Western Bulldogs

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Western Bulldogs
West bulldogs logo14.png
Full name Western Bulldogs[a][1]
Nickname(s) Bulldogs, Doggies, Dogs, Bullies, Pups, The Scray, Scraggers
Motto Cede Nullis ("Yield To None")
2016 season
After finals 1st (Premiers)
Home-and-away season 7th
Leading goalkicker Jake Stringer (42 goals)
Best and fairest Marcus Bontempelli
Club details
Founded 1877 (entered 1925)
Colours      Red      White      Blue
Competition Australian Football League
Chairman Peter Gordon
Coach Luke Beveridge[2]
Captain(s) Robert Murphy[3]
Premierships VFL/AFL (2): 1954, 2016
Championship of Victoria (1): 1924
VFA/VFL (11): 1898, 1899, 1900, 1908, 1913, 1919, 1920, 1923, 1924, 2014, 2016
Ground(s) Docklands Stadium (capacity: 56,347)
  Eureka Stadium (capacity: 11,000)
Training ground(s) Whitten Oval (training base) currently known as Victoria University Whitten Oval
Other information
Official website westernbulldogs.com.au
Guernsey: Blue with Red and White horizontal hoops

The Western Bulldogs (formerly the Footscray Football Club[a][1]) is a professional Australian rules football club that competes in the Australian Football League (AFL), the sport's premier competition. Founded in 1877 in Footscray, an inner-western suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, the club won nine premierships in the Victorian Football Association (VFA) before gaining entry to the Victorian Football League (since renamed the AFL) in 1925. The club has won two VFL/AFL premierships, in 1954 and 2016, and was runner up in 1961.

The Western Bulldogs' home guernsey features two thick horizontal hoops—one red and one white—on a royal blue background. The club's traditional rivals include St Kilda and geographical rival Essendon.

The club's headquarters and training facilities are located in Footscray at Whitten Oval, nicknamed "The Kennel", its original home ground. The club draws much of its supporter base from Melbourne's traditionally working class western region, and plays its home matches at Docklands Stadium (currently known as Etihad Stadium) in the Docklands area, also in the city's inner-west. In 1996, the club changed its name from the "Footscray Football Club" to its nickname, the "Western Bulldogs".


VFA years and Championship of Victoria[edit]

Footscray captain Con McCarthy led the club to VFA premierships in 1923 and 1924, as well as the 1924 Championship of Victoria to gain entry into the VFL.

Newspapers record Australian rules football being played in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray in the mid-1870s, during which time a local junior football club was formed. In 1880, the club changed its name to the Prince Imperials in honour of Napoléon, Prince Imperial, the heir to French throne, who had recently died in battle. The club reverted to Footscray a few years later. In 1886, Footscray gained admission to the Victorian Football Association (VFA) after amalgamating with the Footscray Cricket Club to form a senior football club. The club tended to struggle over the next decade, occupying the lower rungs of the VFA ladder.

The club began to improve after the VFL breakaway of 1896, finishing on top of the VFA ladder in 1898, 1899 and 1900. As no finals were played, Footscray were declared premiers. The club played in and won its first finals match in 1903, against Richmond, the minor premiers, but lost the follow-up finals match to North Melbourne. After losing to West Melbourne in the 1906 VFA Grand Final, the club won its first premiership by defeating Brunswick in 1908. Another premiership followed in 1913.

The club entered two years of recess during World War I and returned in 1918. Still rebuilding, the club won the wooden spoon. From bottom to top in one year, 1919 saw the club win the premiership, and again in 1920. The club went back-to-back in 1923 and 1924.

1924 Championship of Victoria G B Total
AFL Footscray Icon.jpg Footscray 9 10 64
EssendonDesign.svg Essendon 4 12 36
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 46,100

The 1924 premiership would be Footscray's last in the VFA. After the 1924 season, the club challenged the premiers of the VFL, Essendon, to a charity match, otherwise known as the Championship of Victoria, for the benefit of opera singer Dame Nellie Melba's Limbless Soldiers' Appeal.[4] Footscray recorded an upset victory, winning by 28 points. The win was a significant factor in Footscray gaining admission to the VFL.

Joining the VFL[edit]

Starting in 1919, the VFL had nine clubs, which caused one team to be idle every Saturday; the VFL was keen to do away with this bye each week. On the night of 9 January 1925, a committee meeting of the VFL, chaired by Reg Hunt of Carlton, decided to expand the league from nine clubs to twelve. It was decided in the meeting to admit Footscray, along with two other VFA clubs, Hawthorn and North Melbourne.

Footscray adapted relatively quickly to the standard of VFL football despite losing some of their VFA stars, and by 1928 were already a contender for the finals, missing only on percentage in 1931. Though they slipped to eleventh place in 1930, 1935 and 1937, in 1938 they became the first of the new clubs to reach the finals. They fell back drastically in 1939, but played better during the war-torn 1940s, winning their first nine games in 1946.

1950s and E. J. Whitten[edit]

Footscray players line up for the unfurling of the 1954 premiership flag.

In this period, Footscray failed to win in finals, losing six first semis between 1938 and 1951. In 1953, however, they set a record of conceding only 959 points in the home-and-away games due to a powerful defence featuring Dave Bryden, Wally Donald, Herb Henderson and Jim Gallagher. They finally won their first semi final against Essendon, and the following year took out their first VFL premiership, beating Geelong and then Melbourne in the 1954 VFL Grand Final.

1954 VFL Grand Final G B Total
AFL Footscray Icon.jpg Footscray 15 12 102
AFL Melbourne Icon.jpg Melbourne 7 9 51
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 80,897[5]

This success was in no small part due to two champions of the club – Charlie Sutton the wily and tough captain-coach at the time, and Ted Whitten snr., otherwise known as "E. J." or "Mr Football", one of Australian rules football's best ever players. Sutton claims to have invented the modern play-on style of football – run, handball, run, kick. Whitten was famous for his inventive and lightning-fast flick pass, which was banned due to the umpire's difficulty in distinguishing whether the ball was thrown, or hit with the open hand.

Footscray failed to capitalise on their premiership success, falling off in the latter part of the decade and finishing with their first wooden spoon in 1959.


The decade started promisingly, with the club bouncing back to reach the 1961 Grand Final, when they were beaten by Hawthorn. This was followed by winning the 1963 and 1964 night premierships, although this success was not transferred into the season proper. The rest of the decade was a bleak era for the club, particularly between 1965 and 1969, when they finished in the bottom three every year.


Footscray legend E. J. Whitten played his 321st and final game in 1970 to become the VFL games record holder. (Pictured: Statue of Whitten outside Whitten Oval.)

Ted Whitten Snr. retired as a player in 1970 and held the record for the most VFL games played at the time (321 games); he would continue in a coaching capacity until the end of 1971. The club was relatively strong in the 1970s, but did not win a final; by decade's end they were back near the bottom.

The main stars of the decade included Gary Dempsey, the heroic ruckman who was badly burnt in Lara bushfire of January 1969 but managed to take out the game's top individual award, the Brownlow Medal, in 1975. Promising South Australian import Neil Sachse had his neck broken in a freak accident while playing against Fitzroy at the Western Oval. He was left quadriplegic. In 1978, Kelvin Templeton became the first Bulldogs player to kick 100 goals in a season, including a club record of 15.9 in Round 13 against St Kilda.


With the disappointing 1970s behind it, the club introduced an array of stars during this decade. Simon Beasley became a household name after being recruited from Swan Districts in Western Australia to provide the Bulldogs with a genuine replacement for champion Kelvin Templeton. Beasley was to go on to become the Bulldogs' record goal kicker and face of the club during the mid-1980s.

Mick Malthouse was appointed senior coach in 1984, and a dramatic improvement saw them rise to second position in 1985 before a ten-point loss in the preliminary finals against Hawthorn. The club boasted a list of top players at this time, with Beasley, Doug Hawkins, Brian Royal, Rick Kennedy, Steve Wallis, Peter Foster, Michael McLean, Jim Edmond, Andrew Purser, Stephen MacPherson and Brad Hardie. The Bulldogs narrowly missed the finals in 1987 when they were beaten by Melbourne in the last round in front of a record crowd at their home ground.

Discontent between players, officials and fans reached an all-time low during the 1989 season. Bulldogs president Barrie Beattie was replaced by businessman and prominent racing personality Nick Columb in March. Faced with the prospect of running a club with declining membership and sponsorship, Columb also learned that the team's debt situation was poor, and it reached the point when the VFL looked likely to appoint an administrator to wind up the club's affairs at the end of the year.[6]

Columb decided the best way forward was a merger with the Fitzroy Lions, which was also in a weak financial position, although was not facing immediate bankruptcy. The two clubs announced a merger to form the Fitzroy Bulldogs, but the merger was derailed when the people of Footscray, led by businessman Peter Gordon and a host of others, rallied to raise funds to pay off the club's debts. In further developments, former club player Terry Wheeler was named as Malthouse's replacement as senior coach, while champion veteran wingman Doug Hawkins was appointed captain. While Columb was branded by some as the villain of the story, the wisdom of hindsight shows that had he not instigated the merger, the Western Bulldogs would not exist as it does today.[7][8]


The Bulldogs began the new decade in promising fashion, finishing in seventh place with twelve wins in 1990, including one against eventual premiers Collingwood, when rover Steven Kolyniuk ran around the man on the mark and kicked a goal to put his team in front. Although they just missed out on the finals, there was much to look forward to, and the year was capped off with diminutive rover Tony Liberatore winning the Brownlow Medal.

After a disappointing 1991, the Bulldogs bounced back in 1992, finishing second on the ladder and making their first finals appearance since 1985. Danny Del-Re was an excellent full forward, while champion veterans Hawkins, Royal, Wallis, Foster and MacPherson helped ensure the club played its best football in many years. Scott Wynd capped a magnificent year with the Brownlow Medal, while Chris Grant and Simon Atkins also had outstanding seasons.

In 1994 and 1995, the Bulldogs again made the finals, only to be eliminated by Melbourne and Geelong, respectively. Leon Cameron and Daniel Southern were stars. In August, Ted Whitten snr. died from prostate cancer; such was his status in the game that he was given a state funeral. In his honour, the club renamed the Western Oval the Whitten Oval, and a memorial statue of Whitten was erected outside the stadium.

Under the tightly focused management of club president David Smorgon, driven coaching by Terry Wallace, and the on-field leadership of Chris Grant (who narrowly missed a Brownlow Medal in 1996 and 1997) and Tony Liberatore, the club had a successful period through the mid- to late 1990s, making the finals from 1997 to 2000. The 1997 season is remembered for the club's cruellest loss, to eventual premiers Adelaide in the preliminary final by two points after leading for much of the game and appearing to be headed for their first grand final since 1961. Rohan Smith, Brad Johnson, Chris Grant, Jose Romero, Paul Hudson and company were catalysts in a fine season.

The Bulldogs would again feature in the finals in 1998, after heavily defeating West Coast in the qualifying finals, they met Adelaide again in the losing preliminary final. The Bulldogs eventfully lost by 68 points against the reigning premiers who went on to claim their second consecutive premiership in the grand final that following week.

The Bulldogs would make their third consecutive top 4 finish in 1999 but they suffered consecutive finals losses to West Coast and Brisbane.

In late 1996, the club changed its playing name from Footscray to the Western Bulldogs in order to market the club more broadly (specifically the western suburbs of Melbourne). To coincide with the change, the club moved their home games from the Whitten Oval, originally to Optus Oval from 1997 to 1999, and then to the newly built Docklands Stadium for the 2000 season.


Main articles: Western Bulldogs seasons 2009 and 2010
Western Bulldogs players during warm-up against Collingwood in 2004

After Terry Wallace's departure at the end of 2002, assistant coach Peter Rohde took charge, but after two miserable seasons, the Bulldogs appointed Rodney Eade as coach in 2005. Improvement was immediate, with the Bulldogs winning 11 games and finishing ninth on the ladder in 2005, missing out on the finals by just half a game. Missing the finals dealt a blow to both players and supporters of the team, as late season success led to the team being considered real premiership contenders.

In 2006, the Bulldogs continued to play well despite a disastrous run of injuries throughout the year; with five players having to have knee reconstructions, including captain Luke Darcy. Despite this setback, the Bulldogs finished the home-and-away season with 13 wins (see 2006 AFL season), making it to the finals for the first time since 2000, with Scott West and Brad Johnson continuing their excellent play. They won the Elimination Final against Collingwood in front of 84,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and reached the semi-finals before being defeated by eventual Premiers the West Coast Eagles at Subiaco Oval.

On 5 August 2006, Chris Grant broke the Western Bulldogs record for the most senior AFL/VFL games at the club. On this day he played his 330th game, breaking Doug Hawkins' previous record of 329 games.

Looking for new markets, the club had played one game every year at the Sydney Cricket Ground and one "home" game each year at Marrara Oval in Darwin. On 16 August 2006, the league announced that the Bulldogs' Sydney "home" game would be played at Manuka Oval, Canberra in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Brad Johnson was the club's captain from 2007 to 2010.

Prior to the 2007 season, the Bulldogs made a splash by trading for Brisbane midfielder Jason Akermanis. They were premiership favourites early on in 2007, but yet again injuries took their toll, and they faltered in the last seven rounds, losing six games and drawing one, to finish 13th.

In the 2008 pre-season they traded away Jordan McMahon to Richmond and Sam Power to North Melbourne. They also recruited ruckman Ben Hudson and forward Scott Welsh from Adelaide and back Tim Callan from Geelong in what was a very successful trade week. In 2008, the Bulldogs were widely predicted for the bottom four after the pre-season, but had a successful home-and-away season, finishing in third place with fifteen wins, one draw and six losses (five of which occurred in the season's last seven games). The team's finals campaign began with a loss to Hawthorn by 51 points at the MCG in the first qualifying final, but won the subsequent semi-final against Sydney by 37 points. The Bulldogs lost their preliminary final match against reigning premiers Geelong.

Much was expected of the Bulldogs following their 3rd-place finish in 2008. They began the 2009 season with a 63-point thrashing of Fremantle in Perth, and then recorded solid wins over North Melbourne and Richmond before losing their next three games to West Coast (in Perth), Carlton and St Kilda. The Bulldogs then notched up their first away win against Adelaide since 2001, kicking eight goals to one in the third quarter to win by 32 points. The following week, they survived a determined effort from Melbourne, winning by 14 points, before succumbing to Geelong in one of the best and closest games of the season. They proceeded to win their next five games, including a 93-point drubbing of Port Adelaide in Darwin and an 88-point win over the reigning premiers Hawthorn. After a bit of a dip in form including losses to Collingwood, St Kilda and West Coast, the Bulldogs rebounded with an 18-point win against Brisbane at The Gabba. That was followed up by a 14-point win over Geelong. In the final round of the home-and-away season, the Bulldogs needed to defeat Collingwood by more than 22 points in order to reclaim third place on the ladder. The Bulldogs managed win by 24 points, earning the right to play Geelong in the first week of the finals.[9]


There was media expectation that the Western Bulldogs would feature in the top four in 2010 after doing so in 2008 and 2009. The pre-season delivered the Western Bulldogs their first competition victory since 1970. The Bulldogs defeated St Kilda by 40 points in the NAB Cup Grand Final, with new recruit Barry Hall starring with seven goals and winning the Michael Tuck Medal for being the best player. However, after a promising pre-season, the Bulldogs failed to make their first grand final in 49 years after being demolished by Collingwood in the first round of the finals, coming back against the Sydney Swans and losing to St Kilda in a preliminary final, captain Brad Johnson's last game.[10]

2011 was a disappointing year for the Bulldogs. After a Round 1 thrashing at the hands of Essendon by 55 points, the season never looked on track. After Round 21, which was a 49-point loss to Essendon, coach Rodney Eade was sacked by the Western Bulldogs after seven years at the helm. The club finished the year with wins against Port Adelaide and Fremantle and a loss against Hawthorn. The Bulldogs finished 2011 with a 9-win, 13-loss record for the season. Shortly after the 2011 season was completed, long-time Geelong and Essendon assistant Brendan McCartney was appointed as the senior coach on a three-year contract. During the following months, the Bulldogs assembled a coaching panel consisting of senior coach McCartney, former Geelong and St Kilda ruckman Steven King, former Sydney Swans and North Melbourne midfielder Shannon Grant, former Bulldogs champion and 300 game player Rohan Smith, and former Bulldogs and Port Adelaide player Brett Montgomery.

In October 2012, long-time president David Smorgon stepped down from the role to be replaced by former president Peter Gordon. Smorgon served as president from 1996 to 2012, overseeing two rebuilding phases, the erasure of much debt and a period of stability after decades of uncertainty surrounding the club's future.

In 2013, the Bulldogs ended their affiliation with Williamstown Football Club, establishing a reserves team in the Victorian Football League for the 2014 season. The team played under the name of Footscray and the decision proved an instant hit on and off the field, with supporters of the AFL club taking a strong liking to the newly established VFL team. The success flowed onto the field as well, with the club securing the VFL Premiership in its first season in the competition since 1924, defeating the Box Hill Hawks by 22 points in the VFL Grand Final.

Following a disappointing season in 2014, the Bulldogs were in the midst of a disastrous off-season. Ryan Griffen, after one season as club captain, surprisingly requested a trade to the Greater Western Sydney Giants. Two days later, Brendan McCartney resigned as senior coach. Adam Cooney requested a trade out of the club, and Shaun Higgins joined North Melbourne via free agency. In January 2015, Simon Garlick resigned as CEO. Luke Beveridge was appointed senior coach for the Bulldogs and club stalwart, Robert Murphy was appointed captain.

Although many predicted the Bulldogs would struggle in 2015 after losing over 700 games of experience during the off-season, and losing Tom Liberatore for the entire season due to an ACL rupture, they finished in 6th position to feature in the finals for the first time since 2010. In the elimination final, they lost to Adelaide by 7 points in front of over 60,000 fans at the MCG, the largest crowd at any Bulldogs game since the 2010 finals.

2016: AFL premiership[edit]

2016 AFL Grand Final G B Total
AFL Footscray Icon.jpg Western Bulldogs 13 11 89
AFL Sydney Icon.jpg Sydney 10 7 67
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 99,981[11]

In 2016, the Bulldogs fought through numerous injuries to finish 7th in the home and away season and, after a series of against-the-odds finals victories, qualified for the AFL Grand Final for the first time in 55 years. In doing so, it became the first club to reach the premiership contender from such a low position on the ladder.[12] The club ended a 62-year premiership drought with a 22-point victory over minor premiers the Sydney Swans. Jason Johannisen won the Norm Smith Medal, while coach Luke Beveridge gave his Jock McHale Medal to captain and club veteran Robert Murphy—who suffered a season-ending injury in round 3—saying, "This is yours, mate. You deserve it more than anyone."[13] This gesture, described as "one of the most touching" in football history, was met with a standing ovation by the crowd.[14][15] Murphy, though thankful, returned the medal to Beveridge the following day, saying he could not keep it. They decided to have the medal placed in the Bulldogs museum.[16]



Footscray went by a variety of nicknames during the VFA years, including the Bone Mill Fellows, the Saltwater Lads, and, most popularly, the Tricolours, in reference to the club guernsey.[17] The Western Bulldogs adopted its current nickname during the 1928 VFL season after a bulldog ran onto the field and accidentally led the players out against Collingwood at the Western Oval (now Whitten Oval), "to the wild applause of the callow youth", wrote one match reporter. Supporters felt that the bulldog typified Footscray's "bulldog spirit" that season, and it became the club's nickname and mascot.


The E. J. Whitten Stand at Whitten Oval, the club's training base and administrative headquarters
The Western Bulldogs play their home games at Etihad Stadium, located in Melbourne's Docklands area

The club played its home matches at the Western Oval, located in the inner-western Melbourne suburb of Footscray, from 1884 until 1997 (except for a brief period at nearby Yarraville Oval, from 1941 to 1943). Home to the club's training facilities and administrative headquarters, the oval, nicknamed "The Kennel", was officially renamed Whitten Oval in 1995 in honour of club legend Ted Whitten, who died earlier that year. It underwent a A$20 million redevelopment in 2005.[18]

Melbourne's Princes Park became the Western Bulldogs' primary home ground from 1997 until 1999. Since 2000, the club has been based at Docklands Stadium (currently known as Etihad Stadium).


Western Bulldogs' club song is sung to the tune of "Sons of the Sea".

Sons of the west,
Red, white and blue,
We come out snarling, Bulldogs through and through.
Bulldogs bite and Bulldogs roar, we give our very best.
But you can't beat the boys of the Bulldog breed,
We're the team of the mighty West![19]

Before the club changed its name from Footscray to Western Bulldogs, the club song was called "Sons of the 'Scray", sung to the same tune but with different lyrics.


  • The home guernsey is primarily royal blue with a red and white hoop. The player numbers are white, and located high upon the back. Although the team officially trades under the name "Western Bulldogs", the initials "F.F.C." for Footscray Football Club, which still remains the club's official name, are placed on the back of the jumper immediately beneath the collar in small white capital letters.
  • The clash jumper is primarily white, with a red and blue hoop around the chest area. The player's number and F.F.C are blue, and located high upon the back.
  • The alternate clash jumper is primarily red, with a blue and white hoop around the chest area. The player's number and F.F.C. are white, and located high upon the back.

Real life mascot[edit]

Sid, the club's real-life mascot

The real-life mascot for the Western Bulldogs is a pedigree eight-year-old pure white British Bulldog named 'Sid' (pedigree name Murlane Bigshot). Sid appears at all of the Western Bulldogs home games at the Docklands Stadium wearing the club colours.[17] He can be seen walking around the perimeter of the ground prior to the game. He then waits for the players to come out on the ground; they give him a pat as they run past to the banner. During the game, Sid has a reserved area at the Footscray End (Gate 7), where fans can come and give him a pat and have their photo taken.


In 2014, the Bulldogs accepted an offer from comedian and supporter Danny McGinlay to write the messages that appear on the club's banners. While AFL clubs traditionally use banners to celebrate milestones or to write motivational messsages, McGinlay's "amusing pieces of throwaway banter" at the expense of opposing clubs have acquired cult status in the game, and occasionally proved controversial.[20][21]

In popular culture[edit]

William Ellis Green ("WEG"), cartoonist for The Herald, began a VFL/AFL Grand Final tradition in 1954 after drawing a full-page caricature of the Western Bulldogs mascot. It is the most valuable and sought-after of WEG's Grand Final posters.

Martin Flanagan's 1994 book Southern Sky, Western Oval reflects on the Western Bulldogs' fight for survival when it faced a merger with Fitzroy in the late 1980s. The award-winning documentary Year of the Dogs gives an inside look at the Western Bulldogs over the course of the 1996 AFL season.

Membership and attendance[edit]

Compared to other Victorian AFL clubs, the Western Bulldogs have had historically low membership numbers. However, in 2006 the club broke its membership record and continued to sustain these membership figures before another significant increase in 2010. Another record was broken by the end of the 2016 home and away season with the Western Bulldogs recording the fifth highest member growth of any AFL club.

Year Members Change Home and
1990 10,983 - 7th 22,290 -
1991 9,598 Decrease 1,385 10th 17,457 Decrease 4,833
1992 9,391 Decrease 207 2nd 20,909 Increase 3,452
1993 11,478 Increase 2,087 9th 21,085 Increase 176
1994 9,339 Decrease 2,139 5th 20,578 Decrease 507
1995 12,212 Increase 2,873 7th 21,989 Increase 1,411
1996 10,650 Decrease 1,562 15th 18,072 Decrease 3,917
1997 15,054 Increase 4,404 3rd 19,334 Increase 1,262
1998 20,064 Increase 5,010 3rd 23,832 Increase 4,498
1999 20,491 Increase 427 6th 24,023 Increase 191
2000 18,056 Decrease 2,435 8th 30,572 Increase 6,549
2001 19,085 Increase 1,029 10th 29,660 Decrease 912
2002 20,838 Increase 1,753 12th 25,518 Decrease 4,142
2003 21,260 Increase 422 16th 25,038 Decrease 480
2004 19,295 Decrease 1,965 14th 26,097 Increase 1,059
2005 21,975 Increase 2,680 9th 28,320 Increase 2,223
2006 26,042 Increase 4,067 8th 33,253 Increase 4,933
2007 28,725 Increase 2,683 13th 28,777 Decrease 4,476
2008 28,306 Decrease 419 3rd 30,275 Increase 1,498
2009 28,590 Increase 284 3rd 32,877 Increase 2,602
2010 34,842 Increase 6,252 4th 30,447 Decrease 2,430
2011 32,125 Decrease 2,717 10th 26,294 Decrease 4,153
2012 30,007 Decrease 2,118 15th 23,317 Decrease 2,977
2013 30,204 Increase 197 15th 22,132 Decrease 1,185
2014 31,725 Increase 1,521 14th 22,265 Increase 133
2015 35,991 Increase 4,266 6th 23,478 Increase 1,213
2016 39,459 Increase 3,468 7th 30,699 Increase 7,221

Notable supporters[edit]

Players and staff[edit]

Current squad[edit]

Western Bulldogs
Senior list Rookie list Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain

Updated: 20 October 2016
Source(s): Senior list, Rookie list, Coaching staff


  • President: Peter Gordon
  • Vice-President Susan Alberti AC
  • Directors
  • George Pappas
  • Ian Veal
  • Gaye Hamilton
  • Barry Hall
  • Geoff Walsh
  • Chris Grant (Director of Football)
  • Chief Executive Officer: Gary Kent
  • Chief Financial Officer: Wayne Tattersall
  • Chief Operating Officer: Michael Quinn
  • Chief Commercial Officer: Nick Truelson
  • General Manager of Football: Graham Lowe
  • Recruiting Manager: Simon Dalrymple
  • List Manager: Jason McCartney
  • High Performance Manager: Justin Cordy

Honours and achievements[edit]

Team awards[edit]

  • VFL/AFL premierships: 2
    • 1954, 2016
  • VFA/VFL premierships: 11 (Western Bulldogs did not participate in the VFA/VFL competition from the year 1925 to the year 2014)
    • 1898, 1899, 1900, 1908, 1913, 1919, 1920, 1923, 1924, 2014, 2016
  • VFL/ AFL Night Series: 5
    • 1963, 1964, 1967, 1970, 2010

Australian Football Hall of Fame players[edit]

Team of the Century[edit]

In May 2002, the club announced a team of the greatest players from the last century.

Footscray Team of the Century
B: Charlie Sutton Herb Henderson John Schultz
HB: Wally Donald Ted Whitten (Capt) John Jillard
C: Harry Hickey Allan Hopkins Doug Hawkins (Vice Capt)
HF: Alby Morrison Kelvin Templeton Chris Grant
F: Jack Collins Simon Beasley George Bisset
Foll: Gary Dempsey Scott West Brian Royal
Int: Jim Gallagher Arthur Oliver Brad Johnson
Norm Ware Tony Liberatore Scott Wynd
Coach: Charlie Sutton

Club records[edit]

Individual awards[edit]

Brownlow Medal winners[edit]

Main article: Brownlow Medal
Allan Hopkins, the club's first Brownlow Medalist
Leigh Matthews Trophy winner Luke Darcy

Note: Chris Grant gained the most votes in 1997 but was not eligible to win the award due to suspension

Norm Smith Medal winners[edit]

Main article: Norm Smith Medal

Leigh Matthews Trophy winners[edit]

Main article: Leigh Matthews Trophy

Coleman Medal winners[edit]

Main article: Coleman Medal

Club awards[edit]

Main article: Charles Sutton Medal

The Charles Sutton Medal is awarded annually to the Bulldogs player adjudged best and fairest over that season. Other club awards include the Scott West Most Courageous Player, Chris Grant Best First Year Player, Brad Johnson Best Team Player, and Tony Liberatore Most Improved Player.

Reserves team[edit]

In 1925, the year Footscray was admitted to the VFL, the club's reserves team began competing in the Reserves Grade competition. The team won six premierships between 1925 and 1999. Following the demise of AFL reserves competition in 2000, the reserves team was dissolved and a reserves affiliation was established with the new Victorian Football League's two western clubs: Werribee, from 2001 to 2007, and Williamstown, from 2008 until 2013.

After a fifteen-year recess, the club re-established a stand-alone reserves team to compete in the Victorian Football League from 2014 onward.[40] Known as the Footscray Bulldogs, the team plays its home games at Whitten Oval.[41] The team has since won two VFL premierships, in its first and third seasons of competition.[42] Brett Goodes and Lin Jong won the Norm Goss Memorial Medal for best-on-ground efforts in each respective grand final.

AFL Women's team[edit]

Further information: AFL Women's

In June 2013, the Western Bulldogs fielded a women's football side against Melbourne in the first AFL-sanctioned women's exhibition match, held at the MCG. The two teams competed annually over the next three years for the Hampson-Hardeman Cup.[43] In 2016, when the AFL announced plans for AFL Women's, an eight team national women's league competition, the Bulldogs were asked to submit an application for a license alongside other AFL clubs.[44] The club was one of four Melbourne-based clubs to be granted a license that year.[45]

The club's first players were marquee signings Katie Brennan and Ellie Blackburn.[46] They were joined in August by priority player Emma Kearney who had previously worked in an off-field role at the club.[47] In October, the club completed its inaugural playing list by adding 22 other senior listed and two rookie players in the league's draft and signing period. Former Monash Blues (VAFA) coach Paul Groves was named as the team's first head coach and football manager in August 2016.[48] The following month, the club signed three-year sponsorship agreements with Priceline, Bob Jane T-Marts and Pancake Parlour.[49]

The team's training base and administrative headquarters are located alongside the men's team at the Whitten Oval, and as part of the initial application, it plans to play home games at Whitten Oval, Eureka Stadium and Docklands Stadium.[44]

Best and fairest[edit]

The Susan Alberti Award, named after Western Bulldogs vice-president and staunch promoter of women's football Susan Alberti, is given each year to the women's team's best and fairest player. It was awarded in 2015 and 2016 for matches played in the women's exhibition series.

^ Denotes current player
Season Recipient Ref.
2015 Brennan, KatieKatie Brennan^ [50]
2016 Lambert, JamieeJamiee Lambert^ [51]


  • A History of the Footscray Football Club: Unleashed, by John Lack, Chris McConville, Michael Small and Damien Wright. Aus-Sport Enterprises Pty Ltd, 1996 ISBN 0-646-26215-7

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Footscray Football Club Limited" is the name of their parent company according to their ABN which also includes businesses such as hotels and a travel agent. The official name of the AFL team in particular is "Western Bulldogs". The VFL reserves team is called the Footscray Football Club. On the back neck of their AFL jumpers there is the initials "FFC"


  1. ^ a b "Current details for ABN 68 005 226 595". Australian Business Register. 12 July 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  2. ^ Dogs set to announce new coach, AFL.com.au official website, 14 November 2014
  3. ^ "New captain at Kennel in 2015". westernbulldogs.com.au. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Lionel Frost (25 September 2006). "Did the 1924 Bombers throw their last game?". AFL. Telstra Corporation Limited. Archived from the original on 10 July 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Lovett, Michael (Chief editor) (2010). AFL Record Season Guide. Geoff Slattery Media Group. p. 668. ISBN 978-0-9806274-5-9. 
  6. ^ Michael Stevens (4 October 1989). "No choice". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 72. 
  7. ^ Mark Stevens (4 September 2009). "The 20-year miracle". 
  8. ^ Unleashed – A History of the Footscray Football Club
  9. ^ Jennifer Witham (30 August 2009). "Bulldogs win secures third". 
  10. ^ Peter Hanlon (14 March 2010). "The difference - one big forward". The Age. Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  11. ^ "Match report: Dogs dust Swans to snap 62-year drought". AFL. 1 October 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  12. ^ Daniel Cherney (24 September 2016). "AFL finals 2016: GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs live". The Age. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  13. ^ Nicholson, Larissa (2 October 2016). "AFL grand final 2016: Luke Beveridge gives Bob Murphy his premiership medal", The Age. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Matthew Lloyd overcome by Luke Beveridge's gesture to Bob Murphy" (1 October 2016), 3AW. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  15. ^ Beveridge, Rily (2 October 2016). "Luke Beveridge gives premiership medal to Robert Murphy: Bulldogs coach explains his gesture", Fox Sports. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Western Bulldogs Luke Beveridge and Bob Murphy to put shared Jock McHale medal in club museum" (7 October 2016). ABC News. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  17. ^ a b Talbot, Christopher (26 August 2016). "What your footy team was once called and how it got its name", Herald Sun. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  18. ^ ABC News (23 September 2004). "Youth to benefit in Whitten Oval redevelopment". 
  19. ^ Club Song
  20. ^ Sharwood, Anthony (26 August 2014). "OK everybody, we admit we were wrong and didn’t get the Bulldogs banner joke. Happy now?", news.com.au. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  21. ^ Tyeson, Cam (28 September 2016). "The Western Bulldogs Have Been Spitting Hot Fire On Their Banners All Year", Pedestrian TV. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Anderson named Bulldogs ambassador" (20 May 2014), Western Bulldogs. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  23. ^ "Australians React To The Western Bulldogs Win" (25 September 2016), Triple M. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  24. ^ Nsenduluka, Benge (27 September 2016). "'I fired off the Western Bulldogs theme song': AFL fan Fifi Box recalls singing team's tune while GIVING BIRTH to daughter Trixie ahead of their first Grand Final in 55 years", Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  25. ^ Lalor, Peter (1 October 2016). "AFL Grand Final 2016: Bulldog faithful turn out in force for Swans showdown", The Australasian. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  26. ^ "Gillard number one at the Bulldogs". abc.net.au. 26 Feb 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  27. ^ "Bulldogs chase down Thor hottie". The Herald Sun. 23 April 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  28. ^ "Chris Hemsworth hails ‘Thor-like’ Western Bulldogs after AFL Grand Final victory", Herald Sun. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  29. ^ Perry, Kevin (29 September 2016). "Grand Final Friday Night Special: Bulldogs Road to Glory on Seven", Decider TV. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  30. ^ "60 Second Drill" (PDF). Retrieved 13 February 2016. 
  31. ^ "The Chaser Pledge". Courier-Mail. 28 March 2007. 
  32. ^ [1], Guardian Australia. Retrieved 4 Oct 2016.
  33. ^ "Never been so proud #bemorebulldog", Twitter. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  34. ^ "Would Bon Scott Have Supported The Dockers?". One Perth. 26 September 2013. 
  35. ^ McLachlan, Hamish (7 June 2015). "Hamish McLachlan: What you didn’t know about Hunters and Collectors frontman Mark Seymour", Herald Sun. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  36. ^ "Ernie Sigley" (PDF). 
  37. ^ "Doggies. My dad was there in 54 & he's there tonight. I'm celebrating from Chicago.", Twitter. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  38. ^ Western Bulldogs (2011). "Club Records over 100 games". BigPond. Western Bulldogs Official Website. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  39. ^ a b rleague.com. "Footscray/Western Bulldogs Leading Goalkickers". rleaguestats. rleague.com. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  40. ^ Western Bulldogs VFL team
  41. ^ Footscray Bulldogs to play at Victoria University Whitten Oval
  42. ^ Staff (21 September 2014). "Footscray comes from three goals down to claim VFL premiership by 22 points over Box Hill". Herald Sun. 
  43. ^ Twomey, Callum (16 October 2016). "First bounce for women's footy at the MCG". AFL.com.au. Bigpond. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  44. ^ a b "Women's team can be next generation heroes: Stevenson". Western Bulldogs. Bigpond. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  45. ^ "Bulldogs awarded inaugural license in National Women's League". Western Bulldogs. Bigpond. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  46. ^ "Brennan, Blackburn revealed as Bulldogs women's team marquee players". Western Bulldogs. Bigpond. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  47. ^ "Kearney chosen as Dogs' priority player". Western Bulldogs. Bigpond. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  48. ^ Schmook, Nathan (23 August 2016). "Paul Groves appointed women's head coach". AFL.com.au. Bigponf. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  49. ^ "Iconic brands named Women's Team partners". Western Bulldogs. Bigpond. 3 September 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  50. ^ "Katie Brennan". WesternBulldogs.com.au. Bigpond. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  51. ^ "Lambert top pick, 19 added to women's team". Western Bulldogs. Bigpond. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 

External links[edit]