Toast Chris Grant - A Retrospectus

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Game #188 - Qualifying Final 1998 vs West Coast at MCG (6/9/1998)

BOG, kicking 4.0 from 14k, 7hb in 70-point win over the Eagles.

Chris Grant floated across half-forward all day to kick four goals and dish out another three.

Grant had proven a handful for Ashley McIntosh in the first half. Then McIntosh had to leave Grant's side so that he could take over from Mitchell White on Simon Minton-Connell, who played the game of his career. Fraser Gehrig, Grant's second opponent, could not keep a lid on the star Bulldog and Grant exploded in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs went on to record their biggest ever win over the Eagles.

Somewhat surprisingly, no footage of this game seems to be on youtube, but then again even if it was the whankers at the AFL would probably get it removed eh sackofballs
 

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Game #187 - Round 22, 1998 vs North Melbourne at MCG (28/8/1998)

Our best, kicking 4.0 from 16k, 4hb in 5-point loss to the Roos.

You know the one, the battle for top spot in the last round in front of 68,050 people at the G. This one gets replayed on tv quite a bit as a classic home and away match (from an era when we didn't have much else to celebrate than classic home and away matches).

Granty and Wayne Carey were both winners for their sides, each finishing the night with 4 goals (and each with two in the last quarter). Jason McCartney did fairly well on Grant for most of the first half, particularly in contested situations. When Grant had room to move, however, it was a vastly different story. Glen Archer went on to Grant for a good part of the second half, and was carved like a Christmas ham.

The turning point in the game came 26 minutes into the quarter when James Cook crashed into Robert Scott after the North man had marked on the wing. Cook was reported. A groggy Scott goaled after receiving a 50-metre penalty. The highlights video Doggies '98 described it something like, "In one moment, Cook gave away a free kick, a 50-metre penalty, a goal, and earnt hmself a two-week suspension." So not one of Cooky's finer moments then.

Highlights are here:


 

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Game #186 - Round 21, 1998 vs Essendon at MCG (21/8/1998)

One of our best, kicking 1.2 from 13k, 5hb in the lesser-known 11-point win over the Bombers on a Friday night during this era.

The result was in the balance until a free kick to Chris Grant 50m from goal. Grant passed to James Cook, who sealed the match from a tight angle with seconds remaining.

You can watch Brett Montgomery taking a hanger here:

 

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Game #185 - Round 20, 1998 vs Sydney at Waverley Park (15/8/1998)

11k, 8hb in two-point win over the Swans. The Dogs came from behind and got over the line thanks to some Huddo brilliance in the last quarter.

The duel between Granty and Troy Luff changed radically in the final term. Luff held Grant well for three quarters with the Bulldogs centre half-forward struggling to mark and looking uncertain when kicking. But in the final term, Grant got away from Luff to take six important marks.
 

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Game #184 - Round 19, 1998 vs Geelong at Princes Park (8/8/1998)

Kicked 1.4 from 11k, 4hb in 1-point loss to the Cats.

After keeping a raging Plugger to one goal in the second half the previous week, 22 y.o Hamish Simpson from Geelong (no I don't remember him either) took on Grant and while the Bulldog champ's goal kicking was poor, the L-plated Cat kept his opponent to four possessions in the second half.

Yes I was at this game. Scott West missed out on a free kick in the goal square in the dying minutes. On the way out of Optus Oval a Cats fan gleefully bellowed that the Bulldogs were "pretenders". In a way, he was right. In another way, he was a flog.
 

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Game #183 - Round 18, 1998 vs Collingwood at MCG (31/7/1998)

One of our best, kicking 0.2 from 10k, 8hb in 43-point win over the Pies.

Chris Grant produced a typically fine game at centre half-forward in conditions that did not suit key forwards. Turtle made light of the conditions to mark surely and handle cleanly.
 

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Game #182 - Round 17, 1998 vs Carlton at Princes Park (25/7/1998)

One of our best, kicking 2.4 from 14k, 4 hb in shock 80-point loss to the Blues.

I had the misfortune to attend this game where the Blues hammered the Dogs and Lance Whitnall kicked eight goals (eight!). Sitting near a young lady with elephantiasis of the lower legs who screeched her way throughout the game didn't help either.

Grant battled hard for the Bulldogs against Anthony Koutoufides and Stephen Silvagni. Indeed, at one point in the second quarter, he competed with Whitnall for effectiveness. But delivery both to him and from him - he kicked 2.4 - was below par. Koutoufides had him for most of the time and more than matched Grant for athleticism.

Somewhat bizarrely, you can check out a vid of the half-time entertainment here:

 
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Game #181 - Round 16, 1998 vs Brisbane at Princes Park (18/7/1998)

One of our best, kicking 4.1 from 16k, 9hb, 12 marks in 91-point win over the Lions, picking up 2 Brownlow votes in an outstanding effort.


Bulldogs vs Brisbane, 1998.
 

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Game #180 - Round 15, 1998 vs Melbourne at Princes Park (4/7/1998)

BOG, kicking 3.1 from 15k, 6hb, 12 marks as Dogs took top spot on the ladder after the 18-point over the Dees.

Grant was brilliant, and one of the Bulldogs' few four-quarter players. At one stage in the third quarter, Melbourne's lead stretched to 17 points. Grant kept the home side in the contest with two goals for the term.

Played free and loose by Ingerson, and then by Seecamp, Granty took his usual quota of stupendous marks and kicked a few goals.

 

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Game #178 - Round 13, 1998 vs Port Adelaide at Football Park (20/6/1998)

12k, 6hb in 34-point loss as the top of the table Dogs put in a shocker against the Power.

If you would like to see Port players kicking two brilliant long goals, fill thine boots:

 

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Game #177 - Round 12, 1998 vs Fremantle at Princes Park (14/6/1998)

One of our best, kicking 2.2 from 15k, 6hb in 26-point win over Dockers.

The Bulldogs champion played at full-forward and kicked two goals but was instrumental in at least another six goals. He took the honors from Anthony Jones, who was not his team's worst.

Freo's Scott Chisholm was also suspended for two matches after being found guilty of striking Granty.


Dent and Dented.
 

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Game #176 - Round 11, 1998 vs Adelaide at Princes Park (7/6/1998)

One of our best, kicking 3.4 from 15k, 6hb in 67-point win over the eventual premiers.

Shane Ellen was given the job on Granty and stuck to the task, but the Bulldog gun was simply too good in the air and, with 3.4 could have really embarrassed the 1997 grand final hero.

This game is also notable for the performance of Steve Kolyniuk, who had been out of form and decided to change his match-day routine. He didn't shave, and wore his socks pulled up, and then ran riot kicking 5.2 from 29 touches.



When ruckmen attack.
 

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Game #175 - Round 10, 1998 vs West Coast at WACA (29/5/1998)

Kicked 3.1 from 12k, 7hb in 13-point loss to the Eagles.

A bizarre and at time electrifying game, in which the Dogs kicked 8.4 to the Eagles' 0.4 in the first quarter, and then the Eagles piled on 8.2 to 0.1 in the second. From memory this is the game where Grant had a shot after the half-time siren and missed, and Bruce said, "Carey would've kicked that."

Anyone in the mood can watch it here:

 

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Game #174 - Round 9, 1998 vs Richmond at Waverley Park (23/5/1998)

7k, 4hb in 13-point win over the Tigers. Granty was well-held by Darren Gaspar.

 

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Game #173 - Round 8, 1998 vs Hawthorn at Waverley Park (17/5/1998)

One of our best, kicking 3.1 from 13k, 5hb in 40-point win over the Hawks.

Jonathon Robran shaded Granty in the first half, but Turtle lifted and started to find space in the second half and ended with 14 marks and was a key figure as the Bulldogs drew away.

This game was otherwise notable for an ageing Jason Dunstall kicking 6 goals in the first quarter (8 for the first half).

Highlights are here:

 

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Game #172 - Round 7, 1998 vs North Melbourne at Princes Park (10/5/1998)

One of our best, kicking 4.1 from 13k, 2hb in 27-point win over the Roos, with a big mellee at half time.

Grant's performance prompted one scribe to query whether Chris Grant could be the "equal of the great Wayne Carey, as a centre half-forward and as a player?"

Yesterday's game at Optus Oval was valuable for some insights, but did not provide the answer. Carey and Grant played in their customary positions, despite some pre-game conjecture that the North Melbourne captain, who has spent some time in defence this season, might be the Roos' best option to counter Grant.


The Bulldog superstar himself had wondered whether he might have Carey as an opponent, although not necessarily for long. "We tossed it around but we felt that if he did come down that it wouldn't be for long, because it robs their forward line so much." he said. "Our game plan was to get to where Carey was, get to his feet and, hopefully, run it away from there."


Each kicked four goals without being a dominating force. Neither was well treated by his teammates in a game where the wind and the heat of the contest made delivery haphazard at best. Skill and class got them through.


As is his wont, Carey was more explosive. Nine minutes into the first quarter he already had two goals on his opponent, the infinitely less talented but persistent Matthew Croft. By quarter-time he had three goals and the Bulldogs must surely have been thinking of a change, although Terry Wallace would not concede the point.


"If he (Carey) had kicked a couple more it might have been an issue," the coach said. "But we've got a lot of faith in Matthew Croft. He's done a lot of jobs for us this year. He was fairly manly in the way he kept going."


Like Hird, Grant tends to kill with a thousand cuts rather than with one explosive burst. He worked his way into the game yesterday rather than demanding a presence. Subdued for most of the game by Mick Martyn, he became important to the Bulldogs in the final quarter, when he found Paul Hudson for an early goal, then converted from 40 metres after a contested mark.


Grant was most pleased with the fact he had kicked a few goals, for a criticism of him has been that he does not tally enough. "I'm not renowned for kicking too many," he said. "So it's nice to get on the scoreboard."


In Grant's case it needs to be remembered that he was returning from two weeks' suspension and, hence, in need of the gallop. "Two weeks is a long time in footy nowadays," he mused later, iced up in the dressing room.


Perhaps surprisingly on a day when the game's two greatest centre half-forwards were on show, it was in midfield that the contest was won and lost, with North Melbourne beaten by weight of possession. The Bulldogs ran the Kangaroos ragged.


So the argument will go on. Grant was not about to buy into it, although he made the point that their games are different anyway. "I tend to play a lot higher, through the centre of the ground, where he tends to play between the 50 and the goal square."


Perhaps it is the best measure of Carey that his opponents tend to win lavish praise for merely curtailing him. Grant thought Croft had done "a fantastic job". Denis Pagan, the North coach, said he was happy with Martyn's job on Grant because Grant was "a champion, in the top bracket of players".
 
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Game #171 - Round 4, 1998 vs Geelong at Kardinia Park (18/4/1998)

BOG, kicking 3.3 from 15k, 11m, 3hb and collecting 3 Brownlow votes in 15-point win over the Cats.

Granty was well held by Leigh Colbert in the first half and while he was subdued the Cats were an even-money chance. But, come the second half, Grant became the central figure. When moved to full forward, Grant was superb when it mattered most, with three late goals.



Grant was also reported for striking Colbert shortly after the opening bounce of the third quarter with a round-armed swipe, and coach Terry Wallace sent the runner out with the message "not to be too concerned." The message was heeded, as Grant - shifted to full-forward and given space - took several marks on the lead. His two goals and five marks for the term swung the game. His goal in the last quarter fatally wounded the Cats.

The incident occurred when Grant turned around in pursuit of the ball and collided with Colbert, who was not injured in the incident.

Grant was given a two-week suspension by the tribunal. The Dogs were the first club to try out the tribunal's new appeal process, and failed after a four-hour hearing.

The Dogs called evidence from television director, John Lyons. In between his colorful entry and exit Lyons argued that the appeals board could not rely on video evidence because it distorted what actually took place. That was until board chairman Peter O'Callaghan asked Lyons if video showing an arm hitting a head was distortion or reality. Lyons said reality.

The Bulldogs also introduced an expert in body mechanics who emphasised that impact between Grant and Colbert was a case of Colbert's head hitting Grant's arm, suggested Patrick McLaughlin from Victoria University.

So, in the end, Granty copped his suspension in far less controversial circumstances than the year before.
 
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Game #170 - Round 3, 1998 vs Collingwood at Princes Park (11/4/1998)

12k, 4hb in 34-point win over the Pies.

In an unlikely role, Gavin Brown's agility and hardness at the ball defused Granty as an aerial threat, although the Bulldog champion still provided his team with a target throughout.
 

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Game #169 - Round 2, 1998 vs Carlton at Princes Park (5/4/1998)

One of our best, kicking 2.1 from 16k, 4hb, 14m and collecting 2 Brownlow votes in 56-point win over the Blues.

Granty provided the frame around which the rest of the Bulldogs' forward line was constructed. He was the catalyst for the Dogs' surge from midway in the first quarter, when they were in spot of bother, trailing by more than three goals. By quarter-time, he had dragged in five marks, Michael Sexton, one of the game's premier key defenders, had been replaced as his opponent by Anthony Koutoufides and the momentum in the game had completely shifted. The Bulldogs' delivery to Grant was not always perfect, but still he eclipsed his two opponents, first by forcing Sexton up the ground and then marking strongly in front of Koutoufides, who had performed well on him early.

And while that is sinking in, why not watch 10 of the best Chris Grant goals on youtube:

 

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Game #168 - Round 1, 1998 vs Brisbane at the Gabba (28/3/1998)

BOG, with 17k, 6hb in 46-point win over the Lions, collecting 3 Brownlow votes.

The Bulldogs came out with a point to prove in Round 1 after 1997's heartbreaking preliminary final loss. Yeah, that'll make up for it.
 

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Game #167 – Preliminary Final, 1997 vs Adelaide at MCG (20/9/1997)

One of our best, kicking 2.0 from 10k, 9hb in 2-point loss to the Crows.

THE GAME

For many of us, 1997 was a pivotal year in our history of supporting the Bulldogs. Having finished 1996 second-last, above only the doomed Fitzroy, there was seismic upheaval during the off-season at Whitten Oval. In came a new president, new playing venue, new name and new jumper—but most importantly, a new coach with an attacking, aggressive new gameplan that took the AFL by storm and skyrocketed the Doggies up the ladder.

And then it all went to **** in 30 minutes at the MCG.

At half-time, the Dogs were barking and 31 points ahead. The Grand Final was shaping up as a Cinderella finish to a remarkable AFL season, with the Saints having claimed the other spot in the decider.

But at half-time, just as I had handed my membership card over to my brother so we could book tickets to the Grand Final, Crows coach Malcolm Blight was shuffling his team around, sending Andrew McLeod into the middle and Darren Jarman forward.

With the game on the line in the final quarter, a massive turning-point came when Tony Liberatore’s shot at goal was ruled a point by the blind bastard of a goal umpire—even Crows captain Mark Bickley admitted it was a goal. You can read more about Libba’s non-goal here:

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2014/sep/16/the-joy-of-six-afl-preliminary-final-moments

Darren Jarman kicked a goal late to put the Crows in front, but there was one last chance when Chris Grant gathered the ball near the goalpost and GET OUT OF THE WAY HUDDOOOOOOOOO!!!

If you can bear it, highlights of the game are on YouTube:



GRANT’S GAME

One of the few constants during the game was Grant’s duel against Peter Caven. Caven rebounded soundly and spoiled effectively, but his chances of ever fully stopping the Bulldogs' key player were zero as Grant's athleticism and skills could not be suppressed. Granty was the Bulldogs prime mover to goal in the first half, although his influence waned in the second.




THE BULLDOGS IN 1997

In 1996, the club was again in a dire financial position after declaring a massive deficit on the back of a poor on-field season. Joyce had quit as coach, with Terry Wallace taking over. Champion player, and runner-up in the Brownlow, Chris Grant was undecided about his future.

President Peter Gordon made way for a ‘Taskforce’ of businessmen to take control in late 1996. David Smorgon became the face of the ‘Taskforce’ and club president. Chris Grant loyally staying with the Dogs was a key factor in the club’s survival. To gain support from the wider western region of Melbourne, Footscray were renamed the Western Bulldogs – and it was decided to move home games to Princes Park, the jumper was altered to include a stylised bulldog motif and the club song was changed.

For the once dour Scraggers, these changes were matched by an attacking new style of play, anchored by Chris Grant at centre half-forward.

The Terry Wallace-coached outfit finished third at the end of the home-and-away season (14W, 8L) on the back of some stunning, but 'unsociable' football. Tony Liberatore and Jose Romero led a hard-nosed midfield, while the class was provided by club greats Grant, Scott West and Brad Johnson.

The last ever game at Whitten Oval, against West Coast late in 1997, had a fiery start but, fittingly, ended with a Bulldog victory.

A nice overview of the club’s list in 1997 (complete with some unflattering photos; Simon Minton-Connell looks like his face has been assembled from an identi-kit), can be found here:

http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/afl-1997-twenty-years-on-western-bulldogs-3rd/

GRANT’S SEASON

Chris Grant stood out as the tragic figure of the 1997 season, yet heroic nonetheless. He kicked 37.22 from 23 games, finished second in the B&F and was named at CHF in the All-Australian team.

Granty would have won the Brownlow medal outright but for one of the season's most controversial suspensions. Grant copped a one-week rap for striking, after three umpires had viewed the replay and decided not to report him but AFL operations manager saw the vision through the glory hole and referred the case to the tribunal.

In 1996, Grant was also prominent in the Brownlow Medal, finishing one vote behind joint winners, Michael Voss and James Hird. That led to his being wooed during the off-season by AFL newcomers, Port Adelaide, who made an offer believed to be worth $1.5 million over three years. It is now Bulldog folklore that Grant's decision to stay with the Dogs was influenced, in part, by a letter from a young supporter who included 20 cents in the hope that it might persuade the champ to remain.

There are a couple of nice accounts of the 20-cent story linked below:

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/...s/news-story/cbf3560f317e0974f6886894cdf7e35f

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/spor...32bbaeba4?sv=dc942659d689538f124bd779f73b23af

Highlights of Granty's season, courtesy of the king sackofballs can be seen here:

 
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Well written.

The photo you post of Grant flying for that mark in the PF wasn't actually paid.

As an 11-year-old running and crying out of the ground, I could hear Bulldogs supporters crying blue murder that Libba's goal was given a behind. On the other hand, I was crying blue murder that the umpire didn't pay the above mark to Grant, who would have been kicking from about 25m out directly in front. At the time, I was adamant it was a mark. Having since watched the replay, I believe the umpire probably made the right call.
 
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