The Exorcists: How the Western Bulldogs beat history

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  • Brian Jones said | October 13th 2016 @ 8:50am

    Thank you Jay. A beautifully crafted article that does the capture the essence of what being a Bulldog supporter has been like over the last decades.
    My favourite piece I have read on our win. And I have read a lot.

  • Patrick Effeney said | October 13th 2016 @ 8:56am

    Great stuff Jay. Lovely work.

  • Andrew Browne said | October 13th 2016 @ 9:09am

    I loved watching the Doggies win. However, after watching a replay of the Grannie, it was pretty clear the umps gave them every.

    • Roger of Sydney said | October 13th 2016 @ 11:38am

      Got that right

      • Jeff said | October 16th 2016 @ 5:18pm

        Sydney lost because Tippett was poor. As John Longmire said with 7min to go Sydney was 1pt down. After that the Bullies scored 3.3 to 0.1 and all Bulldog behinds should/could have been goals (JJ, Tom Boyd, McLean). Sydney’s last 7 minutes was some of the worst GF footy in history considering a premiership was on the line. The Swans were much more pathetic than 3 iffy decisions – did you think Kieran Jack pushed Xavier Ellis in the back to put the Swans in front in the 2012 GF ? I did – but I was going for the Swans that day – so I didn’t care. Similarly I couldn’t give a rats about Swannies whingers – especially Andrew Pridham…,

    • andyl12 said | October 13th 2016 @ 11:53am

      Any lucky umpiring the Bulldogs got was nothing compared to help Sydney have received (not just from the umps, but from the AFL) for decades now.

      Hawthorn’s 2008 GF win is a prime example of what can still be achieved if you don’t let bad umpiring bother you.

    • Cam said | October 13th 2016 @ 12:53pm

      If you are first to the ball and play by the rules you’ll get the rub of the green with the umps.
      There was only one questionable incident in the game and that was Wood going only slightly to low on Hannebury – even then he hit him in the hip so that is being generous.
      Only MORONS point to the free kick count and say it should be more even.

  • Ryan Buckland said | October 13th 2016 @ 11:13am

    Outstanding Jay. Simply outstanding.

  • Daniel said | October 13th 2016 @ 11:23am

    Can the writers on the roar just hurry up and write an inspirational movie about the Bulldogs.

    Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

  • penguin said | October 13th 2016 @ 11:38am

    Beautiful. A work of art. Congratulations to the Dogs>

  • Cam said | October 13th 2016 @ 12:14pm

    In a word… Brilliant

  • Tricia Hansen said | October 13th 2016 @ 12:27pm

    A great story demands wonderful writing. You delivered.

  • Tricia Hansen said | October 13th 2016 @ 12:32pm

    Great Story. Wonderful Writing.

  • Paul D said | October 13th 2016 @ 1:28pm

    Simply brilliant. Well done Jay, and the Bulldogs. Love the presentation on this one too.

  • John King said | October 13th 2016 @ 1:38pm

    Thank you, Jay. This was an absolute joy to read (even the historical heartache-y parts!). I have forwarded the link on to all of my Bulldogs friends and family, as it encapsulates the whole experience of being a dyed-in-the-wool, rusted-on supporter of Everyone’s Second Favourite Team.
    Go Dogs!

  • mastermind5991 said | October 13th 2016 @ 2:39pm

    “Barry Hall, Lindsay Gilbee, Ryan Hargrave and Daniels Cross and Giansiracusa all played their last games under McCartney.”

    Hall’s last game was under caretaker coach Paul Williams at the end of 2011. He never played under Brendan McCartney.

  • Glenda Woledge said | October 13th 2016 @ 2:51pm

    What a fantastic article. Thank you so much for encapsulating the Bulldogs story. You have made me relive the history of my team, and the ecstatic feeling of their success with this premiership.

  • Marty Gleason said | October 13th 2016 @ 2:57pm

    Like the DVD and souvenir newspapers, this piece is a treasured souvenir that we can keep as part of the collection of everything that has happened. Thank you Jay.

    Disagree that we weren’t good enough in 2009 or that we weren’t completely done over by luck and umpiring that night, multiple times. Riewoldt’s free kick after at the start of the third quarter is in context the biggest joke I’ve ever seen on a footy field.

    • XI said | October 13th 2016 @ 4:32pm

      So I’m still allowed to complain about this GF’s umpiring after all? I’ve seen a lot of people say that the umpiring was perfect this year and that any Swans fan complaining about it is a bad sport who wants to ruin the day for everyone. Amongst other hyperbole.

    • Tim said | October 14th 2016 @ 12:59am

      Can’t help but think if we were good enough in 2009 we would have beaten Geelong in the qualifying final and played Collingwood in a prelim instead. I would never suggest that umpiring cost us a flag when we didn’t even make a grand final.

  • zucvv said | October 13th 2016 @ 3:42pm

    Beautifully written Jay, deeply touching read.

    There will be a movie made about this one day. No one would’ve believed such a fairytale taken place that day. And no one scripts it better than the footy GOD!

  • Bert said | October 13th 2016 @ 4:16pm

    I think it’s unanimous, this report is what all sports journos should aspire to. Excellent.

  • Denis James said | October 13th 2016 @ 5:37pm

    I’m not a patient reader, but had to read go to whoa.
    You brought a tear to my eye, the same as I teared
    up at prelim and grandy.
    To a bulldog person your words are true

  • David Mc Donald said | October 13th 2016 @ 6:06pm


  • Noel Fraser said | October 13th 2016 @ 6:11pm

    Definitely one of the BEST written stories of Our Western Bulldogs history, culminating in our Glorious Premiership. I’m sure he picked some thoughts from my brain, I couldn’t agree more!!!

  • Liam said | October 13th 2016 @ 6:43pm

    Thank you, Jay.

    Every time I get cynical about the state of journalism – the cliches, the poor prose, the tired similies/metaphors – you come along and write such a beautiful piece, so full of meaning and intellect.

    Each time I read your writing, I feel like a window is opened to the world as you see it, and that is the way opinion should be.

    Great article.

  • Kevin said | October 13th 2016 @ 6:48pm

    What a piece , beautiful just beautiful …

  • john said | October 13th 2016 @ 7:21pm

    Simply the best……..All round !!!!

  • craig said | October 13th 2016 @ 7:41pm

    Brilliant encapsulation of what was and is the most momentous, surreal and beautiful experience that we Bulldogs supporters will forever cherish. Thank you.

  • Jay Croucher said | October 13th 2016 @ 7:48pm

    Thank you for the kind words everyone, the response has been overwhelming. It was a pleasure to write, and an even greater one to watch this special team.

    • George said | October 18th 2016 @ 8:54pm

      Brilliant and beautiful Jay.

      You’re catching your ghost. Zach Lowe is closer to you than Michael is to LeBron. Keep up the wonderful work. Now to read you NBA previews….

    • David Plant said | November 1st 2016 @ 2:22pm

      Brilliant stuff mate, thank you. It captured the very essence of the experience of being a Bulldog supporter over the years, as well as reflecting the incredible efforts of the players who finally made our lives complete. This article goes straight to the pool room.

  • Gyfox said | October 13th 2016 @ 7:49pm

    What a great re-telling of that wonderful event, which was more than just the 2016 GF. Want to read this regularly until March!

  • Dave said | October 13th 2016 @ 8:42pm

    Sensational read, cheers for that Jay. Something a bit new to all the other articles out there 👍🏼 10/10

  • Simoc said | October 13th 2016 @ 9:33pm

    Well written Jay. An excellent piece. In fact the Bulldogs were up and running early in the season and looked as good as any team has played then dropped away. Brought it back when they needed to.

    I especially like the bit about Hayden Ballentyne still chasing around after Hawthorne players.Classic.

  • Geoff Parkes said | October 13th 2016 @ 9:35pm

    Thanks Jay, a superb read.

  • Winston Lo said | October 13th 2016 @ 10:13pm

    It’s not magic but pretty close to it!
    Superbly crafted article!

  • Leonie said | October 13th 2016 @ 10:14pm

    Wow what a great summary…. You did not miss a thing Jay….. Sensational like our premiership

  • Bobby said | October 13th 2016 @ 10:28pm

    Wow. What a masterpiece of journalism

  • Kevin Carter said | October 13th 2016 @ 10:43pm

    Brilliant read thankyou Jay. One of the best reports of the Bulldogs win ….. and as a passionate Bulldog I’ve read everything I could get my hands on.

  • David Carter said | October 13th 2016 @ 11:08pm

    OMG!!! My mind has been blown to smitherines!! That was one of the most incredible reads I have had for a long time. Hats off to you gentlemen, well done!

    Touched this Bulldogs faithful soul.

  • Ryan said | October 13th 2016 @ 11:31pm

    The brilliance of this article is astonishing. Mr. Croucher, a very grateful Bulldog Diehard salutes you.

  • Pumping Dougie said | October 14th 2016 @ 8:53am

    Over the last 100 years, we’ve been one of the worst performed clubs, no doubt. But over the last 20 years, we’ve been better than the likes of Richmond, Carlton, Freo, Saints and Melbourne – in terms of finals series played, finishing positions and general competitiveness in the competition.

    In the past 20 years, we’ve now won as many premierships as Collingwood, Essendon, Port, West Coast and North and more than the four clubs I mentioned above. It just takes many opposition supporters a long time to get their head around it. WOOF, WOOF!

    Great article Jay. Took me a while to post because I started reading yesterday morning and just finished it.

  • Norma Morton said | October 14th 2016 @ 9:11am

    Thank you Jay for an insightful and extremely well written piece. My father took me to our first Premiership game and I have been waiting a very long time for another. You have encapsulated the despair, emotion, expectation and joy that 2016 has brought to so many long standing, loyal fans. Thanks again

  • Anthony foreman said | October 14th 2016 @ 9:49am

    Excellent article,well written .

  • Dylan said | October 14th 2016 @ 10:05am

    Absolutely stunning, what a read. Best piece of journalism since Bob’s ‘Red Socks’ article. Thank you Jay.

  • mr flibble said | October 14th 2016 @ 10:28am

    good stuff Jay – beautifully written and very enjoyable. The Bulldogs need a new narrative. Consider that they have won two thirds of the grand finals they’ve ever played in; few teams are so successful.

  • Melissa Cranwell said | October 14th 2016 @ 10:40am

    Although doubtful, if my memories do ever begin to fade about this wonderful season, amazing month and awesome day I would only have to read this article to have them all come flooding back. Thank you for encapsulating the Bulldogs story so well.

  • S Gordham said | October 14th 2016 @ 1:06pm

    Exquisite writing and analysis

  • Marita Ensor said | October 14th 2016 @ 2:16pm

    ” The ecstasy of reality” Thank you for writing so passionately about our young dogs. xxxx

  • Marita said | October 14th 2016 @ 2:18pm

    ‘the ecstasy of reality”
    Thanks for writing so passionately

  • Stephen said | October 15th 2016 @ 11:08am

    Excellent read but one minor criticism. You seem to suggest that the Tom Boyd trade was seen as a big negative at the time by all and sundry. For dogs supporters it was viewed as a beacon of hope, a bold defiant decision at a time when we had real fears for our immediate future. Without that trade we don’t win the 2016 premiership.

    Oh…and no umpiring decisions to blame for our prelim final losses. Please watch the performance of Shane McInerney in 2009. Otherwise….great work Jay.

  • Chris N said | October 16th 2016 @ 1:24pm

    One of the best, well thought out and constructed articles I’ve read. Brilliant and precisely accurate summary of what it’s been like to be a long term Bulldog supporter.

  • Elizabeth Duggan said | October 16th 2016 @ 9:33pm

    What a cracker of an article. I have been a bulldogs supporter all my life. My now departed dad saw 54. I was there 2016. It still feels like a dream. But by God we did it and after all the trials and tribulations it’s worth a thousand premierships!

  • Paul Thompson said | October 17th 2016 @ 1:24am

    Brilliant article. Poetic and captivating.

  • Johnlocco said | October 17th 2016 @ 5:54pm

    In the history of football results , all codes anywhere, that was the one for the ages..Injured banged up, no chance from 7th place they did it. All credit to Luke Beveridge and his policy of inclusion.
    I played in the VFA in the 70’sat a great Comminity club where the community involved themselves and were encouraged to by the Club..I had a pre season at St,Kilda where you were defied to support them..People locked out etc,could not believe it.they finished last that year,woefully administered..

  • Pam Callander said | October 19th 2016 @ 3:10pm

    This tells the story of my life, I am 66 years old and I have lived those 62 years. My first FFC game was as a 5 year old going to a practice match at Western Oval the year after the 54win. This story bought back so many memories of games past, and memories past. It was great thank you

  • Matts said | October 19th 2016 @ 5:11pm

    Brilliant article. For 49 years i’ve barracked for the bulldogs and yet I never felt part of the AFL. The lack of success meant we were always so strangely distant from other supporters. Your article captures our long suffering and our absolute joy in finally winning the GF. Thank you.

  • Simon Philpot said | October 21st 2016 @ 2:11pm

    what a touching, passionate and inspirational article. the hairs bristled on the back of my neck as the tears trickled down my cheeks. thank you Jay for your reflection

  • Russell Burgoyne said | October 21st 2016 @ 5:49pm

    A truly great read,as a 72year old supporter it sure has been a long time . A must read for all supporters,well done Jay.

  • Simon Pariah said | October 21st 2016 @ 8:58pm

    Beautifully observed and written. Keep up the good work.

  • Brenda Bedford said | October 22nd 2016 @ 3:48am

    I loved your story.It picks up all the threads of history that was the backgound to the WBulldogs for years.
    Your interpretation of the play on the day was well characterised.You captured the meaning of the play within the context of football careers of T Boyd, Picken.Stringer,MBoyd ,Bont and the others
    Your story described how and why this grandfinal was a fairytale ending and why it has charmed the football public like no other has in the last 20 years.

  • John Condon said | October 24th 2016 @ 12:58pm

    A beautifully crafted article.

    Maybe a little harsh on the Dogs early, but only just.

    I just loved the colour and the phrasing and it really captured their ride to an unlikely flag.

    It really is a piece that will be treasured by the “true believers”, and I’m proud to call myself one.

    Again, great work.

  • Tony Hargreaves said | October 26th 2016 @ 11:04pm


    Brilliantly constructed and written – riveting! As good a piece of sporting journalism as I’ve read.

    As a Bulldogs supporter who has been at every Bulldogs finals appearance since 1953 you captured perfectly, for me, the essence of what it meant to experience the thrill of finals expectation; the extravagant highs but, worse, the debilitating and emotionally destructive lows that came in the form of Brownless; Riewoldt; Jarman; Lyon et al.

    The 2016 Premiership made it all worthwhile.

    Congratulations on your article.

  • David Plant said | October 27th 2016 @ 12:01am

    A wonderful article, and one that I, as a lifelong Bulldog supporter (who has lived 41 of his 52 years in Sydney), will treasure. Like Kevin Carter, I have read everything I could get my hands on about this victory that has given me so much joy – and closure- and this is the best one I have seen. Thank you Jay for understanding and verbalising what this has meant to so many of us.

  • Bryan Wellard said | October 27th 2016 @ 5:20am

    Jay magnificent as a proud bulldog supporter for over 60 years it is the best article I’ve read about the finals congratulations

    Bryan Wellard

  • Clive Dutton said | October 27th 2016 @ 10:43pm

    What a great read.

    You missed the part of our CEO resigning (Garlick) and his replacement (Stevenson) also resigning amongst all of the turmoil.

    Didn’t mention that one of our best players (Crameri) was suspended for a year on drug charges because of his previous club’s poor governance.

  • Peter Morgan said | October 28th 2016 @ 10:42am

    Best article of the Grand Final. Well done Jay!!! It made me re-live the journey this year. I love how you touched on the missed opportunities, especially 1997 and how we thought and felt through the 2008-10. Really touched and a great article.

  • Macca from Mount Waverley said | October 28th 2016 @ 9:51pm

    Well written. The pictures that your words painted were so true.

  • Macca from Mount Waverley said | October 28th 2016 @ 9:53pm

    Well written. The pictures that your words painted were so true……..In Bevo we trust!

  • Lindsay James said | October 30th 2016 @ 10:57am

    What a masterpiece!
    It is a special storey by Jay Croucher – one that hits the mark very accurately.

  • Brendan Wild said | October 30th 2016 @ 7:24pm

    Fantastic article

  • Bernie said | October 31st 2016 @ 11:52am

    Not enormity Jay, use immensity

  • Rick Shaw said | October 31st 2016 @ 11:05pm

    I was one of the fortunate 99,981 people to experience this magical day at the MCG. Thank you for helping me relive the emotion of realizing a life long dream.

  • Ken Bathols said | November 1st 2016 @ 11:10am

    What a wonderful story,Once starting reading it I could not wait for the next exciting sentence. I felt I was sitting at the M.C.G.urging the players on.There was not a monumental moment left out.

    • Hayden Kelly said | November 1st 2016 @ 8:41pm

      Great work Jay a great read and it perfectly sums up the best 4 weeks in the lives of diehard doggies supporters

      not sure why anybody who has read this wants to pick you up on the occasional inaccuracy which is irrelevant in the context of the story
      keep up the good work

  • Alex said | December 5th 2016 @ 11:50am

    Brilliant writing, perfectly capturing the roiling history leading up to the most memorable game of footy most of us will ever see

  • Garry marston said | January 9th 2017 @ 1:16pm

    Thanx for such a refreshing story it’s great to finally read an accurate account of this sintilating finals campain from a club that have the most passionate supporters. Cede nullis

  • James said | January 11th 2017 @ 1:18pm

    This is an exceptional piece of journalism, which I a long suffering Western Bulldogs member have enjoyed immensely
    Having read this article twice I still marvel at the detail of the content contained in this saga- It was indeed an exorcism!
    Thanks Jay

  • Rose said | January 16th 2017 @ 6:31am

    Best article about the Bulldogs and the flag I have read.
    Despite the struggle and previous lack of success, many of us love this club and are devoted to the search for success.
    Two years ago my normally optimistic outlook was severely challenged when we lost Griff, the coach and paid a heavy price to recruit Tom Boyd. History now shows these events were monumental in changing the fortunes of the club, hopefully for ever.

  • Philip Elg said | January 26th 2017 @ 2:15pm

    All this time has past and your article still thrills me with the emotion of such a grand event,the quality of your writing is suoerb.

    • Jordie said | February 12th 2017 @ 4:38pm

      Without doubt the best article in the aftermath of the grand final. Jay, surely your phone must be still ringing with job offers from the mainstream media for a well paid writing gig? Your summation of the bulldogs and the grand final is simply superb, and I surely expect to be reading more of your stories in the future. Well done and look forward to your summary of the dogs 2017 premiership when going back to back 🙂

  • Stuart Smidt said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:36am

    After watching the 2016 GF for the millionth time , i got the opportunity to read this brilliant story , im guessing it will take the next 62 years for the hairs on the back of my neck to back to normal THANK YOU JAY !!!!!!!!!!!

    • Greg said | March 2nd 2017 @ 8:50am

      There is one more element to this story that needs to be mentioned. The team was cobbled together by a team of brilliant recruiters, in an era of drafting so compromised by the inordinate influence of the AFLs gifting choice picks to GWS and GC. Without the F/S picks (barring Ayce Cordy) the team may never have delivered the cup to the long suffering fans. As it is the GWC loom as some sort of Terminator for the hopes of at least 3/4s of the competition over the next decade.

  • Fiona said | March 20th 2017 @ 5:25pm

    How did I miss this masterpiece? 6 months late in reading this compelling article but I’m in agreement with the many Doggies fans–thanks for your words. They brought a lump to my throat. Their story, retold by you, made my day. Go, Doggies!