3 months ago, I did not really think the Western Bulldogs had much chance of playing in the AFL finals this year. But a dream run home in the second half of the season has got us ending in 7th place, just as we did in 2016, when we stormed through September to a fairytale premiership.
The stars might align again. We have played very well this year against the leading teams, and in 2016, I was in Italy for a month just before the finals. This time, I will be in Italy again, albeit from mid September onward for a month. If we do make the grand final, I will not be there to see it, but as I was there in 2016, I am happy to miss out on seeing it live again.
This is the sort of optimism which, three short years ago, was unthinkable in a Bulldogs supporter. Ghosts of Preliminary Finals Past meant that the idea of actually winning a grand final was too much to hope for.
But 2016 changed that. Any team in the finals is only 4 wins in a row away from premiership glory, in theory at least. But a team had never started from 7th place in the finals to actually win. Because we did it that one time, and are in fine form right now, all Bulldogs supporters (and the players too) will be thinking that it is possible to repeat that feat this year, that there is no ceiling to what our team can achieve in the next month!