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25 years later…

Andrew Gigacz  July 14, 2017 12:20 PM

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Danny Del Re snagged four goals in the win over Carlton back in Round 7, 1992.

The Western Bulldogs will face Carlton at the MCG for the first time in 10 years on Sunday and it is fitting that they will be doing so, as 2017 marks 25 years since the two sides first met for premiership points on the hallowed turf at Yarra Park.

Going into the clash in Round 7, 1992, the Bulldogs headed the ladder with four wins, but the Blues, third, also had four wins to their name and, boasting a star-studded line-up that included names such as Stephen Kernaghan, Craig Bradley, Greg Williams, Justin Madden and Stephen Silvagni.

The Dogs were building a formidable side of their own under coach Terry Wheeler, with players such as Doug Hawkins, Chris Grant and Simon Atkins very much at their peak and 22-year-old ruckman Scott Wynd on his way to the 1992 Brownlow Medal.

Footscray started the match strongly and a five goal to two opening quarter saw the Dogs ahead by 21 points at the first break, but Carlton fought back strongly in the second term, narrowing the gap to just eight points at the long break.

It was in the 'premiership' third quarter that the Bulldogs stamped their authority on  the match. With Wynd and centre-half back Peter Foster, controlling the air in defence, Footscray held the Blues to a solitary goal, while adding 5.9 to blow the margin out to 40 points at the last change, one which could have been much greater but for inaccuracy in front of goal.

Footscray went on with the job in the final quarter, adding five goals to three to finish 56 points clear and maintain top place on the ladder. The Dogs had winners all over the ground, with small forward Steve Kolyniuk playing a starring role, kicking 6.4 in his 49th match.

Danny Del Re also snagged four, while 'engine room' players Simon Atkins and Steve 'Super' MacPherson set up many attacking forays, each collecting 28 touches. A couple of other still-familiar surnames also stood out, with Mitch Wallis's father Steve having 28 possessions and Tom Liberatore's dad Tony picking up 18, each of them kicking a goal.

Footscray's 56-point final margin was the club's second-highest on record against Carlton at the time, and the win established the team's bona fides as a contender in 1992, coming against quality opposition. The Dogs spent the rest of the season engaging with the Cats in a battle for top spot, Geelong eventually claiming the minor premiership on percentage.

The Cats proved to be Footscray's nemesis in the finals, ending the Dogs' premiership campaign in the preliminary final, but the 1992 season established beyond doubt that the Bulldogs were an integral part of the League, having staved off extinction only three year earlier.

With names such as Grant, Atkins, Wynd and Wallis - along with Rohan Smith (playing his first senior season) and Scott West (named as emergency several times that season before debuting in 1993) - on board, the Bulldogs' 1992 season set the club up for a sustained period of unprecedented competitiveness and success that continues to this day.