As the Western Bulldogs celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the Fightback campaign of 1989, it will remember the most significant moments which followed that pivotal point in the Club’s history.
In October 1989, the then VFL announced that a financially vulnerable Footscray Football Club would merge with Fitzroy.
But in an extraordinary uprising, the Save the Dogs group rallied tens of thousands of Bulldogs fans to raise the necessary funds to allow the Bulldogs to survive.
Since then, the Bulldogs have emerged to become a successful, financially stable club which rightfully deserves its place in the national competition.
Ultimately, it was the force of the Bulldog army which saved the Club from the merger, and now it’s your turn to rank our greatest moments as a Club since 1989.
We’ve hand-picked 30 of the most significant Bulldogs moments of the last 30 years, and we need your help to rank them.
By selecting your top 10 from the list, you’ll go into the draw to win some great prizes, including a signed football and passes for the Round 17 guard of honour.
THE FIGHTBACK 30
1. The Fightback of ’89
More than 10,000 fans converge on the Western Oval in a remarkable show of solidarity, helping to raise more than $1.6 million to save the Bulldogs from a VFL merger with Fitzroy.
2. Brownlow Medal triumphs
Three Bulldogs players win football’s highest individual honour, the Brownlow Medal – Tony Liberatore (1990), Scott Wynd (1992) and Adam Cooney (2008).
3. Games record tumbles thrice
The Club’s games record is broken three times, by Doug Hawkins (from Ted Whitten), Chris Grant and Brad Johnson (who went on to play 364 games).
4. Top Dogs. Presidential stability
The appointment of Peter Gordon as president in 1989, the handover to David Smorgon in 1996, and Gordon’s reinstatement in 2012.
5. The death of Mr Football
Club legend Ted Whitten’s emotional lap of honour at MCG State game on June 17, 1995, and his death two months later, and his state funeral.
6. Western Oval renamed
The Bulldogs’ spiritual home the Western Oval is renamed Whitten Oval in memory of its favourite son, Ted Whitten.
7. New beginnings in ’96
Change sweeps through the Bulldogs, with David Smorgon taking over as President, Terry Wallace appointed as caretaker coach and Chris Grant rejecting a lucrative offer from Port Adelaide to stay with the Club.
8. Club’s name change
The Club officially changes its name from Footscray to the Western Bulldogs in 1997.
9. Last game at Whitten Oval
The last game for premiership points at Whitten Oval is held in Round 21, 1997, before a crowd of 26,704.
10. Optus Oval becomes home
The Bulldogs move their home games from Whitten Oval to Optus Oval, from 1997-1999.
11. New home at Docklands Stadium
The Bulldogs shift their home games to the new Docklands Stadium (now known as Marvel Stadium) in 2000.
12. Team of the Century announced
The Bulldogs name their official Team of the Century in May 2002.
13. Elite Training Facility built at Whitten Oval
A brand-new Elite Training Facility, opened in June, 2008, is constructed with the Howard Federal Government’s funding assistance.
14. 2010 NAB Challenge Premiership
The Bulldogs claim their first senior flag of any kind since 1970 – the 2010 NAB Challenge Premiership.
15. Club Hall of Fame established
The first Hall of Fame Induction function was held in 2010, with the Club’s first Legends inducted.
16. The hoops are back, Club guernsey change
The Bulldogs return to their traditional guernsey in 2012, featuring the red, and white hoops.
17. The first women's football exhibition game
The first Melbourne versus Western Bulldogs women's exhibition game is held on June 30, 2013, at the MCG in a landmark day for women’s football.
18. Footscray returns to the VFL, wins flag
The Club’s VFL side is named Footscray, returning to play games at Whitten Oval, and wins the 2014 Premiership.
19. The Boyd/Griffen trade, McCartney resigns
At the end of the 2014 season, coach Brendan McCartney resigns, and Ryan Griffen is traded to GWS for Tom Boyd.
20. Bevo and Bob appointed to lead new era
Luke Beveridge is appointed the new coach of the Western Bulldogs in November 2014, and Bob Murphy is announced as captain.
21. AFL football returns to Whitten Oval
Whitten Oval hosts a NAB Challenge game against Richmond in February 2015, in a return to AFL football for the ground.
22. Dogs’ women All-Stars claim Hampson-Hardeman Cup
Prior to AFLW games being played, the Bulldogs claim the Hampson-Hardeman Cup at Whitten Oval in September, 2016.
23. 2016 AFL Preliminary Final win
After losing its previous six preliminary finals since the Fightback of 1989, the Bulldogs qualify for the Grand Final with a stirring win over GWS.
24. 2016 AFL Premiership triumph
The Bulldogs break a 62-year premiership drought by winning the 2016 men's AFL premiership over Sydney at the MCG.
25. Bevo hands Bob his Jock McHale Medal
Coach Luke Beveridge’s hands his Jock McHale medal to Bulldogs’ captain Bob Murphy after the 2016 Grand Final, after Murphy missed the game through injury.
26. Unfurling the AFL Premiership flag
The Bulldogs unfurl their 2016 AFL Premiership flag at Etihad Stadium in March 2017.
27. First game in Ballarat
The Bulldogs host the first ever game in Ballarat for AFL premiership points, against Port Adelaide in August 2017.
28. Dogs receive AFLW licence
The Bulldogs’ women’s team receives one of the first AFLW licences, and the Club hosts the first AFLW home game at Whitten Oval.
29. 2018 AFLW Premiership
The Club’s AFLW team comes from seventh place in the previous season to win their maiden premiership against Brisbane at Ikon Park.