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  1. #1
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    Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Paul Dimattina - 1995-2003 - 131 Games - 56 Goals







    TCD: G’day Paul & welcome to WOOF.

    PD: You’re welcome & thank you.


    Where did you begin playing footy?

    I started at the Bulleen Football Club when I was 10 years old.

    Who did you barrack for as a kid?

    I was a passionate Richmond fan.

    Why Richmond?

    My Dad (Frank Dimattina) played there during the late 60’s, early 70’s.

    A good time to be at Tigerland?

    Yes, tho Dad missed both premierships; 1967 due to injury & he wasn’t selected in 1969.

    No, is it true that you used to sneak into the opposition teams rooms & spy before the game?

    Yes, I’ve always been a good talker & it’s amazing what could be found out by looking & listening. I’d write down match ups & also find out who were late withdrawals. I’d then race back to the Richmond rooms & hand them to the coach, Kevin Bartlett. My Dad was the team manager back then.

    Were you drafted by Richmond?

    Yes, in 1991 under the father son rule.

    How did that go?

    Not too well & I ended up playing in the VFA for Sandringham. In 1993 I played a reserves game for Carlton when they were short & I was on Essendon’s supplementary list in 1994, so I spent a year at Windy Hill.

    When did you become a Bulldog?

    I was picked up in the 1995 pre season draft.

    Who was coach of the Doggies back then?

    Allan Joyce.

    When did you debut?

    I played 2 games in 1995. I made my debut against Carlton at Princes Park in round 18. I tagged Anthony Koutefides on the wing until ¾ time & had blanketed him. In the last quarter Kouta went forward & kicked 4 goals to get Carlton over the line. I lasted 5 minutes into the final term & cramped up. I was exhausted. The night before I was so nervous I didn’t sleep a wink.

    1996 was an awful year for the club.

    Yes, we really struggled & then there was a power play behind the scenes which saw Terry Wallace replace Alan Joyce as coach for the last 10 games. In the last game of the season we lost to Essendon & James Hird received 3 Brownlow votes & Chris Grant received 2 votes. I believe if we had won that match Granty would have got the 3 Brownlow votes & tied with Michael Voss.

    Do we talk about 1997?

    If you’re talking about the Preliminary Final, then no. I have refused to watch that game on replay.

    You didn’t play in that game or the first final against Sydney, did you?

    No. In round 22 we played Hawthorn, who really took it up to us physically from the first bounce. Umpire Andrew Coates reported me for striking Rayden Tallis & I copped 2 weeks. Daniel Southern also received a suspension from that game for wrestling, which is the only time someone has been rubbed out for it.

    You were unhappy with that suspension weren’t you, not just because of the implications either?

    I’m still angry about it to this day. There was no video evidence, so it was the umpire’s word against mine. Rayden Tallis did the right thing & said there was nothing in it. My 4 year old son can hit harder than that!

    So you watched the game like the rest of us from the stands?

    Yes & like most Bulldog supporters I cried my eyes out.

    When did you team up with Jose Romero & Tony Liberatore to form ‘The Wog Squad’?

    1996.

    Was the friendship as special as it appeared?

    Yes, very much so, we often socialised & we’re all still mates today.

    Who were some of the better players you played with?

    • Chris Grant – Just stood out head & shoulders over everyone else. His 1997/98/98 years very exceptional & he made the rest of us rise to his level.
    • Brad Johnson – Inspirational, super fit & so professional.
    • Scott West – A genius one on one, just so hard to beat.
    • Jose & Libba – I just loved playing with these 2 guys. We did whatever it took to win.
    • The Defenders – Matthew Croft, Daniel Southern & Steve Kretiuk. They just gave their all for the club.

    What about those you played against?

    • Robert Harvey – Exceptional, could gut run all day & his 2nd, 3rd & 4th efforts had to be seen to be believed.
    • Michael Voss – His strength & hardness just elevated him to another level.
    • Jonathon Brown – Tough, hard & the most courageous player I have seen. One game I was tagging Simon Black & from the square he picked me off 3 or 4 times. Not too sure what Ben Harrison was doing that day, but he wasn’t looking after me. I let him know too.
    • Nathan Buckley – His professionalism. Was super fit & knew where to find the footy 7 what to do with it.


    Terry Wallace, was he a good coach & was he good for you?

    Yes & yes. He was terrific for the club & me personally, a great innovator, things like going out onto the ground early to acclimatise, interviews before & during the game & also crunch games where we set ourselves for a huge game & all signed a ball. Inspired coaching by Plough helped us win many games.

    The Essendon game in 2000 one of them?.

    Wasn’t pretty to watch, but Plough had us believe in ourselves all week. He said he had a plan to defeat Essendon & if we executed it, we’d come out on top. We trained away from the public a few times that week at Werribee. We were the only team that year that was able to defeat Essendon.

    Were you out of contract at the end of 2003?

    Yes.

    Did you expect to be offered a contract extension?

    I had played the first 21 games of the season & performed quite well. I got injured against St. Kilda down in Tasmania & missed the last game of the season. In answer to your question, yes, I expected a contract extension.

    It would have meant a lot to you, wouldn’t it?

    For sure. I had been there for 9 years & really wanted that 10th year as it would have meant I was eligible for life membership.

    Did you have to wait long to find out your fate?

    An eternity! We had finished at the end of August & I received a telephone call in mid October from the then coach Peter Rohde informing me that I was to be delisted.

    Did you say you were told of your delisting over the phone?

    Yes. I was shattered to be honest. If it was going to happen I should have been told much earlier.

    Even so, any coach worth his salt owes it to those he’s coached to tell them something like that face to face.

    I agree. Not the best choice of coach in my opinion, but I don’t think I’m alone in that view.

    No, I don’t think you are. What did you do after you had finished as a player with the Western Bulldogs?

    I went up to the Gold Coast to run a couple of the family’s restaurants & played with Southport for 2 seasons.

    Will the Gold Coast sustain a team up there?

    Yes, easily I think.

    How many family restaurants are there now Paul?

    Eight, six in Melbourne & two on the Gold Coast.

    Do you still watch the Bulldogs?

    Yes, I love it. I have a 4 year old son who’s just so passionate. I took him up to Sydney to watch us win against the Swans. We went into the rooms & were made to feel so welcome. We certainly have a terrific coach & he’s so accommodating with his time, even on match day.

    So, who’s you son’s favourite player?

    This week it’s Robert Murphy, but he has number 16 on his jumper. He just loves them all. It’s fantastic as a parent being able to share something like that with your children.

    So, how many little Dimma’s are there?

    Three, Kai, he’s 4 & my two daughters, Milla who’s 3 & Tiani who’s 10 months.

    Wow, you have been busy since you retired! Which players do you like watching?

    I really like to watch Josh Hill & Shaun Higgins.

    Where do you think we’ll finish this year?

    Top 3.

    I hope so & thank you so much for your time.

  2. #2
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Thanks TCD great read. Interesting to hear about how the delisting took place. Thanks for all your efforts always a good read.

  3. #3
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Nice interview about a very determined player. Well done

    A little extra snippet of information on this thread by alwaysadog

    http://www.woof.net.au/forum/showthread.php?t=106
    Tough times don't last, tough people do
    "He'll accumulate and be involved, but we're looking a qualitative sheen on his game that we need, and it is part of our scope to score"

  4. #4
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Quote Originally Posted by muttley3028 View Post
    Thanks TCD great read. Interesting to hear about how the delisting took place. Thanks for all your efforts always a good read.
    I was quite shocked about that to be honest. I would have thought a meeting face to face would have been the way to go. Doesn't sit comfortably with me, over the phone.

  5. #5
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Rhode, never one who impressed anyone in the coaching side of things.
    Dimma, a bit of a Mich Hahn?

  6. #6
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Nice one TCD - I was a Dimattina fan also, classy guy who extracted as much as he could out of his ability, and is a success off the ground also. A fine bulldog role model if ever there was one.

  7. #7
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Quote Originally Posted by The Coon Dog View Post
    I was quite shocked about that to be honest. I would have thought a meeting face to face would have been the way to go. Doesn't sit comfortably with me, over the phone.
    Kinda breaking up with someone via sms gutless really shows no class what so ever.

  8. #8
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Quote Originally Posted by muttley3028 View Post
    Kinda breaking up with someone via sms gutless really shows no class what so ever.
    Wasn't there a shocking story from Monty about being told he was going from Plough?
    A phone in an empty room or something like that?

  9. #9
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Another terrific job TCD - thank you for spending so much of your time for our benefit. Always liked watching Dimma play, and thought he was a pretty handy midfielder for us for a number of years.

    Pretty disappointed to hear about the Rhode delisting, but what are we really to expect from that era. Surely someone who had been such a good servant to the club deserved better.

    On the flip side, good to hear that the current staff are as accommodating as the are with the retired players.
    #bemorebulldog

    Men of Mayhem

  10. #10
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Yes, we really struggled & then there was a power play behind the scenes which saw Terry Wallace replace Alan Joyce as coach for the last 10 games. In the last game of the season we lost to Essendon & James Hird received 3 Brownlow votes & Chris Grant received 2 votes. I believe if we had won that match Granty would have got the 3 Brownlow votes & tied with Michael Voss.

    That "power play behind the scenes" that Dimma refers to is an interesting way to put it. I have been told that Wallace got the players in a room unbeknown to Joyce and told them words to the effect "I can take you guys where you want to go" if you oust Joyce as coach.
    I remeber Joyce then writing an article a few years back stating that Wallace backstabbed him and that is how he got the senior job.

    On Dimma, I think his best game where everything went right for him was against North at Telstra Dome in 2001 for memory. For memory got alomost 30 possies and even kicked a couple of goals! Can anyone recall it?

  11. #11
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    ^^^

    Round 15, 2000.

    WB - 3.4.22 - 7.6.48 - 13.9.87 - 16.10.106
    MN - 5.2.32 - 11.7.73 - 13.9.87 - 15.12.102

    Dimma had 21 kicks, 12 handballs, 8 marks & kicked a goal.
    Last edited by The Coon Dog; 10-05-2008 at 11:18 PM.

  12. #12
    Rach Guest

    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Great read TCD. Loved Dimma!

  13. #13
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Quote Originally Posted by Desipura View Post
    On Dimma, I think his best game where everything went right for him was against North at Telstra Dome in 2001 for memory. For memory got alomost 30 possies and even kicked a couple of goals! Can anyone recall it?
    That's right, he was the difference in the end. And the next week at the Dome against Adelaide he strained his hammy early in the first quarter. Had a couple of touches in the first minute, and said later he thought he was on his way to another BOG.
    Tough game, footy.

  14. #14
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Nice insight TCD cheers!

  15. #15
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Dimma was one of my favourites in the 90's. Shocked at how they delisted him - no respect for players and in the end the players had not respect for him.

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