Is this the best Bulldogs team you've ever seen?

Is it?


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GetDimmaBack

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As an old dude, I can assure you we had a great list in the early to mid 70s, too.

I recall Jack Dyer interviewing Neil Craig, who had signed with us (circa 1972). Jack congratulated Craig on his choice of club, saying that "...this side is capable of winning premierships".

Sadly, poor - amateurish - management led to player unrest, supporter indifference and financial problems.

This period should have been a hugely successful time in the club's history, but instead it led ultimately to the debacle that was 1989...
 
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bullish23

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Not sure the best but probably the tallest, which is very unfamiliar territory and will take some time getting use to.
 

dogwatch

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The 2 dogs versions that rival this group are the plough late 90s group (grant, west, Johnson, smith, Darcy, Romero, Libba, wynd, cameron) and the rocket late 2000s group (Cooney, griffen, Johnson, cross, Boyd, Murphy, lake, Gilbee, aker, hall, ward).


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We also had some amazing talent pass through the club in the 1975-1985 period but too often they left early for various reasons including the poor finances of the club. If we could have held the group together we might have had a flag winning side.

The team below includes some players at the tail end of the career over that decade and some at the start, so they might not have all been in the same side or in their prime all at once. An impressive list nonetheless.

Templeton, Quinlan, Dempsey, Jennings, Huppatz, Dunstan, Whitten Jr, Stoneham, Sandilands, Beasley, Bamblett, Foster, Hawkins, Kennedy, McLean, Royal, Baker, Purser, Wallis, Edmond. And I'm sure there are many others I've left out. I've had to play some of them slightly out of position and the balance isn't perfect but that's still some line-up (handy forward line!)

Whitten Jr Kennedy Sandilands
Wallis Foster Baker
McLean Dunstan Hawkins
Quinlan Templeton Edmond
Bamblett Beasley Royal

Rucks: Dempsey, Huppatz, Jennings

19-20: Purser Stoneham

Had to be still playing in 1975 or to have debuted by 1983 to make the list. I think they're all qualified.
 

Wetdog

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85 team was amazing with Beasley, Dougie etc. I’m old so I can’t remember them all
‘OMG’ :$
It was an amazing year - every week Beasley and the team would beat some scoring record :rainbow:
An amazing year. You'd have thought that adding Tony McGuinness and Murray Rance to that list in 1986, we would have been set for a sustained tilt at the flag. Instead, it all went a bit pear shaped :(

I was having a look at the 1985 final series and it’s interesting to note that we lost to Hawthorn by 93 points in the QF but only 10 points in the PF.

What a turn around!

I was speaking to a die hard bulldogs supporter who claims we should have beaten Hawthorn in the PF but Leigh Matthews kicked a couple of late goals while on Brad Hardie and that was the difference.

He also said that we would have won the GF as we had beaten Essendon twice during the year.

I was too young then, but is this your recollection?
 

dogwatch

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I was having a look at the 1985 final series and it’s interesting to note that we lost to Hawthorn by 93 points in the QF but only 10 points in the PF.

What a turn around!

I was speaking to a die hard bulldogs supporter who claims we should have beaten Hawthorn in the PF but Leigh Matthews kicked a couple of late goals while on Brad Hardie and that was the difference.

He also said that we would have won the GF as we had beaten Essendon twice during the year.

I was too young then, but is this your recollection?
I missed the PF that year but I've heard that said many times. My sense of it was that we were just a smidge off being the best side that year ... but then I saw very few games as I had already moved from Melbourne.

It's probably similar to the GWS v WB PF in 2016. Whoever wins that wins the flag.
 

Bont2Bruce

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I was having a look at the 1985 final series and it’s interesting to note that we lost to Hawthorn by 93 points in the QF but only 10 points in the PF.

What a turn around!

I was speaking to a die hard bulldogs supporter who claims we should have beaten Hawthorn in the PF but Leigh Matthews kicked a couple of late goals while on Brad Hardie and that was the difference.

He also said that we would have won the GF as we had beaten Essendon twice during the year.

I was too young then, but is this your recollection?
We went into that finals series with I think just two players who had even played in a final previously, Maylin and Buhagiar. The QF was a massacre because we were like deer in headlights and didn't handle the occasion. The much improved performance in the PF was an "almost" kind of game which we were always thereabouts but didn't in my recollection (I've watched the replay several times) ever seem to have the ascendancy in.

Yes we definitely had Essendon's measure that year.
 

scooter600x

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I’m going with 1975, before Neil Sachse’s accident and Peter Welsh’s knee.

Wheeler, Sandilands, Salmon
Dell, Sachse, Power
Stoneham, Featherby, Jennings
Whitten, Quinlan, Morrison
Gallagher, Templeton, Welsh
Dempsey, Abbey, Huppatz
Round, Dunstan, Low, Russmussan

Edit: Have to fit Greg Parke in their somewhere, too
 

The Buck

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From The Age, April 27, 2015:


"Ask Malthouse to name the single favourite year of his coaching career and the answer isn't the premierships of 1992, 1994 or 2010, nor 1991 when his West Coast side dropped just three home and away games en route to a first grand final appearance. In fact, it's not even a year when his side reached the finals.

"It wasn't my favourite year at the time under any circumstances. But my dead-set favourite year now is 1987," he says.
"By that stage, the financial problems had really hit Footscray. Brad Hardie had gone, [former captain] Jim Edmond had gone, Andrew Purser was going, Simon Beasley was talking about retiring. I was pleading for these blokes to stay, but the club couldn't afford them. We were broke.
"So we were introducing kids from the under-19s into the seniors. We got beaten by 42 goals in the first three games, and we were playing the reigning premiers [Hawthorn] in round four. I remember saying to Tony McGuinness: 'Have you ever tagged?' and he didn't know what I meant. I said: 'You've got John Platten this week'.
"You think, how tough is this going to be, and then we went out and bowled them over. We ended up missing out on the finals by half-a-game. It was an extraordinary effort by a club under massive pressure, but more importantly, an extraordinary effort by the playing group."
 

stevieg1969

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I was having a look at the 1985 final series and it’s interesting to note that we lost to Hawthorn by 93 points in the QF but only 10 points in the PF.

What a turn around!

I was speaking to a die hard bulldogs supporter who claims we should have beaten Hawthorn in the PF but Leigh Matthews kicked a couple of late goals while on Brad Hardie and that was the difference.

He also said that we would have won the GF as we had beaten Essendon twice during the year.

I was too young then, but is this your recollection?
We were 1-1 with Essendon in 1985. We may have had their measure but they were rested and thumped the Hawks in the GF. The most likely scenario would have been that we may have been overawed by the occasion if we got through to the GF. It was a great year though. Being in my mid-teens it was the first year I went to the footy confident of winning most matches. The early wins v Carlton, North and Geelong set up our year. There was disappointment after the PF but a confidence that we would improve in 1986 - which didn’t occur unfortunately.
 

Wetdog

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We were 1-1 with Essendon in 1985. We may have had their measure but they were rested and thumped the Hawks in the GF. The most likely scenario would have been that we may have been overawed by the occasion if we got through to the GF. It was a great year though. Being in my mid-teens it was the first year I went to the footy confident of winning most matches. The early wins v Carlton, North and Geelong set up our year. There was disappointment after the PF but a confidence that we would improve in 1986 - which didn’t occur unfortunately.

I just looked up the fixture and saw we lost to the Saints (who only won 3 games and the wooden spoon) in the last round. Some things never change do they!?!? 😂
 

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CarnTheScray

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I missed the PF that year but I've heard that said many times. My sense of it was that we were just a smidge off being the best side that year ... but then I saw very few games as I had already moved from Melbourne.

It's probably similar to the GWS v WB PF in 2016. Whoever wins that wins the flag.
Essendon were relieved we didn’t make it to the GF that year.
 

GetDimmaBack

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I’m going with 1975, before Neil Sachse’s accident and Peter Welsh’s knee.

Wheeler, Sandilands, Salmon
Dell, Sachse, Power
Stoneham, Featherby, Jennings
Whitten, Quinlan, Morrison
Gallagher, Templeton, Welsh
Dempsey, Abbey, Huppatz
Round, Dunstan, Low, Russmussan

Edit: Have to fit Greg Parke in their somewhere, too

Now that's a good side.

The only changes I'd make are Parke in for Welsh, and maybe throw Dennis Collins on to the wing for a very young Geoff Jennings.

Parke was a great mark and pretty quick. I remember Peter Welsh not being able to run down Peter Hudson...:rolleyes:
 

bobs head soup

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We also had some amazing talent pass through the club in the 1975-1985 period but too often they left early for various reasons including the poor finances of the club. If we could have held the group together we might have had a flag winning side.

The team below includes some players at the tail end of the career over that decade and some at the start, so they might not have all been in the same side or in their prime all at once. An impressive list nonetheless.

Templeton, Quinlan, Dempsey, Jennings, Huppatz, Dunstan, Whitten Jr, Stoneham, Sandilands, Beasley, Bamblett, Foster, Hawkins, Kennedy, McLean, Royal, Baker, Purser, Wallis, Edmond. And I'm sure there are many others I've left out. I've had to play some of them slightly out of position and the balance isn't perfect but that's still some line-up (handy forward line!)

Whitten Jr Kennedy Sandilands
Wallis Foster Baker
McLean Dunstan Hawkins
Quinlan Templeton Edmond
Bamblett Beasley Royal

Rucks: Dempsey, Huppatz, Jennings

19-20: Purser Stoneham

Had to be still playing in 1975 or to have debuted by 1983 to make the list. I think they're all qualified.
Great team and some great players left out, including 2 Brownlow Medallists in Barry Round and Brian Wilson.

I'd probably struggle to fit in Wilson, but Round was a 328 game versatile Champion. Has to go in. I'd probably have Neil Cordy on a back flank ahead of Baker. Was a top winger for us but would've been a killer half back.
 

Golden_6

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I think it's the best list I've seen in my lifetime (born in 1995). I think it's clearly better than 2016, and 2010 gives it a run for it's money but this team has a lot more weapons.

That's not to say it's the best 'team' as the jury is still out, this is just list wise.
 
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footscray1973

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85 side had 3 of the 4 KPP positions sorted - Beasley FF, Foster CHB, Kennedy FB. We didn't have a genuine CHF - Sewell played there at times, but was a tad too light and a cm or two short to be a genuine CHF, and Groena was used there as a defensive CHF at times, although having come through Braybrook with Hawk, his skills were better than many people give him credit for. Unfortunately he also wasn't a genuine attacking CHF. Malthouse even resorted to playing Neil Peart there during the 85 finals, who was a journeyman at best, and far short of what we needed. We had a solid defense, with Kennedy, Hardie, Foster and B.Cordy playing there almost the entire year, and then would swing others through there as required - M.Ford, N.Cordy, Kellet, Tzatzaris - even bringing in Emmett Dunne specifically to match up on Salmon v Bombers. And of course one of the premier ruckman at the top of his game in Polly Purser. Hard to believe he rucked almost the entire season, as he did for several season with us, with little to no rest. He missed one game through suspension, when Alister Ford played one of his few genuinely capable games for us as fill-in.

We also had the flexibility to swing Sewell to defense at times, and even Magic McLean and Steve MacPherson. Our centreline was hugely influential that year - predominantly Hawkins, Wallis and Daniels, but also often McLean or R. MacPherson (as almost a tagger against oppo attacking wingers) on the wings. Royal and Buhagiar were a dynamic roving combination, and also both goal-kickers. Maylin, once inserted into the team after being recruited a few rounds in, was also a great pickup. The forward line was, genuine CHF apart, on fire in 85. Beasley, Bamblett, Edmond, S.Mac, Royal and Buhagiar when resting. Malthouse had (although to a lesser degree) a touch of the 'flexibility' mantra like Bevo - Sewell swung regularly to both ends (although had been almost solely a forward at East Fremantle), Hardie swung forward later in the season, S.Mac, and McLean good enough to play multiple positions, and then quality pinch-hitters like N.Cordy, who predominantly played as a defender when used in 85, but had started as a forward. (Foster was not really pushed forward until subsequent years - if we'd had two Fosters in 85 - he was the Naughton of his era - we would have romped the 85 flag in IMO.) Ian Williams struggling to recapture his 83-84 form didn't help - was a dead-eye goal-kicker and for a skinny bloke, harder in the contest than he looked.

While it probably wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game, in hindsight Malthouse starting the only two players on the list with finals experience - Buhagiar and Maylin - on the bench in the Qual Final, meant we got smashed early in the centre by the Hawks, even though Purser dominated ruck contest against Langford as their #1 ruck, and Byrne as support. By the time Maylin and Buhagiar came on, we were 4-5 goals down, our confidence was shot, especially the younger players, and a hardened finals opponent ran all over us. It's a miracle - and a credit to coach and players, that we turned it around to run over North and lead late into the Prelim, but we spent all our petrol tickets 3 1/2 quarters in, and Matthews was fired up after getting shown up by Hardie early. It didn't help that we lost Kellett and M.Ford to injury during the semi v North either.

As has been noted on here many times before, we had the Bombers measure that year, and even Sheedy has alluded to that at the time and since (amazing considering he rarely if ever acknowledges our club in a positive light). We just couldn't get over those Hawks, even though we'd beaten them in a wet slog in round 20 at WO to ensure we finished top 3 and got the double chance. A flag, or even a grand final appearance in 85, could have been the trigger for that team to achieve greater things. We were a strong side, with experienced campaigners mixed with exuberant youth, talent on every line.

Instead, we lost the prelim, a ridiculous misunderstanding forced the captain to depart, Buhagiar retired, Daniels fell off a cliff for various reasons in 86 and left before the end of the year, Hardie fell out with the coach and was gone by the end of 86 as well, Hawkins did his knee in round 17 in 86 when 5th placed us were playing 4th placed Pies, and we led most of the game but lost by under 2 goals, and dropped to 6th, briefly slipped back into 5th in round 20 but ultimately missed the finals, getting hammered in 3 of the last 5 games.

McGuinness and Rance had proved more than capable recruits, Rance almost a Foster clone who could play both ends and take a good mark, McGuinness a gun on-baller who could kick goals (and kick both feet) and run all day. But even they couldn't stifle the downward spiral of the later 80s.

Lots of sliding doors moments in late 85 and through to 86 combined to turn a really good side into an also ran, who again briefly looked like a genuine threat late into 87, then fell away for a number of seasons. A recurring cycle in our history.
 

who_let_the_dogs_out

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I think it's the best list I've seen in my lifetime (born in 2010). I think it's clearly better than 2016, and 2010 gives it a run for it's money but this team has a lot more weapons.

That's not to say it's the best 'team' as the jury is still out, this is just list wise.
Wow, you're 10/11 and you've seen a flag and a contender again a few years later. Enjoy!
 

footscray1973

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stevieg1969 and Wetdog - just to address your 2 posts - yes, Bombers may have had our measure in a potential 85 grand final, but we actually matched up well against them, they played 'unsocial' footy, lots of sniping, but we could counter that with hard-nuts like Kennedy, Foster, S.Mac, Maylin, Buhagiar - even Purser and Beasley despite appearances could mix it physically with the Bombers. We also, I believe, had better skill across the park, Sheedy probably had an edge at that stage over Malthouse in the coaching dept.

The R22 Saints at Moorabbin debacle - think we got cocky having secured top-3. Beasley and Royal missed gettable goals in the first half, and at half time we should have had a solid lead against the wooden spooners, instead were 5.11 to 5.3 and ultimately kicked 8.18 to 11.12 to lose by 3 goals. Saints were last, and threw everything at us at home wanting to finish the season on a high. I went to the game, and got the impression we were trying to play within ourselves, to avoid injuries maybe? When they got a sniff in the second half, we almost seemed not to care, and put the cue in the rack. My memory is Hardie, playing forward, was the only one who played out the entire game. I suspect that didn't help our preparation for the Qual Final the next week, the club's first final in 9 years, by treating round 22 as almost a bye. Maybe the tough match to win for the first time in years at Vic Park in round 21 was on the mind of the coaching staff and players too. I just don't think the mindset was ruthless enough. (another recurring theme in our history!)
 

footscray1973

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:oops: I think I'm in denial of my age here, edited to 1995. Had the year 2010 stuck in my head!


Was thinking that was a good effort signing up to BF at the age of 4! Although given the carry-on by many posters in here at times (including myself in thatbtw), a 4yo would feel right at home! :laughing:
 

scooter600x

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Now that's a good side.

The only changes I'd make are Parke in for Welsh, and maybe throw Dennis Collins on to the wing for a very young Geoff Jennings.

Parke was a great mark and pretty quick. I remember Peter Welsh not being able to run down Peter Hudson...:rolleyes:
I can’t believe I forgot Collins! Definitely in there somewhere