The Bulldogs have won three in a row as underdogs and who says they cannot make it four… The Wolf gives us his top 5 reason why the Bulldogs will capture the flag that has eluded them for over 50 years.
1.The Bulldogs are the form team in September
The Bulldogs are the first team for 15 years to win three matches in a row to make the grand final, and have beaten three teams ranked above them, with two of those wins interstate. They are the highest average scoring side of this finals series, and are playing with unshakeable belief and more than a hint of destiny.
2.The Bulldogs have Luke Beveridge
Luke Beveridge won his second consecutive AFL Coaches Association Coach of the Year award this week, an unprecedented achievement in his first two seasons. His tactical genius is on display every week as he moulds and shapes his side depending on opposition, while still getting his men to play with a set of uncompromising virtues, being true to themselves. From the outside, he appears to be a man manager beyond compare, which sparks the belief mentioned earlier.
3.The Bulldogs are playing in their home state
Even though the MCG isn’t their home ground, the Dogs do have the comfort of playing in their home state, and don’t have to travel as the Swans do. This is made trickier for Sydney given they had to come to Melbourne last week as well, meaning back-to-back interstate trips. The Dogs have won all three matches at the MCG this season, and are five from six at the ground under Luke Beveridge. In fact, they are unbeaten as underdogs at the ground under Beveridge.
4.The Bulldogs recent record against Sydney
The Dogs have won their last two matches against the Swans, which gives Luke Beveridge a 2-0 record against John Longmire. There are only two sides Sydney hasn’t been able to beat across 2015-16, and the Dogs are one. Both of those Bulldog victories were at the Sydney stronghold of the SCG, which adds more merit to the wins. The Swans have lost four of their last 25 matches at the SCG, with two of those being to the Dogs, so the Dogs have nothing to fear on the more friendly MCG environs.
5.The Bulldogs are the best at getting the game played on their terms
The Dogs have excelled all year at dictating play by both controlling the ball and stifling opposition playmakers. The Dogs are the toughest team to beat around the ball, but then spread and dictate terms once they win the ball, defending by maintaining possession but then picking the right moment to attack. If they can match Sydney from the outset and get the game played the way they like it, the Dogs can keep the Swans on the back foot