FULL REPORT: Victoria’s Western Bulldogs win first Australia Football League flag in 62 years

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THE Western Bulldogs are premiers of the AFL for the first time since 1954.

The sons of the west had to fight for it in a hugely controversial final quarter, but showed a champion’s pedigree to lift when it mattered most and run away with a famous 89-67 win.

The brace Dogs ran over the top of the Swans to kick the final three goals of the match and start one of the biggest celebrations the MCG has seen.

Rising star Tom Boyd was huge in the second half and finished with three majors, while Liam Picken also finished with three goals.

Coach Luke Beveridge said he couldn’t have been prouder of his team — before he had a cooler of Gatorade tipped on his head by his own players.

“You know, it all comes down to players,” he said.

“So many people have put a lot of work into them. And given them a lot of guidance. Every one who supports them, the club, has got them it is just an amazing performance by the boys and Sydney are an unbelievable side. So it took everything.”

He singled out Boyd as one of his side’s key players.

“He was amazing,” he said.

“Him and Roughy have formed an unbelievable partnership this year. Just to see what he did and probably left his best till last. You know, I suppose it will go down as one of those unbelievable Grand Final performances. Hopefully for him.”


Bulldogs run away after hugely controversial score review

A HUGELY controversial score review could not stop the Bulldogs piling on an epic run of goals in the last quarter.

A long bomb from rising star Tom Boyd followed a tough snap from Liam Picken to extend the Bulldogs lead to 81-66 with just five minutes remaining.

It came after star Dogs runner James Johannisen had a goal taken off him after a controversial score review.

Johannisen’s long bomb appeared to be touched on the line by Swans defender Jeremy Laidler, but the score review official ruled the ball had not completely crossed the line.





Bulldogs run away after hugely controversial score review

A HUGELY controversial score review could not stop the Bulldogs piling on an epic run of goals in the last quarter.

A long bomb from rising star Tom Boyd followed a tough snap from Liam Picken to extend the Bulldogs lead to 81-66 with just five minutes remaining.

It came after star Dogs runner James Johannisen had a goal taken off him after a controversial score review.

Johannisen’s long bomb appeared to be touched on the line by Swans defender Jeremy Laidler, but the score review official ruled the ball had not completely crossed the line.


Swans star goes down

Huge blow.

Huge blow.Source:News Corp Australia

SWANS midfielder Dan Hannebery was forced from the field with a suspected knee injury.

The key ball-winner appeared in agony and needed to be carried from the field after Dogs’ captain Easton Wood controversially dived down at Hannebery’s ankles when the clashed over a loose ball.

After receiving treatment Hannebery tried to run out the injury and was able to come back onto the field with his left knee heavily strapped.

He was forced from the field again minutes later, clearly struggling to run with the pain.

Swans star Lance Franklin kicked an important goal minutes later to cut the Bulldogs lead to 61-60 mid-way through the final term.


Three-quarter time

THE Western Bulldogs lead by eight points at three-quarter time.

The Dogs controlled the end of the third term to have a 61-53 advantage and had a number of late chances to extend their margin.

Led by some huge grabs by rising star Tom Boyd, the Bulldogs had the final five scores of the third term.


‘Stupid free kick’

A gift.

A gift.Source:News Corp Australia

THE Swans were gifted the game lead mid-way through the third term when star midfielder Josh Kennedy was handed a 50m free-kick just 30m from goal.

Kennedy found himself on the end of a beautiful pass from Lance Franklin and took an almost uncontested chest mark before Bulldog Toby McLean hit him late with his shoulder while running back with the flight of the ball.

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Geelong premiership star Cameron Ling told Channel 7: “That is stupid play”.

“It’s very, very silly football. I know there is a thought that you have to make him earn it, but now it’s a certainty.”

Kennedy’s kick put the Swans back in front 53-50 before the Bulldogs snatched the lead back with a goal to Clay Smith to make it 57-53.


Nothing in it at half time


Boom.Source:News Corp Australia

THE Bulldogs hit back against the flying Swans with a crucial goal just 11 seconds before the half time siren.

The tough snap from Toby McLean cut the Swans lead to just two points.

Tom Mitchell’s second goal of the half pushed the Swans to 7-3-45, but McLean’s goal got the accurate Dogs back to within one kick at 7-1-43.

At half time Josh Kennedy was the busiest man on the field with 22 touches, three tackles and two goals.

Dogs speedster Jason Johannisen also picked up 18 disposals.

Injured star Lance Franklin had just six touches in the first half and has not kicked a goal.


Swans back in front

One of the greats.

One of the greats.Source:AAP

THE Bulldogs went on a four goals to one run early in the second quarter before a long bomb from Swans midfielder Tom Mitchell reduced the Dogs’ lead to 31-21 mid-way through the second term.

It came after a brilliant goal from Liam Picken, which was set-up with a daring reverse handball over the top of Lachie Hunter’s head.

The Swans then responded with goals to Mitchell, Gary Rohan and a double to Josh Kennedy to take the lead 39-31.

Kennedy had 19 possessions midway through the second quarter and was one of the most influential players on the field.

Geelong premiership great Cameron Ling Described Kennedy’s performance as: “One of the greatest midfield performances in the first half of a grand final”.


Bulldogs lead after tight first term


Ball.Source:Getty Images

THE Western Bulldogs have done what seemed impossible and put the clamps on the fast-starting Sydney Swans.

The Bulldogs led 12-8 at the first break after two late foals from Zaine Cordy and Tory Dickson.

Swan Luke Parker kicked the first goal in an incredibly hard-fought opening quarter.


Buddy injury update


Battling.Source:News Corp Australia

LANCE Franklin is running with an ankle injury.

The superstar missed almost 10 minutes of football in the first quarter when he was forced to retreat into the Swans’ dressing rooms to receive treatment.

Franklin rolled his ankle when landing on the foot of a teammate during a marking contest early in the match.

It remains unknown how serious the injury is.

When Franklin returned he appeared to be running without any issues, however Matthew Richardson told Channel 7 it is possible Franklin received a pain-killing injection to deal with the injury.

“The feeling from medical people down here is that it’s probably an ankle that he’s had re-strapped or jabbed,” Richardson said.

The Bulldogs kicked two quick goals when Franklin returned to lead 12-8 late in the first term.

Franklin did not stay with teammates during the quarter-time huddle and again retreated to the Swans’ dressing room for more treatment.

He returned from the sheds in the final moments before the start of the second quarter.


Buddy’s shock exit


Gone.Source:Getty Images

LANCE Franklin disappeared from the MCG in the opening exchanges, needing to head into the Swans’ dressing rooms for treatment.

Channel 7 boundary line reporter Matthew Richardson said Franklin was taken by a doctor into dressing rooms to have his right foot looked at.

Richardson said Franklin walked down the player’s race with just one shoe on.

“He came off and took his right boot off on the bench and the doctor said, ‘Na, we’ll get it right down in the rooms’.

“The big story down here is that Buddy still hasn’t returned.”

Franklin did not return until mid-way through the first term. He appeared to be running fine and picked up an uncontested mark on the wing.

In a messy, hectic start neither team was able to use the football cleanly, the Swans kicked the first goal when star Luke Parker slotted the Sherrin through the sticks.


Commentator’s huge call

FOOTY commentator Brian Taylor has made an unfortunately ballsy call on today’s AFL grand final.

The veteran wordsmith believes Bulldogs star Jake Stringer will explode on the game’s biggest stage by kicking at least four goals.

Unfortunately for any fans caught glancing up to the Triple M commentary box after the game, he is prepared to put it all on the line.

“I’m telling you now, today at the MCG he is going to explode,” Taylor told Triple M.

“If you all wanna meet here after the game — I will hang upside down here in the nude if he doesn’t kick four (goals) today.

“I’m telling you now that’s how sure I am.”

Sparring partner and AFL great Danny Frawley quickly quipped: “Could this hold 250 kilos, this frame?”



Bulldogs captain’s painful interview


Champion.Source:News Corp Australia

BULLDOGS captain Bob Murphy has given an emotional interview before his team’s first grand final appearance since 1961.

The injured skipper opened up in an interview from inside his Melbourne home with ABC Grandstand.

Having kept control of his emotions about missing one of his football club’s biggest days, Murphy revealed how real the hurt is that he won’t be running out onto the MCG today.

“There’s also those little moments you have for yourself where there is an ache,” Murphy said.

“That’s the only way I can describe it. There’s a bit of an ache. That you’re not where you should be. I won’t be running out with the boys.”

When asked to explain what it’s going to be like watching the game from inside the MCG, Murphy said: “Grab the tissues. Grab the tissues”.

“It’s going to be excruciating. It will be a really uncomfortable experience, I’m anticipating. My morning coffee has been uncomfortable. It will be emotional.”

He said his pain is rarer because of his club’s success-starved recent history.

They have not won a flag since 1954.

“The guys who miss out, there’s the pain of he missed out on that premiership team, but a Bulldogs premiership is different to all of those,” he said.

“It’s so much bigger than all of that. So I consider myself lucky that I’ll be there. I will be a part of it.

“There are moments of utter despair. That you’ve put so much into this part of your life and I won’t get to experience it, but how I would describe it is, there are slivers of despair but there is big old chunks of pride.

“I want to walk on the sunny side of the street. I’m not a sad man.

“I’m not a sad man. I have moments, but I’m a proud man. There’s a lot of hurt from the hard years, but we’re on grand final day. It’s not a sad day. I refuse to be that person.”


Prime minister’s epic burn



PRIME minister Malcolm Turnbull has received some serious heat for his clueless footy talk this week, but he got to dish out his own burn at the traditional North Melbourne AFL grand final breakfast.

The member for Wentworth was given the honour of stepping up to the podium first when Fox Footy’s live coverage of the event fired up on Saturday morning and he didn’t waste his opportunity.

Speaking to an audience that included foreign minister Julie Bishop and opposition leader Bill Shorten, Turnbull fired an unprovoked volley straight at his political rival.

It was a direct hit.

Speaking about the dilemma of supporting the Swans ahead of the Cinderella story that is the Western Bulldogs’ premiership charge, Turnbull took an unexpected dig at Shorten and his infamous role in the removal of then prime minister Julia Gillard in 2013.

“Today my loyalty to the Swans trumps my admiration for the Dogs,” Turnbull said.

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“Sadly, therefore there can be no unity ticket with Julia Gillard (the former No. 1 ticket holder at the Footscray club). I suppose there’s not much chance of a unity ticket with Bill. Just ask Julia.”

His knife-twisting zinger drew plenty of laughter from the crowd and even Shorten couldn’t help but grin at his own expense.

Turnbull didn’t get all of his grand final interviews right this week.

On Friday he was left looking a like a proper goose when he was unable to sing the Swans’ official club song past the first line.

Prime Minister’s awkward AFL grand final interview


AFL grand final preview

The Buddy Show.

The Buddy Show.Source:News Corp Australia

HARD-charging Sydney expect and the undaunted Western Bulldogs believe.

Given what happened in September, they have equal cause for optimism ahead of Saturday’s AFL grand final.

The Bulldogs are riding a wave of emotion and sentiment, with everyone’s second- favourite team trying to win their second premiership.

Their only flag was in 1954 and their last grand final was 1961. Two years ago, coach Brendan McCartney left, with captain Ryan Griffen soon following, and the Bulldogs were in freefall.

But McCartney’s replacement Luke Beveridge has been outstanding, winning the last two AFL coach of the year awards.

The Bulldogs have overcome a succession of injury setbacks this season and they are the first team to make the AFL grand final from seventh. Captain Bob Murphy, whose season ended in round three with a knee reconstruction, has continued to have a massive influence on the team with his off-field leadership.

But to make history, the ‘Dogs have to beat Sydney.

After losing the qualifying final to the Giants, the minor premiers have returned to form with a vengeance and they are the favourites heading into Saturday’s clash They took early control in their semi-final against Adelaide and then turned an expected tight preliminary final into a whitewash.

Sydney tore Geelong apart with the first eight goals of the match. It was reminiscent of what Hawthorn did to them at the start of the Swans’ last grand final two years ago.

Clearly, Sydney learned those painful lessons well.

Beveridge and Swans coach John Longmire were adamant on Friday about their team selections.

The Bulldogs are unchanged, while the Swans have recalled co-captain Jarrad McVeigh and Rising Star winner Callum Mills from injury.

But late changes would come as no surprise, especially if the weather turns bad at the MCG.


Grand final day schedule

8am: Melbourne Cricket Club gates open.

9.30am: AFL members and general public gates open.

12.15pm: Sprint heats on northern side wing.

1.10pm: Preliminary team warm up.

1.30pm: Retiring players motorcade including Jed Adcock, Troy Chaplin, Adam Cooney, Michael Firrito, David Hale, Brian Lake, Matthew Pavlich, Farren Ray, Ted Richards, Nathan van Berlo, Andrew Walker, John Coleman Medal winner Josh Kennedy and Brownlow Medal winner Patrick Dangerfield.

1.33pm: Mike Brady performance.

1.37pm: Vance Joy, the Living End and Sting performance.

2.04pm: Virgin flyover.

2.12pm: Umpires enter arena. Delivery of match footballs to umpires.

2.14pm: Western Bulldogs enter arena. Team photo.

2.17pm: Sydney enters arena. Team photo.

2.25pm: Premiership cup arrival, escorted by premiership cup presenters Peter Bedford and John Schultz. Teams line up.

2.26pm: National anthem (performed by Vika and Linda Bull).

2.28pm: Coin toss.

2.30pm: 2016 AFL Grand Final starts.

3.40pm: Halftime (25 minutes) — Auskick and Grand Final Sprint.

5.20pm: Post-match presentation. Winning team photo.

6.10pm: Runners-up media conference.

6.30pm: Premiers media conference.

7.30pm: Post-match Premiership Party — premiers presented on stage to fans at MCG.


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