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  1. #1
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    On this Day: West’s Anzac Eve blitz

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    If you are struggling to dredge up memories of the last time the Bulldogs played on the eve ANZAC Day, don't feel too bad.

    By a quirk of the AFL's fixturing practices over the past two and a half decades, the Dogs have never once played on April 24 under the name 'Western Bulldogs'.

    The Dog's most recent ANZAC Eve matches came in 1993 and 1994 and they were both every enjoyable days for the red, white and blue.

    In 1993 Essendon visited the Western Oval for the 55th and last time, looking to back up an 86-point thumping of Sydney the week before with another win. Footscray was coming off a bye, having pipped Fitzroy by three points a fortnight earlier.

    This would be the Bulldogs' first game at 'the Kennel' for the season, and an excellent crowd of 26,923 crammed into Western Oval hoping for a good match.

    The Bombers were fielding a rather inexperienced team, with five of their players having played fewer than 10 games, including a young trio who went by the names of Misiti, Mercuri and Hird.

    The Bulldogs' side was an interesting mix of youth and experience, incorporating three 200-plus-gamers, Doug Hawkins, Bernard Toohey and Steve Wallis. But other than Steve MacPherson, who was making his 166th appearance, no other Dog had played more than 100 games.

    The Dogs also had three players whose game tally was below 10. West Australian Peter Quill was making his AFL debut, Shane Ellen was playing just his second game and a skinny little kid named Scott West was making his fourth appearance.

    West had shown some good signs in his first three matches, but it would be against Essendon — the team he had barracked for as a kid — that he announced himself to the football world.

    Though Essendon had the first use of the breeze on that sunny April afternoon, the Bulldogs started strongly and led by three points at quarter time, and they extended that to 13 points at the long break. Young West by that stage had kicked three of Footscray's 10 goals.

    With the Bombers looking to make up ground with the wind in the third term the Dogs' defence hung on grimly for a good 10 minutes, not allowing any Essendon goals. When the deadlock was finally broken, it was Scott West pouncing on a loose ball deep in the forward line, kicking his fourth.

    West's goal broke Essendon's resistance. The Bulldogs ended up kicking five goals to two for the quarter and they did the same with the breeze in the final term to record a brilliant 46-point win.

    Scott West did not stop at four goals. He added two more to take his game tally to six, equal with Danny Del-Re. He had 20 touches to go with his half-dozen majors and the umpires awarded him the maximum three Brownlow votes.

    Although West would never again kick six goals, he would play another 324 games in the hoops, and there was barely a bad one in amongst them. West would go on to win a record seven Charles Sutton Medals in a decorated 16-season career with the Dogs.

    Exactly a year after West's Bomber blitz, the Bulldogs travelled to Football Park in Adelaide to take on the Crows, who had won three of their first four matches in 1994. By contrast the Dogs had just endured three weeks of upheaval, with coach Terry Wheeler sacked and replaced by Alan Joyce after Round 2.

    In two matches under Joyce the Bulldogs had been competitive but unable to find a win, and they went into the match against Adelaide as rank outsiders. But a Bulldog first-gamer helped Footscray defy the odds that day.

    At 29 years of age, Richard Osborne might have been playing his first game in the hoops, but he had arrived at the Kennel with over 200 games of AFL experience at Fitzroy and Sydney. Osborne kicked three goals in his first game for the Dogs, as did Chris Grant, while young Alan Thorpe, in just his 11th AFL match, kicked five as Footscray stunned the Crows with a nine-goal second quarter burst, ultimately winning by 17 points.

    Footscray had entered that game third-last on the ladder but the win over Adelaide helped turn the season around, and the Bulldogs went onto contest the 1994 finals series.

    Since that day 26 years ago, the Bulldogs have never again graced the field on April 24, and it will be another year at least before they do so again.
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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  3. #2
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    Re: On this Day: West’s Anzac Eve blitz

    What are your memories of this day?

    I was based in Taiwan, so missed this game, but thanks to Australian Television, they beamed it live through my cable network.

    In Taiwan we worked half day Saturdays, finishing at 12 (2pm Melbourne time), so I had to rush home to watch it.

    Westy was simply brilliant.
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  4. #3
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    Re: On this Day: West’s Anzac Eve blitz

    I remember West bursting onto the scene in that game, but don't remember anything else.

    1993 is such a strange season looking back.

    Only 3.5 games separated first (13.5 wins) and 12th (10 wins). Then the bottom 3 teams only won 9 games between them. Some years 13 wins only just gets you into the finals.

    We beat the top 3 teams in Essendon, Carlton and North yet finished a game and heaps of percentage out of the top 6. Some big wins were offset by some big losses.

    Edit: Just realised there were only 20 games in the season which obviously had some bearing on the ladder.
    Last edited by Axe Man; 24-04-2020 at 03:41 PM.

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    Re: On this Day: West’s Anzac Eve blitz

    Quote Originally Posted by Axe Man View Post
    I remember West bursting onto the scene in that game, but don't remember anything else.

    1993 is such a strange season looking back.

    Only 3.5 games separated first (13.5 wins) and 12th (10 wins). Then the bottom 3 teams only won 9 games between them. Some years 13 wins only just gets you into the finals.

    We beat the top 3 teams in Essendon, Carlton and North yet finished a game and heaps of percentage out of the top 6. Some big wins were offset by some big losses.

    Edit: Just realised there were only 20 games in the season which obviously had some bearing on the ladder.
    And we were just coming good. The last round against North was probably our best win for the year. It's the only time I can remember us scoring 100 points before halftime. Grant kicks an unbelievable goal in the second half. One of the best I have seen.
    WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

  7. #5
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    Re: On this Day: West’s Anzac Eve blitz

    Quote Originally Posted by Axe Man View Post
    Edit: Just realised there were only 20 games in the season which obviously had some bearing on the ladder.
    Why only 20 that season?
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  8. #6
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    Re: On this Day: West’s Anzac Eve blitz

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    What are your memories of this day?
    This game led directly to the fight at Whitten oval in 1997. We played West Coast the week after and Worsfold and his mates really did a number on West so when they bought their young star Gardiner over to our patch a few of our guys decided to give him a Whitten oval farewell
    WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

  9. #7
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    Re: On this Day: West’s Anzac Eve blitz

    Odd old year for us
    I think we were a bit pleased with ourselves for the work in 92
    Hence the inconsistency.

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    Re: On this Day: West’s Anzac Eve blitz

    Quote Originally Posted by Twodogs View Post
    And we were just coming good. The last round against North was probably our best win for the year. It's the only time I can remember us scoring 100 points before halftime. Grant kicks an unbelievable goal in the second half. One of the best I have seen.
    Remember norf replacing schimmelbusch( club legend ) with pagan and starting the year off like a bomb
    Faded towards the end of the year ! Grgic kicked a bag in that game
    The first game we had Leon Cameron playing on Carey

  11. #9
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    Re: On this Day: West’s Anzac Eve blitz

    Our record against norf at home was deplorable
    1 win from 1972 to 1997

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