Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Western Bulldogs

The Western Bulldogs, formerly known as the Footscray Football Club or The Bulldogs is an Australian Football League (AFL) club based at the Whitten Oval in western suburban Melbourne, Australia, drawing its supporter base from this traditionally poor, industrial, and less leafy part of Melbourne. Virtually since its founding, it has been one of the league's less successful clubs, both in terms of on-field success and off-field resources.

It has won only one premiership, in 1954.

This success was in no small part due to two champions of the club- Charlie Sutton the wiley and tough Captain/Coach and the clubs and possibly Australian Rules best ever player E.J. 'Ted' Whitten. Charlie claims to have invented the modern play on style of football- run, handball, run, kick. While Teddy Whitten has been the source of more arguments on who is the greatest player than any other to grace the fields of Australian Rules Football.

Both before and after 1954 the club struggled to make the final '4' however it almost always managed to hold itself a few games above the 'cellar dwellers' on the ladder.

It had players of both quality and character such as Charlie and Ted, later Gary Dempsey the heroic ruckman who was badly burnt in bushfires in 1967 but managed to take out the games top individual award the 'Brownlow' in 1975. Or Dougie Hawkins the rogish lad as much at home with a beer as taking on the likes of 'Dipper' on the outer wing of the Western (Whitten) Oval. Even Simon 'the Pieman' Beasley a deadly accurate Full Forward and stockbroker who broke the image of blue collar players at the club. (He's now a bookmaker- not so different from a stockbroker!)

In the dim distant past (1900 to 1925) the club won a string of premierships in the VFA, but after the mightiest clubs had broken away and formed the VFL, the forerunner of the AFL.

Under tightly focussed management by club president David Smorgon, driven coaching by Terry Wallace, and the on-field leadership of Chris Grant and Tony Liberatore, the club had a relatively successful period through the mid- to late 1990s. However, without a premiership win, the club's future as ever looks on a knife's edge.

Brownlow Medal Winners: 1929 Allan Hopkins; 1941 Norman Ware; 1956 Peter Box; 1960 John Schultz; 1975 Gary Dempsey; 1980 Kelvin Templeton; 1985 Brad Hardie; 1990 Tony Liberatore; 1992 Scott Wynd

External link