What They're Saying - The Bulldogs Media Thread - Part 4

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Anja_Nees

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Despite some encouraging recent signs I think the jury is still well and truly out on Schache. He has never shown the ability to take strong contested marks against good opponents and his part time ruck work is not very good.
Having said that, he seems to be playing the role of a tall, mobile half forward flanker at present and if he can keep building on that there may be a position in the team for him going forward. He will need to maintain this improvement or he may find himself relegated to the VFL again when Bruce returns.
Given we have Naughton, Bruce, JUH, Darcy and English all potentially gunning for spots he would play, if I were Schache I’d probably just be putting on a display for other sides. He could do a Lewis Young elsewhere and long term I think he will get squeezed with us.

Probably benefits the club to keep him on one year deals but I don’t think he’ll be a reliable best 22 player with us.
 

Golden_6

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I’d debut him as a defender considering our other options, or if Schache shits the bed again
If he does make a debut, it probably should be for O’Brien. Danniher & Hipwood could be potential matchups.
 

Royale

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Bevo presser:
  • English one more week out
  • Rhylee West really applying himself to all aspects. Didn't have the natural ability to cover the ground like his dad but he's improved a lot now.
  • Darcy Doing well, no timeline on debut yet
  • How to stop Brissy scoring:- Pressure on footy as a start, Brissy have good mix of scoring options, will take a full team defensive effort.
  • Cody Weightman. no issues with injury just had a really tight defender vs Hawks (Hardwick) which then helped Rhylee West and other forward shine. Played a good defensive role.
 

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Norm De Guerre

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C'mon, Stevo.

Darcy is tracking exactly where we would hope a number 2 draft pick would.

However, to say that he is making a surge for senior selection is a bit much.*

Where would would we play an 18 yearly old stickman exactly who has played what 4-5 games at VFL level. In the ruck. Up forward. In defence. On the wing?

Lets look at each of those positions and try and make a case for each.

Ruck. Oh, jeez. Do I really have to go down the ruck discussion rabbit hole again? O'Righty then. We currently have one of the top rated rucks in the competition expected to resume his role in the side either this week or the next. We have a backup ruckman who has many admirers here who the coaching panel are seemingly reluctant to run in tandem with the first choice. Let alone a debutante. Has Sam Darcy already moved ahead of Sweet in terms of ruck craft after a single game in the ruck against mediocre opposition on the weekend? If he'd destroyed a journeyman like Tom Campbell over the weekend a case could be made, but he didnt. So, I would suggest he's not coming in to play in the ruck.

Forward. Over the past couple of weeks we have finally settled on playing Naughton, JUH and Schache as three forwards and its to this point worked a treat. Once again Darcy from the small sample size seems to have a pretty good understanding of the role, but hasn't shown that he vaulted ahead of the guys currently in the team. Thats without even considering the return of Josh The Bruce. Yeah. Nah.

Defence. There is certainly a position in this side for a tall marking defender, but when he played that role in the VFL a couple of weeks ago he looked a bit at sea. He may adapt to that role in time, but that time is not now. It would be folly to throw him to the wolves at this point.

Wing. Sure, why not if for no other reason just coz its a Bigfooty meme.

Barring a calamitous injury toll on our talls or Bevo doing Bevo type things*. I cant see a role for him this season, nor can I see a reason to play a kid who had an injury interrupted start to what was always going to be a development year this season. Just let the kid continue to find his feet by playing various positions at the lower level without the expectation of a looming senior debut. Something that to my eye seems fanciful at this stage.


Missives like Stevo's conveniently cryptic one are not helpful in this regard.

**We might as well just pack in the season if this happens and we are expecting an skinny 18 year old to rescue our season.

C'mon, Stevo!!!!
 

Anja_Nees

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C'mon, Stevo.

Darcy is tracking exactly where we would hope a number 2 draft pick would.

However, to say that he is making a surge for senior selection is a bit much.*

Where would would we play an 18 yearly old stickman exactly who has played what 4-5 games at VFL level. In the ruck. Up forward. In defence. On the wing?

Lets look at each of those positions and try and make a case for each.

Ruck. Oh, jeez. Do I really have to go down the ruck discussion rabbit hole again? O'Righty then. We currently have one of the top rated rucks in the competition expected to resume his role in the side either this week or the next. We have a backup ruckman who has many admirers here who the coaching panel are seemingly reluctant to run in tandem with the first choice. Let alone a debutante. Has Sam Darcy already moved ahead of Sweet in terms of ruck craft after a single game in the ruck against mediocre opposition on the weekend? If he'd destroyed a journeyman like Tom Campbell over the weekend a case could be made, but he didnt. So, I would suggest he's not coming in to play in the ruck.

Forward. Over the past couple of weeks we have finally settled on playing Naughton, JUH and Schache as three forwards and its to this point worked a treat. Once again Darcy from the small sample size seems to have a pretty good understanding of the role, but hasn't shown that he vaulted ahead of the guys currently in the team. Thats without even considering the return of Josh The Bruce. Yeah. Nah.

Defence. There is certainly a position in this side for a tall marking defender, but when he played that role in the VFL a couple of weeks ago he looked a bit at sea. He may adapt to that role in time, but that time is not now. It would be folly to throw him to the wolves at this point.

Wing. Sure, why not if for no other reason just coz its a Bigfooty meme.

Barring a calamitous injury toll on our talls or Bevo doing Bevo type things*. I cant see a role for him this season, nor can I see a reason to play a kid who had an injury interrupted start to what was always going to be a development year this season. Just let the kid continue to find his feet by playing various positions at the lower level without the expectation of a looming senior debut. Something that to my eye seems fanciful at this stage.


Missives like Stevo's conveniently cryptic one are not helpful in this regard.

**We might as well just pack in the season if this happens and we are expecting an skinny 18 year old to rescue our season.

C'mon, Stevo!!!!
Stevo might have the inside word, but I hate this hype.

Would have been much better for us (even leaving points aside) if we could have just taken JUH and Darcy mid first round, or even say 5 or 6. Expectations would be much lower.
 

doggies ftw

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C'mon, Stevo.

Darcy is tracking exactly where we would hope a number 2 draft pick would.

However, to say that he is making a surge for senior selection is a bit much.*

Where would would we play an 18 yearly old stickman exactly who has played what 4-5 games at VFL level. In the ruck. Up forward. In defence. On the wing?

Lets look at each of those positions and try and make a case for each.

Ruck. Oh, jeez. Do I really have to go down the ruck discussion rabbit hole again? O'Righty then. We currently have one of the top rated rucks in the competition expected to resume his role in the side either this week or the next. We have a backup ruckman who has many admirers here who the coaching panel are seemingly reluctant to run in tandem with the first choice. Let alone a debutante. Has Sam Darcy already moved ahead of Sweet in terms of ruck craft after a single game in the ruck against mediocre opposition on the weekend? If he'd destroyed a journeyman like Tom Campbell over the weekend a case could be made, but he didnt. So, I would suggest he's not coming in to play in the ruck.

Forward. Over the past couple of weeks we have finally settled on playing Naughton, JUH and Schache as three forwards and its to this point worked a treat. Once again Darcy from the small sample size seems to have a pretty good understanding of the role, but hasn't shown that he vaulted ahead of the guys currently in the team. Thats without even considering the return of Josh The Bruce. Yeah. Nah.

Defence. There is certainly a position in this side for a tall marking defender, but when he played that role in the VFL a couple of weeks ago he looked a bit at sea. He may adapt to that role in time, but that time is not now. It would be folly to throw him to the wolves at this point.

Wing. Sure, why not if for no other reason just coz its a Bigfooty meme.

Barring a calamitous injury toll on our talls or Bevo doing Bevo type things*. I cant see a role for him this season, nor can I see a reason to play a kid who had an injury interrupted start to what was always going to be a development year this season. Just let the kid continue to find his feet by playing various positions at the lower level without the expectation of a looming senior debut. Something that to my eye seems fanciful at this stage.


Missives like Stevo's conveniently cryptic one are not helpful in this regard.

**We might as well just pack in the season if this happens and we are expecting an skinny 18 year old to rescue our season.

C'mon, Stevo!!!!
I wouldn’t say “all at sea” he played a couple of really strong games in defence - probably as good or better than O’Brien did when he got the call up. Whilst improving every week.

I’m in no rush to get him into the side by any means but if we think he’s capable of playing a 3rd tall defensive role and adding something aerially to the defence then hey why not? The only player that’s keeping him out is a genuinely terrible footballer.

He doesn’t have to resurrect our season he just has to play a pretty easy role at AFL level to a similar standard as O’Brien - which at this stage is very very low.
 

goodcop badcop

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I wouldn’t say “all at sea” he played a couple of really strong games in defence - probably as good or better than O’Brien did when he got the call up. Whilst improving every week.

I’m in no rush to get him into the side by any means but if we think he’s capable of playing a 3rd tall defensive role and adding something aerially to the defence then hey why not? The only player that’s keeping him out is a genuinely terrible footballer.

He doesn’t have to resurrect our season he just has to play a pretty easy role at AFL level to a similar standard as O’Brien - which at this stage is very very low.

Don't agree. He was beaten on the lead too often and there's quite often large periods in games where you don't see him. My guess is he needs a decent spell on the bench as his fitness levels would understandably be bad after not playing much footy over the past year.
 

gordo2016

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C'mon, Stevo.

Darcy is tracking exactly where we would hope a number 2 draft pick would.

However, to say that he is making a surge for senior selection is a bit much.*

Where would would we play an 18 yearly old stickman exactly who has played what 4-5 games at VFL level. In the ruck. Up forward. In defence. On the wing?

Lets look at each of those positions and try and make a case for each.

Ruck. Oh, jeez. Do I really have to go down the ruck discussion rabbit hole again? O'Righty then. We currently have one of the top rated rucks in the competition expected to resume his role in the side either this week or the next. We have a backup ruckman who has many admirers here who the coaching panel are seemingly reluctant to run in tandem with the first choice. Let alone a debutante. Has Sam Darcy already moved ahead of Sweet in terms of ruck craft after a single game in the ruck against mediocre opposition on the weekend? If he'd destroyed a journeyman like Tom Campbell over the weekend a case could be made, but he didnt. So, I would suggest he's not coming in to play in the ruck.

Forward. Over the past couple of weeks we have finally settled on playing Naughton, JUH and Schache as three forwards and its to this point worked a treat. Once again Darcy from the small sample size seems to have a pretty good understanding of the role, but hasn't shown that he vaulted ahead of the guys currently in the team. Thats without even considering the return of Josh The Bruce. Yeah. Nah.

Defence. There is certainly a position in this side for a tall marking defender, but when he played that role in the VFL a couple of weeks ago he looked a bit at sea. He may adapt to that role in time, but that time is not now. It would be folly to throw him to the wolves at this point.

Wing. Sure, why not if for no other reason just coz its a Bigfooty meme.

Barring a calamitous injury toll on our talls or Bevo doing Bevo type things*. I cant see a role for him this season, nor can I see a reason to play a kid who had an injury interrupted start to what was always going to be a development year this season. Just let the kid continue to find his feet by playing various positions at the lower level without the expectation of a looming senior debut. Something that to my eye seems fanciful at this stage.


Missives like Stevo's conveniently cryptic one are not helpful in this regard.

**We might as well just pack in the season if this happens and we are expecting an skinny 18 year old to rescue our season.

C'mon, Stevo!!!!
You are sounding too logical mate. Let us dream on and fantasise a little. Skinny key position teenager makes his debut when people think he isn't ready. I just think of one thing and how well that turned out.

chris-grant-of-footscray-looks-on-during-a-afl-match-played-at-the-picture-id52202748
 

doggies ftw

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Don't agree. He was beaten on the lead too often and there's quite often large periods in games where you don't see him. My guess is he needs a decent spell on the bench as his fitness levels would understandably be bad after not playing much footy over the past year.
He gets beaten on the lead a bit but who doesn’t? In his last two games in defence he also had 5 marks, 2 contested & 3 intercepts and then 13 marks, 1 contested (very very stiff should be 2-3 in reality) and 5 intercepts so he’s going quite well in the role he’s playing - which again the only person keeping him out is O’Brien. He’s also a much much better ball user than O’Brien who must be good for 1-2 goals a week from direct turnovers.

I would also suspect his tank isn’t up to it at this stage considering the football he’s missed but I don’t have any TOG numbers or anything to go off, sounded like he played ruck for large parts of the game last week so maybe it’s not that bad?

Anyway like I said I’m not rushing to get him in by any stretch, I don’t mind if he doesn’t play at all this year. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he gets a game, and that doesn’t mean he has to go toe to toe with Tom Hawkins or hold down first ruck all day, but just play that third tall floating role and already his contested marking looks like enough of an asset that it could add something to our backline alongside his ability to read the play and put himself in the right positions - and with such good foot use for a big guy - these are all things our backline is severely struggling with. He’s not going to help us one on one unfortunately but no one is currently, at least he might not get caught out of position as badly as O’Brien does, and may be able to actually kill a contest rather than flailing about and dropping the ball down in front 9 times out of 10.

It’d be a bold move but I wouldn’t mind seeing it
 

goodcop badcop

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He gets beaten on the lead a bit but who doesn’t? In his last two games in defence he also had 5 marks, 2 contested & 3 intercepts and then 13 marks, 1 contested (very very stiff should be 2-3 in reality) and 5 intercepts so he’s going quite well in the role he’s playing - which again the only person keeping him out is O’Brien. He’s also a much much better ball user than O’Brien who must be good for 1-2 goals a week from direct turnovers.

I would also suspect his tank isn’t up to it at this stage considering the football he’s missed but I don’t have any TOG numbers or anything to go off, sounded like he played ruck for large parts of the game last week so maybe it’s not that bad?

Anyway like I said I’m not rushing to get him in by any stretch, I don’t mind if he doesn’t play at all this year. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he gets a game, and that doesn’t mean he has to go toe to toe with Tom Hawkins or hold down first ruck all day, but just play that third tall floating role and already his contested marking looks like enough of an asset that it could add something to our backline alongside his ability to read the play and put himself in the right positions - and with such good foot use for a big guy - these are all things our backline is severely struggling with. He’s not going to help us one on one unfortunately but no one is currently, at least he might not get caught out of position as badly as O’Brien does, and may be able to actually kill a contest rather than flailing about and dropping the ball down in front 9 times out of 10.

It’d be a bold move but I wouldn’t mind seeing it

He often gets beaten on the lead by slow opponents though, I don't think his defending is good enough even in a crappy defence like ours.

As for his fitness, he went missing for large portions of the last game too. Will Lewis rucked a lot too, he had 8 clearances and 14 hitouts which is the most he's had in a game. Bedendo rucked for a decent amount of time in the last qtr from memory also. His fitness is probably a long way off AFL standard the more that I think about it to be honest.

Look I'm a big fan, but I only want to see him in the AFL this year if we can't make finals.

EDIT: Just saw Bevo's press conference today. Said Darcy was on limited minutes because they didn't want him to reinjure his foot.
 
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dogwatch

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Darcy was impressive in the time he spent rucking on Saturday, but rucking against a VFL opponent is very different to rucking against a seasoned senior player. He did well because of his 207cm height and his footy nous, which offset his lack of strength (being a teenager). He did enough to show me he has a bright future as a ruckman but I wouldn't pick him to ruck 20% or more of a senior game.

If we were light on for tall forwards I'd suggest a forward role but we've already got more senior-ready options in JUH, Schache and Bruce in addition to Naughton so it's not an area of immediate need.

If Bevo were to pick him this season I reckon it'd need to be as a loose interceptor in defence because he reads the play pretty well, and as an incidental relief ruckman for stoppages/throw-ins in the part of the ground he's playing, but no more than a few per game. Forget about the one-on-one stuff for this season. He'd be easily brushed aside by a senior KPP.

There's no rush. I think his time is 2023, not this year. But let's see him play a few more VFL games and see how he progresses. He might yet surprise and come on faster than we are expecting.
 

doggies ftw

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Darcy was impressive in the time he spent rucking on Saturday, but rucking against a VFL opponent is very different to rucking against a seasoned senior player. He did well because of his 207cm height and his footy nous, which offset his lack of strength (being a teenager). He did enough to show me he has a bright future as a ruckman but I wouldn't pick him to ruck 20% or more of a senior game.

If we were light on for tall forwards I'd suggest a forward role but we've already got more senior-ready options in JUH, Schache and Bruce in addition to Naughton so it's not an area of immediate need.

If Bevo were to pick him this season I reckon it'd need to be as a loose interceptor in defence because he reads the play pretty well, and as an incidental relief ruckman for stoppages/throw-ins in the part of the ground he's playing, but no more than a few per game. Forget about the one-on-one stuff for this season. He'd be easily brushed aside by a senior KPP.

There's no rush. I think his time is 2023, not this year. But let's see him play a few more VFL games and see how he progresses. He might yet surprise and come on faster than we are expecting.
I actually like the sound of that going forward -

Darcy taking defensive 50 contests, Timmy can rest out side of the 50 as the bail out kick.

Naughty taking forward 50 ruck contests, Timmy resting outside the 50 building the defensive ‘wall’

This leaves Timmy reasonably fresh and gives him the best chance to be at his best for a full game one out in the ruck, whilst also leaving us a with good ruck options at either end of the ground and never needing to concede to a Hannan, Dunks type.

But like you said I also don’t really want Darcy rucking in the AFL this year. Next year though who knows, seems like he’s coming on quicker than anyone could have expected with improvement each week which is all we can ask. A full preseason and he may just be able to offer something to the seniors next year - not holding my breath on that but you never know.
 

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NBates

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Bulldog Tragician Blog 2022

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Carrying the fire


It's quarter time in our match against the Hawks and my feelings are ricocheting around from melancholy to exasperation. The Bulldogs are sitting outside the eight, with a very tough run home. Yet in this, the so-called most winnable match in the series, we had dished up one of those lamentably bad first quarters. The not-switched on, haphazard, bumbling and fumbling quarters, that we've seen rather frequently in our inconsistent 2022 season.

Quite apart from the looming fatal blow to our finals chances if we lose, it irks me further that the Hawks look good. Young guns, a team on the rise, playing an attractive brand of footy. Weren't we supposed to have swept past them imperiously in the premiership pecking order after 2016? surely our era was just beginning, while after their fabled three-peat, they were due to fade meekly away, and endure a much more lengthy stint as one of those inconsequential non-entities at the bottom of the ladder?

I shift my irritation elsewhere from the frustrating efforts of the men in red white and blue. It's easy enough to find a new target for my wrath. A Hawthorn supporter and his children are somehow sitting right in our midst. In our area, the place where we pay good money to ensure we're shielded from any unwelcome opposition contact. (Banter with the opposition has always seemed to me an overrated aspect of the spectating experience).

I much prefer to be wedged in with my fellow supporters, my people, those with whom, over the past 20 years, this little pocket, originally so alien to our Whitten Oval home, has gradually become 'ours'. Heaving with indignation when there's an umpiring decision against Our Boys. A place of black humour: one Bulldogs fan used to hold up an ironic sign: "Peter Rhode: our mastermind!" sign; departing after the final siren of another abject loss led by that coach, I saw it torn to pieces and trampled in the aisle. Together, we watched still, silent, bereft, when Bob did his knee, when Mitch Wallis broke his leg so horrifically. We've seen babies who came along in mothers' arms turn into gangly teens; together we have often created a raucus Bulldogs chant. It's where people are familiar and 'family', even when we've never learnt their names

It's a violation that people dressed in brown and gold should be allowed to penetrate our little fortress. I had taken an instant and irrational dislike to them as, politely, the dad showed his ticket to confirm that this wasn't some sort of mistake, and he and his offspring, all attired in puffer jackets and Hawthorn scarves, plonked themselves down within our ranks.

I was even more peeved when I observed that these infiltrators were watching the game in passive silence. Strangely it was more annoying that he (I'd decided he was either a boring accountant or a taxation lawyer) showed no emotion while his team put us to the sword. Of course (there's no pleasing the Tragician) I'd have been fuming if he'd been jumping up and down celebrating. Yet somehow his lack of passion, his stony, stolid presence, observing rather than participating in the match, irritated me even more.(I was just waiting for him to unwrap some sensible, home-prepared, wholegrain sandwiches from a Tupperware container).

It annoyed me because I feared that this lack of emotion was both a result of - and the secret to - their continued monotonous success over the past few decades Hawks fans don't need to blame success or failure on lucky scarves, Q-Anon style conspiracy theories, or some sort of giant universal alignment of factors designed to make their supporting lives as miserable as possible. There is, surely no need for, no Hawthorn equivalent, of a Bulldog Tragician blog, for what angst would there to unpack, what tortured ramblings could be written, as another premiership is ticked off in a 'mission accomplished' fashion?

Maybe that lack of passion is what actually creates the success that he and his fellow fans of the brown-and-gold had witnessed over the past decades. The result of methodical planning. Calm decision-making. Sensible, careful list-pruning, moving on premiership champions unsentimentally, when required and appopriate. Build, contend, create a dynasty. When the wheel of fortune turns, be clinically prepared to do it all again, with a minimum of angst and no superflous emotion.

Hawks fans can go on, munching those mythical wholegrain sandwiches, with the steady, pragmatic belief that another premiership is always just around the corner, rather than a miraculous, wondrous occurrence. Calmly assured that their current lowly status is just a blip, that good times would return just as they did in...well, they probably couldn't quite remember. Soon, in any case, because there had been so many.

So goddamn many.

(Can you beIieve I managed to cram ALL these thoughts into the quarter time break? I can't either.)

Fortunately a second-quarter turnaround by our team interrupted a Tragician-thinking-spiral.

This change in fortunes was sparked by a 30-year-old man with bad tattoos, an impish Groucho Marx moustache, and a shuffling crab-like gait. Libba (you'll notice I don't call him Libba the Second any more) was suddenly in everything, creating havoc. He found space where there was none. Other players bounced off him as he stood tall in contests. Each Bulldogs goal in the comeback had Tom Liberatore footprints all over it. He even looked like the quickest player on the field, but this was a quickness of thought, a matchless reading of the play, and a competitive spirit that saw him always steps ahead.

When he came to the bench after inspiring the blitz, we rose to give our Libba a standing ovation. I stole a furtive glance at the Hawthorn fan. He was, as expected, impassive, even though their lead had been blown, and the Dogs were now surging again and again, with a best-on-ground Libba at the heart of it.

What an enigmatic figure Tom Liberatore is, with his quizzical half-smiles, his mysterious utterances (what the hell was the 'I made a hundred in The Ashes' comment post grand final all about?) Sometimes he doesn't seem to take the game, or definitely himself, very seriously, always wearing that mischievous expression even in the most intense of battles.

Libba is always the first to fly the flag for his team-mates; many of us wondered if the GWS thugs 2019 mauling of Bont would have happened if Libba had been around. He has a reputation as fiery and feisty - probably a legacy of his dad rather than his own character - yet he has never been reported. He's known adversity though, coming back from two devastating knee injuries. And in 2017 his season was so indifferent that he even spent time in the reserves.

Week after week in 2022 there is groundless speculation that Libba may be 'rested', may need a spell, yet to my mind his footy is better than it has ever been. There is a glint in his eye; maybe it's the same one I saw in the veterans Matthew Boyd and Dale Morris, that knowledge and appreciation that windows of success are precious and rare. Maybe he regrets the carelessness of he and his team-mates in 2017, their cavalier sense that success would just come, their forgetfulness of the bad times and how quickly they can come again. Perhaps he sees the seasons closing relentlessly in, the word 'veteran' now attached to his name, time and opportunities no longer stretching ahead in leisurely fashion. Maybe, playing alongside the champions Bontempelli and Macrae, and with a birds-eye view of the emerging stars Naughton, English and Smith, he senses that there's another flag. Realises that to finish with only one premiership, in this most talented Bulldog group, would be a crying shame.

There's a third quarter stoush. It naturally involves James Sicily, a pantomime villain who plays angry and dares - dares!!! - to remove the headband of Aaron Naughton. (As I announced recently, Aaron is in contention as my second favourite player, though some nitpicking readers have taken the trouble to point out that each week I appear to have 21 other second favourite players, all ranked together just behind Bont).

We're all on our feet to voice our outrage at Sicily's unforgiveable act. I see the Hawthorn "fan" (by now I'm using the word in inverted commas) is also standing but his face remains blank. He's not blindly outraged at any of our pushing-and-shoving players, or even annoyed at the indiscipline of his own. If there is anything it is perhaps mild bemusement; he has risen only to witness what is going on, not, as we are, invigorated as we voice our pointless but heartfelt indignation at Sicily's over-the-top treachery! (The fact that we still don't even really know who and what started it in no way dilutes our anger).

At three-quarter time, with the match firmly in the Bulldogs' keeping, the Hawthorn fan and his offspring politely edge their way down the aisle. It's time for them to return home, at a sensible time, not wasting any energy observing a loss. Not disappointed or frustrated. Not anything really. We don't sledge him, he doesn't sledge us. I wonder exactly why he was at the game rather than watching it on his big-screen TV in his undoubtedly comfortable home (I'm guilty of eastern-suburbs stereotypes and prejudices). I'm quite sure that he and his children, seated on the train by now, will not have impassioned conversations about what went wrong, fume over umpiring decisions, vent their spleen, or agonise about the future. More like: 'Dad, we never did get to eat those wholegrain sandwiches.'

The Hawthorn adherent and family therefore miss an exhilarating goal from Libba, which creates pandemonium the moment it leaves his boot; such a fitting exclamation mark to his wonderful game. They have long since departed when Bont elegantly (only he could) rides a bump from the Pantomime Villain, resulting in another stoush in which Bont acquits himself with aplomb, while Libba is somehow on hand to dispense advice and worldly wisdom. (He explained afterwards that he was encouraging the lad to remember that there is always next week, and not to be disheartened. Which seems about as feasible as that he delivered well-meant and kindly words to Heath Shaw in key moments of the 2016 Preliminary Final).

We are still chuckling at the Libba antics, and his brilliant performance after the match, but in my mind there's just that half-thought about footy mortality. I saw after all the unfolding of the full career of his dad, Tony, the man with the giant heart. We saw him win his Brownlow, forgave his misdeeds, marvelled at his tackling prowess, were in awe of his fiery, never-quenched spirit. His very career was improbable, outlandish almost, a man who looked nothing like an elite athlete, until you saw the fire within. I saw him, of course play his last game, a massive shiner a fitting legacy to a career of courage. Young Tom ran onto the field with his dad that day. It's extraordinary, unbelievable really, that I have been there to see his career unfold as well.

There is a beautiful, haunting book by Cormac McCarthy called The Road. It's set in a bleak dystopian future where some sort of unnamed calamity has destroyed life as we know it and dazed people wander around blindly without hope. (See any number of Footscray/Western Bulldogs seasons/decades for ready-made examples). A father-and-son are amongst the lost souls roaming the scorched earth, just trying to survive in an ugly and scary world of murderers, thieves and cannibals; the father reassures his young son, who has never known a different life, that they are the good guys, because they 'carry the fire.'

Like his dad, Tom Liberatore has never taken a screamer; has no Goal of the Year nominations. His artistry is so lightning quick it's often hard to see. Perhaps to paraphrase one great writer speaking about another, he is one of those who is most difficult to 'catch in the moment of greatness.' Surprisingly Libba has never been an all-Australian, never been in the leadership group, yet a leader he surely is. If he played for another team I guess I'd detest him as a pesky nuisance. But he doesn't. And I don't. For not only is Libba one of my second favourite players, he is also our most important and inspiring carrier of the fire.

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Dogs_R_Us

Space Traveller
May 3, 2001
22,597
24,604
Sirius - the Dogstar
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
That is so true about Tom Liberatore and his teammates would be the first to confirm it. I’ve heard them say before that he is the heart of the club.
 

Dazb86

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 31, 2008
14,486
11,130
melbourne
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Re:West it's just the fact he's had to wait so long for a run of games when a few less likely types were picked ahead of him and left to develop for seemingly no reason.

Either way I'm glad he's playing now and hope he stays on with the Dogs past this year.
 

Royale

Club Legend
Mar 20, 2009
2,373
2,945
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Ladder Prediction from the HSUN:-

8. WESTERN BULLDOGS (8-6, 120.9%)

TAB ODDS: Premier $21, Top 8 $2.20, Top 4 $12

R16: Brisbane (Gabba) L

R17: Sydney (SCG) L

R18: St Kilda (Marvel) W

R19: Melbourne (Marvel) L

R20: Geelong (GMHBA) L

R21: Fremantle (Marvel) L

R22: GWS (Marvel) W

R23: Hawthorn (UTAS) W

Predicted finish: 10th

Last year’s grand finalists have put themselves back in the finals hunt, winning five of their past six matches including a 42-point triumph over Hawthorn last Friday night. But the real challenges start now. The Bulldogs have a 2-3 record against fellow current top-eight sides this year and face five top-eight teams in the next six weeks, plus a St Kilda side which is fighting to return to the top-eight after a mid-season form slump. It’s hard to see them winning five of their last eight games to make the finals cut given the quality opposition they face.
 

Norm De Guerre

Left of the dial.
Mar 27, 2004
10,236
30,137
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Australian Farnarkling XI
Re:West it's just the fact he's had to wait so long for a run of games when a few less likely types were picked ahead of him and left to develop for seemingly no reason.

Either way I'm glad he's playing now and hope he stays on with the Dogs past this year.
There's always reasons. We just aren't privy to them.
 

hutchy31

Norm Smith Medallist
May 25, 2014
6,567
8,950
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Ladder Prediction from the HSUN:-

8. WESTERN BULLDOGS (8-6, 120.9%)

TAB ODDS: Premier $21, Top 8 $2.20, Top 4 $12

R16: Brisbane (Gabba) L

R17: Sydney (SCG) L

R18: St Kilda (Marvel) W

R19: Melbourne (Marvel) L

R20: Geelong (GMHBA) L

R21: Fremantle (Marvel) L

R22: GWS (Marvel) W

R23: Hawthorn (UTAS) W

Predicted finish: 10th

Last year’s grand finalists have put themselves back in the finals hunt, winning five of their past six matches including a 42-point triumph over Hawthorn last Friday night. But the real challenges start now. The Bulldogs have a 2-3 record against fellow current top-eight sides this year and face five top-eight teams in the next six weeks, plus a St Kilda side which is fighting to return to the top-eight after a mid-season form slump. It’s hard to see them winning five of their last eight games to make the finals cut given the quality opposition they face.

Lose to the teams above, win against the teams below. Some rocket scientists working at that outlet.

Not that I think we'll make finals necessarily (my guess is we finish 9th/10th), but I'd at least be trotting out something like we'll beat Freo on our home deck but then lost to Hawks in Tassie because we did so last year when challenging for top four. To tip eight weeks of games based on table position is unlikely to be right.
 

Doggy

Brownlow Medallist
May 20, 2006
11,469
8,366
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Lose to the teams above, win against the teams below. Some rocket scientists working at that outlet.

Not that I think we'll make finals necessarily (my guess is we finish 9th/10th), but I'd at least be trotting out something like we'll beat Freo on our home deck but then lost to Hawks in Tassie because we did so last year when challenging for top four. To tip eight weeks of games based on table position is unlikely to be right.
Can easily see a win against Shitney and Freo.

Shitney isn't flash at all and we have the team and record against them
 

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