The Western Bulldogs party showed no signs of slowing down on Sunday as around 20,000 fans filled Whitten Oval to celebrate the club’s drought-breaking, and thrilling, AFL grand final victory.
But it was a comment from club president Peter Gordon about Sydney star Lance Franklin that dominated headlines.
Franklin, clearly hampered by an ankle injury suffered in the first quarter of Saturday’s decider, had 16 disposals but kicked just one goal in Sydney’s surprise 22-point loss to the Bulldogs.
While Franklin struggled, another player on a big money deal – young Bulldogs prospect Tom Boyd – stole the show.
Boyd, the No.1 selection in the 2013 AFL Draft, proved his worth to the Dogs with a display that included 14 disposals, 14 hit outs, eight crucial marks and three goals.
He missed out on the Norm Smith Medal – unfairly, according to many – but was singled out for praise by Gordon at a function on Saturday evening.
“A couple of years ago, we did a deal to get a young fella called Tom Boyd to the club [from Greater Western Sydney],” he said, according to The Age.
“We haven’t disclosed the details of that contract – it’s obviously a fair whack [it is reported Boyd will earn $6million over six years].
“Truthfully, when it happened, the ‘Buddy’ [Franklin] deal had happened a year earlier and I’ll confess I had no idea of the obsession, jealousy, hatred and malice that some of the Melbourne media would portray towards that [Boyd’s] contract.
“Every time he might have missed a mark or done something not particularly perfect, the way it would reflect on him, on me, on the club and how inappropriate it was for an uppity, young club like the Bulldogs to even contemplate a deal like that.”
Gordon went on to compare Boyd and Franklin – and have a cheeky sledge at the latter.
“And then I thought about that this week when someone said, ‘if Buddy Franklin kicks a few goals today and Sydney win the game because of that contribution, that in itself will justify a much larger deal [than Boyd’s] of $11million over 11 years [it is reportedly $10million over nine years] for that recruitment two years ago,” he said.
“Good luck to Buddy, he kicked one today.
“But our Tom kicked three – and it could so easily have been four – and took eight marks.
“I want you to know, Tom, I couldn’t be more proud of you.
“For all the s**t you put up with … we saw the way you took on [GWS ruckman] Shane Mumford when Roughy [Jordan Roughead] had his eye injury last week and we saw what you did today.”
Bob Murphy: ‘We love them’
He didn’t play but injured Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy was the story of grand final day.
The club veteran, who seriously injured his knee in April, was given Luke Beveridge’s premiership medal and then lifted the cup with Easton Wood in the image that defined the day.
Addressing the club’s supporters on Sunday, Murphy paid tribute to those who played.
“I couldn’t do much yesterday,” he told the Whitten Oval crowd.
“Hitting my chest, hitting my heart [as he did post-match] was the best way I could describe the way we all feel about these 22 boys.
“They play with an incredible amount of heart. We love them.”
Beveridge hailed the fans for turning out in such big numbers.
“This is unbelievably overwhelming,” he said.
“Obviously this will be imprinted in our minds forever until we turn the soil and end up in the ground.
“To see so much blue, red and white, all out devoted supporters, seeing toddlers down here who have been forced to support us by their parents and to see supporters who are quite ill, who have forced themselves to get down here to make sure they experience it … it is quite overwhelming.”