ALL HAIL THE DOGGIES
If you don’t know the results, you live under a rock, most likely located in New South Wales or Queensland. The Dogs have won their first Premiership since 1954 and only the Swans supporters are disappointed. This is only the Dogs second premiership and it makes them the first team to win a Premiership from 7th position.
The Dogs had to defeat West Coast at Subiaco, the Hawks at the MCG, GWS at Spotless Stadium and Sydney on Grand final day. All up that is a horror run including 1st, 3rd and 4th on the regular season ladder and West Coast at the House of Pain, a team that was in good form (and obviously Runners Up in 2015).
They went into the Grand Final without their Captain Bob Murphy, their Full-back in Marcus Adams, their Full-Forward in Jack Redpath, and a midfield-forward in Mitch Wallis. They suffered multiple injuries to key players like Jason Johannisen during the season as well as losing Crameri for 12 months after already losing their Captain only 2 years ago in Ryan Griffen and another gun midfielder Callan Ward in the creation of the GWS.
If a team has ever had to earn a premiership it is the Dogs.
All hail the new kings, the Western Bulldogs.
We are just the great unwashed, the punters who don’t get paid to have an opinion. The experts, namely those on television and at the major newspapers, do get paid for their opinions and to be quite frank, their opinions suck.
The media had their first crack at it in the preseason and predicted Sydney, West Coast, Geelong, Hawthorn or maybe even Fremantle to push for a Premiership. Fair enough; who could have seen the Dogs climb the pinnacle after being bundled out by Adelaide in the first round of finals in 2015?
Their second crack was after the season finished and we had our rest week to rediscover boredom. Once again they predicted Hawthorn, Geelong and Sydney. David King may have even tipped Fremantle again. Fair enough, the Dogs finished seventh from which no team had ever won a Premiership.
Their third crack was last night when they only had to pick from 2 teams, Sydney and the Bulldogs. Once again 90% of them tipped the Sydney again.
They could have tossed a coin and had a better chance. What are the Footy “Experts” actually getting paid for? The punter who spent $375,000 on the Swans certainly wants to know!
THE NORM SMITH
I am not going to bias your thoughts here as I want an honest opinion from the Great Minds of Supercoach.
Who would you have given your 3 votes to on Saturday Afternoon for the Norm Smith?
HEROES AND VILLAINS
Western Bulldogs 13.11 (89) def Sydney 10.7 (67)
Q1: Western Bulldogs 2.0 (12) led Sydney 1.2 (8)
Sydney was meant to start with a bang but the Doggies evened up the midfield battle early, narrowly leading the contested possession, clearances and inside 50s for the quarter. Still, as Geelong did last week, the Dogs struggled to crack the Swans defence leading to the Swans having the first 3 shots of the quarter, with Jack kicking the first point and Parker kicking the first goal. After Buddy missed a simple shot, the Dogs moved the ball forward allowing Cordy to kick the reply from a tackle on Mills (after missing a banana from the pocket that should have gone to Hunter near the goal square) and then Dickson converted from long range.
The biggest talking points of the quarter were the injury to Buddy’s ankle and the contentious free kick count, 9-3 to the Dogs.
Q2: Sydney 7.3 (45) led Western Bulldogs 7.1 (43)
The Dogs again started fast with 3 of the first 4 goals to Boyd, Dickson and Picken, with Sydney’s only goal being kicked by Nick Smith who snagged his first goal since 2013. The Swans then clicked with Mitchell and Rohan kicking a goal each and the best player of the first half, Kennedy, kicking 2 goals in quick succession. Suddenly the Swans were in front and the Dogs looked a bit rattled.
To their credit, the Dogs settled with a goal to Boyd to break the streak but Mitchell kicked his second goal of the quarter soon after. Longmire would have been unhappy that McLean was allowed to kick a goal with 11 seconds left to give the Dogs some momentum at half time.
Still the quarter belonged to Sydney as they led the clearances by 4 (centre clearances 6-2), snuck ahead in inside 50s by 2 and contested possessions by 1. Unfortunately they trailed free kicks 12-4.
Q3: Western Bulldogs 9.7 (61) led Sydney 8.5 (53)
The Dogs started flicking the ball around as they love to do and got on top in the clearances and inside 50s. Boyd went all beast mode with 4 contested marks for the quarter (versus 10 for the rest of the players on the field!). The Dogs wasted chances so they only managed 2 goals, 6 behinds for the quarter, but they looked the better side and went into the 3 quarter time break on top.
True to form, Kennedy kicked the Swans only goal for the quarter.
Q4: You know this one!
Buddy opened his account, cutting the margin to just 1 point but Stringer soon followed suit with his first from a tight snap. Hewett then kicked a tough set shot to again cut the margin but that was the Swans final hurrah. The Dogs locked the ball in their forward 50 for most of the remaining time, kicking 3 goals, 2 to Picken and a lovely 60m bomb to Tom Boyd after Buddy was caught holding the ball in the middle.
There was an interesting over-rule of JJ’s goal when the footage looked a little dubious but no harm done! Harm was done to poor Hannebery who looked to injure his medial ligament when Wood collected him below the knee. Free kick perhaps?
Anyway: Viva les Chiens.
- Marcus Bontempelli (WB) 140 – Only the 22 possessions for the Bont but everything he did was slick leading to a 90% DE despite half his possessions being contested (and 0 clangers). He lay 7 tackles, gave 6 clearances, had 9 hit-outs and gave 2 score assists. I’m possibly exaggerating, but the good people at Champion Data have a HUGE crush on the Bont and reward him SC points for scratching his arse.
- Josh Kennedy (Syd) 134 – I made no secret of this on the day; I thought Kennedy should have won the Norm Smith. In my egotistical opinion, there is too much emphasis placed on who wins the game. Kennedy was a pillar of strength early, standing up in crowds of Doggies to give out clean handpasses with 17 of his 34 possessions being contested (at 67% DE) yet he only had 2 clangers. He kicked 3 goals, including 2 in the second quarter during the Sydney surge. He lay 6 tackles and had 6 clearances. I don’t know why, but nobody wants to reward Kennedy for anything this season with Champion Data giving him no love, the Umpires giving him few Brownlow votes and the Norm Smith Panel only giving him the one BOG.
- Dane Rampe (Syd) 120 – Along with Grundy, Rampe repelled numerous forward forays for the Dogs and can hold his head up high despite the loss. He had 24 possessions at 95% DE, 11 marks, mostly intercepts, and towelled up Stringer early.
- Jack Macrae (WB) 112 – Another 33 possessions for Macrae but he got his hands dirty with 14 contested possessions that lowered his DE to 66%. He was massive in the third quarter with 11 possessions (6 contested), 4 score involvements and finished with 2 goal assists.
- Tom Mitchell (Syd) 106 – Mitchell was one of the few Swans’ better midfielders with 26 possessions (10 contested) at 61% DE, 13 tackles and 2 goals, both in the second quarter. 5 clangers did hurt his score but he has shown enough that Sydney would be crazy not to increase that contract offer substantially because the guy wants to stay.
The People of Interest
Some players had games that were exceptional in impact but not in Supercoach Scores. Here they are:
- Jason Johannisen (WB) 92 – How can this game be analysed without the Norm Smith Medallist receiving a mention. JJ broke the lines consistently and gained a huge amount of territory but missed targets when kicking the ball inside 50. That amounted to 33 possessions (9 contested) at 69% DE, 9 inside 50s but no goal assists, 7 rebound 50s and 6 clangers. So all up that equals a good game but perhaps not a Norm Smith medallist?
- Tom Boyd (WB) 99 versus Lance Franklin (Syd) 100 – Who would have thought that Tom Boyd would have been the best million dollar player on the ground? Boyd was huge swapping between ruck and forward, collecting 14 possessions, 8 marks (6 contested) and kicking 3 goals while Buddy struggled after rolling his ankle in the first quarter. He still had an impact with 16 possessions, 8 marks (3 contested), 7 tackles and 1 goal but not the Norm Smith performance the media predicted (see above).
- Jake Stringer (WB) 33 – The Package is probably regretting that nickname as he was certainly the gift that kept giving to Sydney early. When he got his hands on the ball in the first half he turned it over with 3 clangers from 4 possessions to half time and 0 SC points. Only a good snap for goal and a goal assist, both in the final quarter, prevented a truly ugly SC score with 12 possessions at 50% DE and 5 clangers for the match.
- Gary Rohan (Syd) 35 – He has X-factor does the Ginger Ninja, but when the Grand Final rolls around he loses his head and either disappears or just does dumb things. 5 possessions on Saturday at 40% DE along with 3 frees against and 4 clangers made for ugly reading. Luckily when he did take a mark (we thought) nobody heard the touched call so he slotted the goal easily. To be fair, he did lay 6 tackles.
- Ben McGlynn (Syd) 43 – This guy is just plain bad ju-ju. The Swans would be wise to move him as far from the team as possible as he seems destined to never win a Premiership. Then again, he can’t expect to win a Premiership with 9 possessions and 0 goals in an entire match!
- Xavier Richards (Syd) 35 – Like many of the young Sydney players that the club and media have been banging on about, Richards just couldn’t get involved enough with just 10 possessions and 0 goals. He was probably there to stop Wood from double-teaming and helping with the Dogs’ “team defence” but that strategy didn’t really work.
- George Hewett (Syd) 48 – He kicked an important late goal to cut the margin to 1 point and hit Mitchell with a pass but otherwise did little.
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