Barnstorming Dogs do it their way in AFL

Not only did the Western Bulldogs break their 62-year premiership drought, they did it their way, too.

Jubilant president Peter Gordon made the important distinction after his club capped a stunning finals campaign with a hard-fought 22-point grand final win on Saturday over Sydney.

The Bulldogs’ barnstorming run through September was as unlikely as it was breathtaking, Luke Beveridge’s side overcoming the odds to beat West Coast, Hawthorn then Greater Western Sydney.

Their youthful, unabashed joy as they cleared each seemingly insurmountable finals hurdle was a breath of fresh air.

“There are a few experts around who say that you need to keep a lid on it and do all of these things in a particular way, like they do, but we’re not them – we’re us,” Gordon said.

“We’re the first team to have come from seventh to the grand final and to win it.

“The way that we respond to things and the way that we deal with things – that’s something that belongs to us because we are the Western Bulldogs Football Club.

“We rejoice in those victories and it doesn’t mean that the next day we don’t knuckle down.”

Few are more qualified than Gordon to speak of the significance of his club’s first premiership since 1954 – just the second in their history.

The financially stricken Dogs were days away from extinction when he first took over as president in 1989 and had several close calls in the years since.

“To me and to the hundreds of thousands of the Bulldogs’ faithful, who have stuck with us through years and years, this is a dream come true,” he said.

“This is one of those big days in life, one of those days that most of us will never forget. It will be one of the happiest days of our lives for all Bulldogs fans.

“What does it feel like? It feels bloody fantastic!”

Gordon believes Saturday’s stunning grand-final win would not have happened if not for the inspirational pairing of coach Luke Beveridge and captain Bob Murphy.

“The combination of these two guys is greater than the sum of the parts,” he said.

“Whilst we rejoice in our players’ (deeds) … I express on behalf of my football club my deep love and gratitude to Luke Beveridge and to Rob Murphy.”

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