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Footscray squash Scorpions, claim VFL premiership

The 'Scray sing, celebrate VFL flag Watch the Footscray Bulldogs celebrate their second VFL Premiership in three years, singing the team song in the rooms at Etihad Stadium on Sunday night.

An eight goal to none third term has powered the Footscray Bulldogs to their second VFL Premiership in three years, after defeating minor-premiers Casey Scorpions by 31-points at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Three weeks after the Scorpions handed the ‘Scray  a heavy defeat in the Qualifying Final, the Bulldogs reversed the result to lift the premiership cup with a 13.19 (97) to 10.6 (66) win.

Lin Jong was influential in the victory and was awarded the Norm Goss Medal as best afield for a dominant midfield display amassing 29 disposals, nine marks and six inside-50s.

Nick Jamieson was the leading goal-kicker for the victors with three second-half majors.

Senior coach Ashley Hansen’s VFL group contained six players who were part of Footscray’s 2014 flag victory over the Box Hill Hawks, including captain Jordan Russell and Jong.

Russell was the intercepting architect across half back in Sunday’s flag win, with 24 disposals (19 kicks), nine marks and seven rebound-50s.

Koby Stevens (29 disposals, nine tackles, eight clearances), Lukas Webb (22 disposals, six clearances) and Jed Adcock (18 disposals, 12 tackles, seven inside-50s) were relentless in the contest, while Anthony Barry (21 disposals, seven marks) provided excellent assistance to Russell in defence.

In addition to Jamieson’s three goals, Ben Long booted two along with Tom Campbell – who also teamed with Will Minson to control the ruck battle with Jake Spencer and Oscar McInerney.

Casey failed in its quest to win the club’s first premiership since 1999, with senior coach Justin Plapp’s men found wanting after the main break despite fielding 16 Melbourne-listed players compared to Footscray’s 12 AFL-listed players.

Clayton Oliver consistently looked dangerous at stoppages, racking up a game-high 31 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles for the Scorpions, while Matt Jones (27 disposals), Ben Kennedy (24) and Jack Grimes (24) also found a lot of the ball.

Tim Smith (16 disposals, six marks, three goals) was a constant presence in the forward line, with Lynden Dunn (21 disposals, 12 rebound-50s) often disruptive up the other end of the ground, but their efforts weren’t enough.

In the spirit of the Western Bulldogs’ AFL finals campaign, Footscray came out snarling in the first quarter and Casey’s brigade of ball-winners struggled to handle the pressure early. The Bulldogs generated plenty of opportunities inside 50 but could only manage two goals from nine scoring shots, as defensive generals Dunn and captain Jack Hutchins held firm to keep the Scorpions within six points at the first change.

Oliver and Jong often went toe-to-toe in the clinches in the second term. While Oliver burst from congestion and Jong had a hand in both of Footscray’s goals for the quarter, it was Casey’s tall forwards who loomed largest over their undersized opponents.

Smith booted two majors in a five-minute patch, while Sam Weideman and Liam Hulett both later converted from marks to send the Scorpions to the main break six points ahead.

Everything changed after half time though. Casey ran headlong into a wall of red, white and blue, with the Bulldogs recording 18 more inside-50s and piling on eight goals in the third quarter while keeping the Scorpions scoreless. Russell and his fellow defenders prevented them from moving the ball from defence with any kind of fluency, as Stevens and Webb established control at the stoppages.

Campbell became his team’s tall target inside 50 and booted two majors for the term, while Jamieson kicked another two to close out his team’s stunning 30 minutes of football.

Footscray’s 46-point advantage at the last change was reduced by the final siren, but the many Bulldogs supporters in the crowd of 17,348 who relished their team’s onslaught in the ‘premiership quarter’ wouldn’t have minded one bit.

       2.7       4.9       12.13     13.19 (97)

CASEY SCORPIONS               2.1       6.3       6.3       10.6 (66)

Norm Goss Medallist: Lin Jong

Nick Jamieson 3, Ben Long 2, Tom Campbell 2, Bailey Dale, Liam Nash, Brad Lynch,  Bailey Williams, Mitch Hannan, Andrew Tashevski-Beckwith.


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs