I’m with the Dogs on Grand Final day in the AFL.
As a junior coach I had this conversation dozens and dozens of times on game day.
“Son, this is the deal, if you want to win the ball more than your opponent does, then most of the time you will.” I’d say to the boys….”Close your eyes and imagine yourself taking big marks. Imagine yourself fending off tackles and kicking goals. Imagine yourself winning the game….and then go out and do it. Believe in yourself as much as I believe in you and nobody can stop you. And when the tide turns and they kick a few goals in a row, just dig deeper and believe that you and your mates will bounce back.”
Self believe and wanting to win more than your opponent does, two of the most basic concepts of football….or life for that matter. Who’d have thought those basic junior football concepts would apply at the highest level of the game ? The Doggies have beaten 3 much more highly fancied opponents in the last 3 weeks because they wanted it more. This is not complicated football. This is not a team of superstars. They have self belief, heart and the dogged Footscray spirit.
I’m a West Coast Eagles supporter and on that first Thursday night of the finals series I expected to see my team carve up the Dogs in Perth. There was a not a single Bulldogs player who ever believed that was the case. They came to Perth with a steely resolve to win every contest. And they do it without a Buddy Franklin or a Kurt Tippet.
I’m cheering for the Dogs because if they win they will prove that it doesn’t matter if your opponents are more highly skilled or experienced than you are. If you want it more than them, then you can beat them.
I guess it’s also the fairytale aspect of this ugly duckling side which hasn’t looked like making a Grand Final for decades.
Bulldogs fans deserve to celebrate.
I hope they win the prize.