62 years after their first and only premiership flag, the Western Bulldogs have won the 2016 AFL Grand Final. Actually, let’s clarify something right bloody now: Australia won. Sorry not sorry, Sydney.

Over four goddamn grueling quarters, the literal underdogs of this year’s finals slogged it out against a powerful Sydney Swans outfit, eventually running out 67 – 89 winners at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 


It was a win that vindicated all of those pub-painting, porch-sittin’, have-a-crack romantics who’d backed the Doggies through a season mired with injuries, but not lacking in Aussie grit. Seriously. It was that good.

The first quarter started off in intense fashion, which makes a whole lot of sense considering the circumstances. A flood of massive tackles through the midfield stifled any real chances at goal until Sydney’s Kieren Jack collected a huge mark – and an equally huge shoulder to the face – resulting in a behind. 

Shortly after, Brownlow Medal runner-up Luke Parker slotted the first goal of the match for the Swans. A somewhat disappointing behind from the Swans’ talismanic Buddy Franklin gave way to an onslaught of Doggies on the other end, who eventually nabbed a goal from Zaine Cordy. 


Tory Dickson came through moments later, extending their lead to 4 bloody slim points as the first quarter drew to a close. That score, of course, didn’t reflect the quality of footy on display.

Speaking of, young Doggies gun Marcus Bontempelli found Tom Boyd a coupla minutes into the second quarter, who punted it away for six. 

And then, and then, seemingly wanting to put some numbers on the board that reflected their own undeniable quality, Bloods defender Nick Smith decided to tuck away his first goal in years. Pretty decent time to do it, tbh. Up the other end, Dickson scrambled to collect a fumbled Swans almost-mark, and clocked his second for the arvo. 

A stunning banana from the Doggies’ Liam Picken was answered by an absolute bomb from Swans’ Tom Mitchell. Some confusion over a play-on led to an extra six points for Sydney, and then another smart goal from the team in red and white. 


With nine minutes left in the first half, the Swans established a 33 – 31 lead. And, just like that, it became a 39 – 31 lead, cheers to a looping bomb from Josh Kennedy. Just in case you haven’t caught the theme of the game yet, we’ll explain it a lil’ more explicitly: it was bloody intense throughout the second quarter.

Another smart link-up between the Bont and Boyd ended the Swans’ four-in-a-row streak. It wasn’t enough to stem the Sydney onslaught though, as their lead extended to 45 – 37. Dogs’ Toby McLean saw that shit, knocked another stunner between the big sticks, pretty much confirming we were all watching one of the G.O.A.T grand finals. 

Western Bulldogs Conquer The Sydney Swans In All-Time Great AFL Grand Final

Things were much the same in the third period: Kennedy continued his imperious form with yet another goal, and Boyd kept on pushing the Swans all over the joint. An eight-point lead for the Doggies saw them into the final quarter, as Australia clenched in unison.

The final period was nothing but guts from both squads. Swans veteran Daniel Hanneberry copped a sickening twist to the knee but charged ahead. Franklin, who landed an ankle tweak earlier in the piece, slotted a goal away himself. Then, with only a point separating ’em, Dogs’ Jake Stringer popped one out of bloody nowhere. 

Picken kicked another goal after some serious back-and-forth. Dogs’ Jason Johannisen contributed another from the left, which was pretty cruelly – if accurately – called a behind after a well-timed Swans fist.

Boyd, obviously miffed by that cosmic injustice, clobbered another goal from deeeep, extending the Doggies’ lead to 15 points. Then, when given a chance from just outside the 50, Sydney clocked yet another behind. 

And yet. Boyd came through, again. The attack was too much. The onslaught was unbeatable. The Western Bulldogs saw the game out. The team laden with injuries towered above when it mattered most. 

Football. Bloody football. 

Source: ABC. 
Photo: Quinn Rooney / Getty.