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The Fightback 30: Moments 26-30

New frontiers and new venues comprise the first moments revealed in the Fightback Top 30 Countdown.

To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the famous Footscray Fightback campaign of 1989, Bulldogs fans have voted on the most significant moments for the Club over the last 30 years. will reveal the top 30 in reverse order, starting today 

The Bulldogs will take on Melbourne in Round 17 on a day dedicated to the Fightback – a time which saw an extraordinary fan uprising save the Club from a merger with Fitzroy. 

On July 14, Footscray will take on Casey in the VFL, followed by the AFL game at Marvel Stadium.



30:  Optus Oval becomes home

When the Bulldogs made the decision to play home games at Optus Oval (Princes Park) from 1997 until the new Docklands Stadium was completed, it's fair to say not all Doggies' fans were overjoyed about the move. 

However, the change coincided with a rise in the club's on-field fortunes, and under new coach Terry Wallace, the renamed Western Bulldogs enjoyed a period of sustained relative success, reaching the finals in all three seasons the Dogs called Princes Park their match day home. The Bulldogs continued to maintain a close connection to Footscray, with Whitten Oval remaining the club's administrative and training home base, as it does to this day.

29:  Bulldogs’ All-Star women claim Hampson-Hardeman Cup

Along with the Melbourne Football Club, the Western Bulldogs have been at the forefront of championing the cause of women's football over a long period of time. An inaugural exhibition match between the two clubs was held at the MCG in June 2013, bringing into the public conscious names such as Ellie Blackburn and Daisy Pearce for the first time.

Further exhibition matches followed and by 2016, the AFL had announced that an elite women's competition, AFLW, would commence in 2017. To celebrate its establishment, the two pioneer clubs met at Whitten Oval in an ‘all-star’ match on Saturday night, September 3, 2016. In front of more than 6000 fans and a record-breaking television audience, the Bulldogs claimed the Hampson-Hardeman Cup with a convincing win over Melbourne, with Mo Hope bagging six goals and Darcy Vescio three in starring roles for the Dogs. Future Bulldog skipper Blackburn played a big part in the win, while Pearce again demonstrated her elite skills to a wider audience. 

The match not only helped to fuel a public appetite for women's football, and set a path for young females aspiring to play the Australian game, it also gave the Western Bulldogs fans and men's players a huge boost ahead of a finals campaign that would result in Luke Beveridge and Easton Wood lifting the AFL premiership cup four weeks later.


28:  First AFL game in Ballarat

2017 marked a further strengthening of the Bulldogs' connection with Melbourne and Victoria's west. With thanks to support from the Victorian state government, Eureka Stadium (now Mars Stadium) in Ballarat's north was upgraded to a standard that allowed elite AFL football at the venue.

With support from the City of Ballarat, the stadium made its AFL 'premiership points' debut in August 2017 as the Western Bulldogs hosted the Round 22 match against Port Adelaide. Despite taking a seven-point lead into the last quarter, the Dogs faded late to lose by 17 points. 

Loss aside, the day was a great success, with 10,087 fans creating a great atmosphere, setting a platform for the future success of the boutique stadium. The Bulldogs have since played three further games at Mars Stadium, another loss to Port Adelaide offset by wins against Gold Coast last year and Brisbane this year. The Dogs will return to our 'second home' for the Round 23 clash against Adelaide.

27:  Club Hall of Fame established

With the Club boasting a fine history spanning more than 125 years, the Western Bulldogs made a decision 10 years ago to formally honour the many great players, coaches and officials that had made significant contributions over a century and a quarter. The Footscray-Western Bulldogs Hall of Fame was established as a result, with the first inductions taking place in 2010.

The initial intake of inductees included two players who were immediately elevated to 'Legend' status, 1954 premiership captain-coach Charlie Sutton, and Mr Football himself, Ted Whitten. Eight others made up the initial induction intake of 10: Simon Beasley, Jack Collins, Gary Dempsey, Harry Hickey, Tony Liberatore, Alby Morrison, Arthur Olliver and Kelvin Templeton.

Over the past decade the list of inductees has swelled to 29, with seven of those elevated to 'Legend' status.


26:  New home at Docklands Stadium

Having established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in three years of playing home games at Princes Park, the Western Bulldogs moved to a new permanent match-day home for the 2000 season.

While the Dogs' first game at Colonial (now Marvel) Stadium resulted in a disappointing loss to the Brisbane Lions in Round 2 of 2000, the team made amends the following week with a crushing win over Port Adelaide, on the back of a scintillating seven-goal performance from Chris Grant. Later in the same season, Grant produced one of the stadium's iconic moments, the champion's left-foot kick from hard on the boundary giving the Bulldogs a memorable win against co-tenant Essendon in Round 21. It was the Bombers' only loss of the year.

Since then the Bulldogs have developed a strong game style to suit the first surface found under the Marvel Stadium roof, the venue providing many fine moments, including stirring wins to celebrate the 300th games of Grant, Brad Johnson and Bob Murphy.

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