The sky is the limit for the young Bulldogs.
Last week the Western Bulldogs played one of the best games we’ve seen from the club in years.
The Adelaide Crows were demolished by a clinical and exciting Dogs outfit. A 57 point drubbing from a side that finished 14th last year, then proceeded to lose their coach, captain and a Brownlow medallist in the off-season.
The young kids that the Dogs have brought into the club have shown this season that they have no fear and that the difficulty of the off-season, coupled with the exuberance of new coach Luke Beveridge, have only galvanised the club.
However, just when we thought it couldn’t get any better for the Bulldogs, they have claimed one of the biggest scalps of the year with quite possibly what will turn out to be the biggest upset of the year come season’s end.
The Bulldogs travelled to Sydney to play last season’s Grand Finalist’s at the SCG in what can only be described as a David and Goliath battle of epic proportions. But the Bulldogs again stuck to their guns and got away to another brilliant start, kicking five goals to two in the opening quarter.
Not only did the Dogs come out firing, but they were able to stand up when the Swans challenged.
Sydney even hit the lead towards the end of the final term, before the Dogs stole the lead back again in the final minutes.
The Bulldogs have now won four of their first five games, only losing to reigning Premiers, Hawthorn.
All of a sudden, playing finals is a real possibility for a club seemingly on its knees just six months ago.
The Bulldogs have made the football world stand up and take notice, as a turnaround in fortunes this quick is almost unheard of.
The Bulldogs have certainly bottomed out, as the footy world seems to agree is generally a necessity when trying to build towards a Premiership window. The last few season have been a far cry from the three Preliminary Final appearances in a row from 2008-2010. However, the Bulldogs seem to have skipped a step. They’ve gone from easy beats one year to beating Premiership contenders the next year. And they’ve proved that it can be done.
They’ve done it with good recruiting on draft day. And it further highlights the poor recruitment of the likes of Melbourne, Carlton and Richmond.
I think I speak for many of the footy lovers around the country, when I say this, despite not being a Bulldogs fan; I want to see the Western Bulldogs succeed. They have won just one Premiership (1954) in the club’s history. Often a cellar dweller of the competition, a successful era for an unsuccessful club is what the AFL needs.
The AFL has been hell bent on ensuring expansion clubs GWS and Gold Coast win Premierships and win fans in the northern states. This is definitely a worthy endeavour to expand the game in difficult markets and it would be a tremendous success for the AFL if it works. While possibly not having the same monetary windfall, it is also just as important and infinitely more satisfying for fans of the game if the Bulldogs can finally see success. It would be the ultimate fairy tale if the Bulldogs current crop of young talent can win a Premiership within the next three years.
The draft has been compromised with the introduction of GWS and Gold Coast and despite the AFL’s best attempts at equalisation, the gap between the haves and have nots within the league somehow seems to only be growing. It is the most difficult time in the history of the competition to win a Premiership.
There’s no doubt that a Premiership is the ultimate goal of every club, and the Bulldogs are most definitely building good foundations. However, the only question I have at the moment is whether the young pups can maintain the rage, or whether they’ll fade away as the season progresses. Whether they play finals or not this season, there will definitely be good times ahead for Dogs fans.