I have said for a rather long time that most of my problems are first world problems. Until 35 and a half months ago, one of those problems was that my AFL team had not won a premiership since 1954.
That changed on 1 October 2016, when, after four wins in a row over a miracle period of three weeks, the Western Bulldogs pulled off one of the greatest fairytales in AFL history.
It has meant that I cannot really complain about my team’s history of limited success anymore. I am happy, and I am grateful for it. And so, on the weekend, when GWS went and soundly thumped the Western Bulldogs in an elimination final, ending our season and any hopes of repeating the fairytale, I did not mind so much. The sting is gone.
I do hope that the Western Bulldogs are able to enjoy some more success in years to come, and to play and defeat, and be defeated by, a number of teams in AFL grand finals. When some teams talk about their rivalries, such as Carlton-Collingwood, Carlton-Richmond, Carlton-Essendon,West Coast – Sydney, Hawthorn and just about every team who has ever played in the AFL, you think about classic grand finals over several appearances. With the Bulldogs, the rivalry which is suggested is St Kilda – solely because they don’t really win premierships either….
I would like to see the Bulldogs win a few more premierships. But I think I would like to see them win and lose a few grand finals against some of the top AFL teams – to create those sorts of rivalries and to give us a more classic place in the AFL, rather than that of a team who are usually there to make up the numbers during the winter.
I predict that it will be either Richmond or Collingwood who take home the premiership this year. But I am hoping that one or other of the three interstate teams get there. Australian rules started as a Victorian sport, and success by interstate teams will only serve to consolidate it as the national sport – especially at a time when the NRL is going to try and bone one or other of its NSW teams to create a second Brisbane team.