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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 10112

Mr WATTS (Gellibrand) (16:00): I rise today to pay tribute to the mighty Footscray Bulldogs team, who scored their third consecutive VFL grand final win yesterday. Ninety years after Con McCarthy led Footscray to back-to-back-to-back state league flags in 1923 and 1924, Chris Maple's charges made it a threepeat in Footscray's first year back in the VFL competition as a stand-alone outfit. It should be noted that the Bulldogs left the then VFA, after winning the flag in 1924, to join the VFL ranks. 2014 marks their return to the VFL, and what a way to come back—winning the flag. The score at the final siren was Footscray 109 to Box Hill Hawks 87—a great result, considering Box Hill's dastardly ploy to play Hawthorn premiership champion Cyril Rioli in the VFL final. Trailing by 18 points early in the final term, the grid of the playing group, led by best-on-ground Brett Goodes and Lin Jong in the midfield, wrestled back control to kick the last six goals of the game. Goodes and Jong demonstrate the success of Indigenous Australians and of multiculturalism in footy in Melbourne's west, and they are heroes across the football fields in Melbourne's west today.

The crowd of 23,816 was an attendance record at the VFL Grand Final at Etihad and the biggest VFL crowd in over 30 years. I congratulate the president of the Footscray Bulldogs, Peter Gordon, and the CEO, Simon Garlick, for their vision in fielding a stand-alone VFL side, and particularly for bringing footy back to Whitten Oval. I had the pleasure of giving my daughter her first taste of suburban footy at Whitten Oval at the derby with Williamstown Seagulls earlier this year, and I keenly anticipate making it a family tradition in the future.