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  1. #16
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Quote Originally Posted by The Coon Dog View Post
    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.
    I felt sick reading that.

    That is an absolute bloody disgrace.

    No other word to describe it.

    I think it would be interesting to speak to Matthew Croft and Simon Garlick about this.

    Great read TCD, and kudos on giving up your time to produce these fantastic interviews.

  2. #17
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Quote Originally Posted by The Coon Dog View Post
    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.
    Bump - for those who didn't know much about Dimma
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  3. #18
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    Re: Interview With Paul Dimattina

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    Bump - for those who didn't know much about Dimma
    Thanks bornadog -- great read. Rohde was a disgrace.

    Interesting reading about the 'behind the scenes power play' in '96 too. This is another pretty bad year and we are hearing rumblings... involving none other than Dimma himself!

    Well, hopefully a seat on the board will make up for missing out on life membership.

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