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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 29 March, 2020

Western Bulldogs beat Sydney to end 62-year title wait

An omen, Mayo fans?

THE WESTERN BULLDOGS won their first Australian Football League premiership in 62 years with a committed 22-point victory over the Sydney Swans in Melbourne on Saturday.

Playing in their first grand final since 1961, the Bulldogs finished strongly in the final quarter to beat the Swans 13.11 (89) to 10.7 (67) in front of nearly 100,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

It was a fairytale victory for the Bulldogs, to come from seventh place and win successive sudden-death finals against West Coast, Hawthorn and Greater Western Sydney before toppling the Swans in the season decider.

The club — based in Melbourne’s West — went into receivership in 1989 and were days away from being wound up before supporters’ fund-raising kept the financially-crippled team afloat and avoided a looming merger with the Fitzroy Lions.

The Bulldogs trailed Sydney by two points at half-time but dominated the last two quarters, pulling away in the final stages to win convincingly.

The Bulldogs’ Jason Johannisen won the Norm Smith Medal as the best player in the Grand Final.

Liam Picken, Tom Boyd and Tory Dickson all kicked three goals for the winners.

The Swans, who were chasing their sixth AFL title after last winning in 2012, were favourites after finishing on top of the regular season standings.

But the club, playing in their fifth premiership decider in 11 years, had no answer to the swarming Bulldogs, who dominated possession and territory in the final quarter to clinch an emotional triumph.

SYDNEY SWANS            1.2   7.3   8.5   10.7 (67)
WESTERN BULLDOGS  2.0   7.1   9.7   13.11 (89)

Sydney Swans: Kennedy 3, Mitchell 2, Parker, N. Smith, Rohan, Franklin, Hewett
Western Bulldogs: T. Boyd 3, Dickson 3, Picken 3, Cordy, McLean, C. Smith, Stringer

Sydney Swans: Kennedy, Mitchell, Rampe, Heeney, Jones, Hannebery
Western Bulldogs: Johannisen, Picken, T. Boyd, Macrae, M. Boyd, Dahlhaus

Sydney Swans: Franklin (right ankle), Hannebery (left knee)
Western Bulldogs: Johannisen (calf)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Stevic, Meredith, Jeffery

Official crowd: 99,981 at the MCG

Norm Smith Medal votes
10 Jason Johannisen (3-3-2-2)
8 Josh Kennedy (3-2-1-1-1)
7 Tom Boyd (3-1-3)
5 Liam Picken (2-2-1)

- © AFP, 2016

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