With Melbourne fast closing the gap, the Dogs’ number one draft pick missed the target completely the first time – but was impressive when given another chance soon after.
Barry Hall has paid tribute to the Western Bulldogs for taking a punt on him as he announced his retirement from the AFL at the end of the current season.
“I want to thank the footy club … they gave me a chance when probably no other club would,” said 34-year-old Hall at a media conference on Tuesday.
“They put their head on the chopping block, they had their knockers and doubters.
“But they put a bit of faith in me that I could change my ways and do good for this football club and I’m glad it’s all worked out.”
Hall has been in decent form despite his advancing years, kicking nine goals in his past two games, including five in Sunday’s loss to North Melbourne.
However he will be remembered just as much for his fierce competitiveness which boiled over at times, resulting in a number of on-field indiscretions and suspensions.
Most notable of those was his seven-week ban for striking West Coast’s Brent Staker in 2008.
He retired the following year after incurring another suspension, before being thrown a lifeline in late 2009 by the Bulldogs, with whom he signed a two-year contract.
A 2005 premiership co-captain with Sydney, Hall is the first player to have kicked more than 100 goals for three different clubs and has kicked 715 in total to be 19th on the all-time list.
He has tallied 144 for St Kilda, 467 for Sydney and 104 for the Dogs.
He has played 283 games – 88 for St Kilda, 162 for Sydney and 33 for the Western Bulldogs.
Hall is certain to be the centre of attention when the Bulldogs play the Swans at the SCG on Saturday.