What. A. Game.
Undoubtedly, this one of the all-time great finals that saw the Bulldogs prevail and keep their fairy-tale season alive.
It was an action-packed and pulsating preliminary final, which saw the Bulldogs end their preliminary final losing run – where they had lost nine of their 10 previous Grand Final qualifiers – against the competition’s youngsters club at the time.
The Bulldogs finished the home-and-away season in seventh place, but were the beneficiaries of the first-ever pre-finals bye as they welcomed a host of players back from injury to lead them on one of the most improbable finals runs.
They had to defeat West Coast in Perth, before being faced with a Hawthorn side gunning for a fourth successive flag. They beat both sides, but arguably had their most difficult task ahead of themselves in the red-hot Giants, who were in their first-ever preliminary final after they dismantled big brother Sydney in the qualifying final to earn another week off.
The game had just about everything, and barely got over a two-goal margin at the most, as the Bulldogs led by two points at the first quarter break, nine at half-time and trailed by one at the final break before they fell behind by 14 points early in the final term.
Toby Greene was the man to put the Giants up by a game-high 14-points two minutes into the final quarter when he nailed his set shot, but in keeping with the script, the Bulldogs found a way to claw their way back into the contest.
A dashing run from Jason Johannisen from half-back set up Marcus Bontempelli to put the Dogs back in front with nine minutes to go, before a quick snap from Zaine Cordy put the Bulldogs up by seven points with just over five minutes remaining.
Jon Patton pulled one back for the Giants after he nailed his set shot, before a rushed behind levelled proceedings moments later.
Jack Macrae was then able to mark and kick what would become the match-winning goal with less than three minutes on the clock.
Devon Smith missed his chance to level the scores for the Giants, as Dog Tory Dickson had a set shot at goal right as the final siren sounded which hit the post for the most memorable behind in Bulldogs history.
The win extended the Bulldogs’ incredible finals run and as history would later show, the result would the precursor for their incredible Grand Final triumph over Sydney – ending their 62-year premiership drought which was their second Grand Final win in their history.