Jack Macrae will happily cope with less love in the AFL if that is the price to pay for a Western Bulldogs premiership.
The midfielder admits that while he is rapt with the excitement surrounding the Bulldogs, their unofficial status as everyone’s second-favourite team sits uneasily with him.
Their only premiership was in 1954 and that, combined with their battler image, an exciting young team and two outstanding finals wins, means plenty of non-Bulldogs fans are on their bandwagon.
That bandwagon is headed to Spotless Stadium for Saturday’s preliminary final against Greater Western Sydney.
Macrae noted a lack of love for famously-unsociable Hawthorn had not bothered them at all as they won the last three premierships.
“For years, we’ve been known as everyone’s second-favourite team – which is good and bad, I guess,” he said.
“You kind of want to be hated.
“Hawthorn aren’t too liked and they’ve won three premierships, so if that’s the trade-off, you’d probably take it.
“But it’s great to have the support … (from) the Bulldogs and all around the country.
“We’ve really felt the momentum they bring and hopefully we can bring it up to Spotless this weekend.”
Macrae returned from a hamstring injury in time for the finals and has been an invaluable addition to the Bulldogs’ midfield.
He racked up 39 possessions and was high among their best in last Friday night’s semi-final win over Hawthorn.
The Giants are renowned for their midfield depth, but Macrae said the Bulldogs’ onballers will back themselves.
“Their midfield really stands out – we really rate ourselves as a midfield group as well, so it’s going to be a pretty big contest,” he said.
“It’s not going to be one or two players – it’s going to be on all of us to look after their really quality players and then hurt them (the) other way.
“It’s something we’ve prided ourselves on all year, our depth, and even when we had all our injuries.”