THE noise. The incredible noise. Grown men crying. Strangers hugging. High fives everywhere.
It just does not get any better than this.
From high in the Great Southern Stand on grand final day, I felt again like the little boy who had spent years on the terraces at the Western Oval with his dad. The kid who knew that one day this would happen. Not the grown man used to finals misery and heartbreak after heartbreak.
When Tom Boyd crowned his coming of age with a long goal in the last quarter, the roar was off the charts. When Liam Picken sealed the deal, it would have been frightening, if it wasn’t so joyous.
And the joy. What absolute joy. All I wanted for 40 years was to see my Bulldogs play in a grand final. “That would be enough”, I would tell my family and friends.
But here I was. Part of it. At the MCG watching the Bulldogs win a premiership. Something my own dad did in 1954. He was there too in 1961. So, so many years ago.
I’d been happy just to see the Dogs run onto the MCG, theme song blaring, and join in the roar at the first bounce.
I was happier still to see them dish it up to the Swans and still be in the game at half time. Hey, I shed a tear when Tom Boyd snapped a beauty in the second quarter.
It was overwhelming pride when they were up at three quarter time. Well done boys.
Reality struck 10 minutes into the last quarter. “We might do this” I said to no one. “We might win the grand final”. Cue more goals, more noise, more absolute and utter joy.
Twenty points up, someone in the crowd yells “there’s only one minute left”. What an incredible 60 seconds. We couldn’t lose. We would be premiers.
And then the siren. Wow. Thank you Bulldogs. That little boy on the terraces was right all along.