands. Hawks lead 6-1
Bruce commenting on Cyril being imperfect. Is he jumping off? Watch him jump on the Bontwagon.
8:30 – Sicily takes a mark 40 out. WHO’S ON HIM??? Kick fades right. Behind. 7-1
1 0:00 Frawley AMAZING SPOIL. Dogs almost went coast to coast, Frawley intercepted about 10 out from Dogs goal – suddenly, the Hawks rebound. Coast to Coast and Gunston goals from the goalsquare. Awesome footy. Hawks 13-1.
11:30 – Mark to Dickson. 45 degree angle. 35 metres out. Kick fades right. His second miss. Hodge gives him lip courageously. Hawks 13-2. Dogs wasting opportunities.
13:30 – Hunter running shot on goal. Missed left. Hawks 13-3. Dogs still look good when they can move the ball quickly.
14:27. Puopolo snap point. Hawks 14-3. Hawks moving the ball out of defense too easily for the Dogs liking. Richo and Lingy put it down to the Dogs playing on skinnier grounds recently. Stunning analysis. Let Carey talk you flogs.
16:00 Burgoyne dominating. Spots up Cyril 40 out. Cyril centres rather than having a shot. Strange.
17:20 Smith flying snap from the boundary. Misses. Hawks 15-3.
Turnover from the kick in. Cyril chases down Boyd. Gunston gives Boyd lip. Morris bumps Gunston. FIGHT? Nope.
19:30 Somewhere in amongst it Puopolo has a shot at goal from 15 m out. REVIEW. Did it hit the post?
Nope. CONFIRMED GOAL. Hawks lead out to 18. 21-3. Dogs need a goal. Overstatement.
20:27 CYRIL. Another F50 tackle. Holding the ball. Cyril will have a shot from 50. Doesn’t make the distance. Rushed behind. Hawks 22-3.
Dogs ball movement has slowed dramatically. Hawks right on top.
21:32. Great kick from Dunkley hits up Easton Wood around 40 m out straight in front. Dogs need this one. NAILS IT. Dogs hit back. 22-9.
Dunkley playing well for the Dogs. Boyd not so much.
Free kick Suckling. Umpires forget he doesn’t play for Hawks anymore?
24:25 – Rushed behind Dogs. 22-10.
25:31 – Great smother from Stringer keeps the ball locked in Dogs F50. That’s about all he’s done so far with less than 3 minutes remaining in the quarter.
26:28 – Ruck blocking free kick to Bulldogs. Strange one.
It appears Hawthorn are allowed to just drop the ball when they get tackled. That’s twice now in the Dogs F50. Hill this time. Again, Cameron Ling agrees with me. Huh.
Dogs have lifted their intensity near the end of the quarter. About 36 players currently around the stoppages in dogs F50.
Oh – seems the Dogs are allowed to just let go of the ball too. Have I missed a rule change?
28:20. Blood rule. McEvoy bleeding from the eyebrow.
29:33. Mclean Snap from nowhere for a GOAL.
Score review. Silent Review whatever that is… Hawks claiming it was touched. Doesn’t look like it to me. AND OVERTURNED. WHAT!? Somehow the non-clear replay provided clear evidence that Hodge courageously touched the ball. POINT. 22-11.
31:28 Hodge now being booed for courageously sooking to the umpires.
QUARTER TIME Hawks 3.4.22 v Bulldogs 1.5.11
BOOOOOO. (Who invited the West Coast fans?)
Well, that was a good quarter of footy really. Dogs were unlucky at times, but they didn’t help themselves out either with their goalkicking. Honours probably about even through the midfield. Hawks looking most dangerous when they get the ball out in the open – and really, the same could be said for the Dogs.
Quarter time stats: Shiels 8 possessions and 3 tackles, Burgoyne, Mitchell, and Smith with 7. Matthew Boyd 7 for the Dogs; Dahlhaus, Suckling, Dunkley, Bont, and Mclean 6 each.
00:30 – Poor handball from Dogs exiting D50 and Rioli gets on the end of it and kicks a goal. Hawks 28-11.
Hawks have 26 of 28 points from turnovers so far. Good stat. Dogs starting to make basic skill errors. It’s costing them.
2:30 Great centering ball from Picken on the boundary, and Stringer traps, snaps and GOALS. PACKAGE. 28-17 Hawthorn.
3:27 Clearance from centre bounce. Bont pushes Hodge aside like a fly and marks 35 out. GOAL. Dogs with 2 in 30 seconds. MOMENTUM. 28-23.
5:30 GOAL. Hawks respond immediately. Burgoyne gets the clearance. Running goal to Hill. 34-23.
Hawks AGAIN told off for shepherding the man on the mark. Umpires are really on to them tonight.
Breust again just drops the ball when tackled. No free kick. What gives? Oh. Wait. Now it’s a free kick to Breust. Perhaps he cooks the meat at the Hawthorn/Umpires pre-season barbecue?
9:30 Gunston marks on the 50. Tight up against the boundary. Kick lands in the goal square.
10:27 Hodge courageously GOALS. 40-23
Free kick Hawthorn. Ruck blocking free kick. Nope. Just nope. That’s a terrible decision. It was just standard ruckwork.
13:00 Free kick Hawthorn. Caleb Daniel holding the ball. Shiels to have a shot on goal. GOAL. 46-23
16 marks to 3 for the quarter to the Hawks. This is starting to get dangerous for Dogs.
14:09 Dunkley snap POINT. 46-24
Dogs not giving up. Forward pressure good.
17:28 Johannison snap point. First kick for the game for him. 46-25. Hawks really stifling the Dogs run off half back. Johannison and Biggs only 3 kicks between them.
18:28 Breust marks. 30 out courtesy of another pin point Burgoyne delivery. POINT. 47-25.
19:29 Bont I50 to Dunkley. Kid’s playing well. Needs to kick this though. POSTER. 47-26
21:25. Libba I50. Dunkley on the end of it again. Can’t miss this time. Surely. Doesn’t. GOAL 47-32.
23:30 Smith sliding mark after Johannisen gets Lewis holding the ball in the middle. BANG. GOAL. 47-38. Lewis has done Sweet FA tonight.
Is there anything the Hawks love more than smashing into blokes who aren’t expecting it/already prone?
Dogs have stepped it up again.
26:30 Smith marks 25 out from goal. Great centering ball from Hunter. GOAL 47-44
27:19. BONT is dominating in the clearances. Hits up Tom Boyd. From 55. POINT. 47-45. Carey likening Bont to Kouta. Pretty sure I said that last week Wayne. Hi if you’re reading. Loved your book.
Misses. Everything. SPUD.
Repeat F50 entries to Dogs. Hawks can’t get it out. They go in again thanks to Caleb Daniel and Dickson marks 40 out. And he misses again on the siren. Some Hawks weasel tries to give lip and now it’s on. FIGHT!!! Dogs going after Sicily with some intent. No punches thrown. Melee over. Half Time.
HALF TIME: Hawthorn 7.5.47 v Bulldogs 6.10.46
Dogs seem to be running out the quarters better than Hawks. If they’re within three goals with ten minutes to play, I reckon they win. Hawks can’t handle the Dogs run/pace late in quarters. 4 goals in “red time” so far for the Dogs to none from the Hawks paints a worrying picture for Hawthorn. Too old, too slow?
Josh Dunkley has 15 possessions and a goal for the Dogs. Liam Shiels has 13 possessions, 5 tackles, and a goal for the Hawks. Bontempelli has 6 clearances. Twice as many as any other player on the ground. 11 possessions, and 3 inside 50s as well.
00:45 Clearance Hawks, mark to Rioli. Play on. Mark to Sicily. POINT. 48-46.
CYRIL! Gives away 2 free kicks in a minute.
Not much happening. Stoppages around half forward for the Dogs.
4:53 Hawks get a D50 turnover, take it coast to coast again and Breust goals from the goalsquare. Hawks do that a lot. Hawks 54-46
Tackling from both sides has gone up a notch.
7:00 Picken tunnelled by Smith and his crap moustache. Free kick. 25 m out, near enough straight in front. GOAL. Hawks 54-52
Hodge being booed. I love it. Don’t they know how courageous he is?
9:15. Gunston snap GOAL.
Oh another review for touched. Awesome. Like the first one, you can’t tell.
Except that the reviewer can, and he says it was conclusively touched. Pffft. How the hell does he tell from that!?
Oh, he has a different angle. Yeah, good call. POINT. Hawks 55-52
10:45. Point. Smith. No smile this time. Hawks 56-52
12:41 Free kick Hawthorn. Cordy chucked it. Shiels with his second shot on goal from a tackle. Really underrated player I reckon. Certainly been good tonight. POINT. Just missed. Hawks 57-52. Now Hawks are wasting their opportunities.
More stoppages and tackling. This time at half forward for Hawks.
15:18. Good ball movement from Dogs finishes with Picken to Smith to STRINGER. THE PACKAGE to put the Dogs in front! GOAL!!! Dogs lead 58-57.
Dogs starting to find space a lot more frequently.
17:00 Mark to Roughead about 50 out. POINT. Dogs 59-57
FIGHT! Gunston and Package! Meh. Nothing interesting.
More stoppages. Dogs have done well to restrict Hawks this quarter. Struggling to exit defensive 50 again. Bruce says there’s no smooooooothness to Hawthorn at the moment. I have to agree. Where is Burgoyne? Unsighted this quarter. Looks like Mclean is running with him.
21:00 ROUGHEAD! Big mark 35 out on a 45 degree angle. GOALS! Dogs 65-57.
Dogs getting repeat forward 50 entries again. Lots of pressure on the Hawks at the moment. Dogs looking much cleaner with the ball than the Hawks. And they’re running harder.
Great forward pressure from the Dogs forces a boundary throw in in the pocket. Hawks can’t get out!
25:10 Free kick Dogs. Tantrum Mitchell. Tantrum Burgoyne. Probably fair enough. The tantrum that is. High free kick paid to Mclean against Burgoyne. Shouldn’t have been. Huge if Mclean can go forward and kick a goal on Burgoyne. AND HE DOES. GOAL Dogs 71-57.
Wayne Carey saying it should have been play on. Unless it’s Lindsay Thomas. (I might have made the second part of that up.)
Dogs go forward again. STRINNGGGGEEEERRRR!!!!
26:53 GOAL to The Package! Great hands and spread from the stoppage by the Dogs. They lead 77-57.
Again – Dogs all over Hawks in the back end of the quarter.
Stringer’s confidence is up. Look out Hawks.
Dogs are winning inside 50’s 40 – 28.
118 possessions to 58 in this quarter.
31:00 GOAL to BONT. 83-57. He is smacking them! Hawks can’t hold him.
The Dogs have 9 of the last 10 goals!
Marks on an angle 40 out. 10 seconds left in the quarter. Kicks for his 4th. And SHANK! Out on the full.
3 QUARTER TIME Bulldogs 12.11.83 v Hawthorn 8.9.57
Wow. Dogs ran all over the top of Hawthorn in that quarter, and they lead by 26 points with a quarter to play. Impressive stuff. They’re just too fast and up in the face of the Hawks. Since about halfway through the second quarter, the Dogs have looked by far the better team. Are the Hawks about to exit in straight sets?
01:30 Hill turns over a handball to Hodge in the centre square. The Bont intercepts and hits Tory Dickson all alone in the forward 50. From 30 out, straight in front. GOAL. Dogs 89 v Hawks 57.
Dogs another clearance. I can’t see where Hawks are going to get a lift from at the moment. They need Lewis to stand up. He’s done bugger all. Breust as well. Schoenmakers has had 2 kicks. He’s venturing into the Petrie Zone.
Speaking of Breust:
4:23 Breust marks inside 50. POSTER. Dogs 89-58
Holding period. Up and back between the 50’s.
6:15. Libba snap from the boundary finds Picken. Plays on and GOALS from the goal square. Dogs 95-58. This game is just about done with 15 minutes to play. 11 of the last 12 goals now to the Doggies.
STRINGER!!! SHANK. No score.
10:13 PICKEN! His third GOAL. Somewhat random forward 50 entry finds Picken alone 40 out. Dribble snap scores. Dogs 101-58. I’m calling it. GAME OVER. 12 minutes game time remaining. Dogs have kicked 9 goals in a row. Hawks can’t win.
12:19. Shiels snaps a GOAL outta nowhere. Well that was unexpected. Somewhat unwanted by the crowd as well. Boos. Funny Dogs supporters. Dogs 101-64
Oh, Free Kick Hawthorn. And a downfield. Umpires still think Hawks can do this.
Deliberate out of bounds paid with players 1 metre from the ball. Fair dinkum.
Nice ball movement from the Dogs here. Almost like keepings off. Hawks chasing tail. Are they running down the clock? There’s still 8 minutes to go.
16:24 Hawks finally force a turnover and Puopolo marks in the pocket. Misses. 101-65. Caleb Daniel off the ground with an injury. Getting hamstrings rubbed. No ice. Replay shows a shoulder knock.
Free Kicks – Dogs 18 v Hawks 13.
7 minutes remaining. Daniel up on his feet again. Looks OK.
This game feels like it’s petering out… OH THERE IT IS. The “decline of one team and rise of another” that we hear every finals series. I was waiting for it. Thanks Lingy.
18:57 GOAL Fitzpatrick marks and goals from the goalsquare. Nobody seems to care. Dogs 101-71. 5 goal margin, 6 minutes left. Surely they can’t… can they?
20:00 Dogs stuff it up exiting def 50, and Burgoyne marks 45 out. GOAL! Dogs 101-77. 4 goal margin. 5:13 remaining. Please no.
Oh and on cue. FREE KICK HAWTHORN from the ball up.
22:00 Rushed BEHIND to Hawthorn. Dogs 101-78. Less than 4 kicks.
Less than 4 minutes to go. Dogs running the clock.
2 minutes to play. Crowd of 87,823 – no bigger crowd has ever seen the Dogs win a match says Bruce. Who am I to argue?
26:06. Hodge bombs a GOAL from 55. Courageous goal. Nice kick actually. Dogs 101-84. Hodge refusing to concede, imploring his teammates to keep trying. Relax mate. You’re done. There’s about a minute left and you need 3 goals.
28:40. Holding the ball. Dogs still applying forward 50 pressure. Caleb Daniel gets the free – and a 50m penalty for not having the ball thrown back on the full to him. He kicks after the siren and… GOAL. 101-84. BULLDOGS WIN by 23 points.
Western Bulldogs 16.11.107 def
Dogs: Bont, Picken, Dunkley, Roughead, Macrae,
Hawks: Mitchell, Hodge, Shiels
Dogs: Picken 3, Stringer 3, Bont 2, Smith 2, Wood, Roughead, McLean, Daniel, Dickson, Dunkley
Hawks: Hodge 2, Shiels 2, Fitzpatrick, Puopolo, Breust, Hill, Rioli, Burgoyne, Sicily, Gunston
So, Hawthorn’s dreams of a four-peat are shattered, and to be honest they were exposed tonight. Too slow, too indecisive, and no big forward to go to. Their old blokes were brave (Hodge especially) – but the next tier didn’t step up. Jordan Lewis was held to 10 possessions as well.
As for the Bulldogs. Well, once they settled into the game, they were great to watch. They now go from playing Hawthorn in front of nearly 90,000 people at the MCG to playing a Preliminary final at Spotless Stadium against GWS in front of 25,000, and will go in full of belief. They’ve already knocked off last year’s Grand Finalists – now for the Giants.