What The World Was Like When: The Dogs Played A Grand Final


It has been a long wait for Western Bulldogs fans.

With their memorable Preliminary Final  victory over the Greater Western Sydney Giants, the Western Bulldogs secured a Grand Final berth for the first time since 1961.

That is not a typo – it truly has been 55 years since the Bulldogs played in a Grand Final, which they lost to Hawthorn, and it would be an understatement to say that the world was a much different place.

St George Were In The Middle Of A Dynasty

St George scored a comfortable victory over Western Suburbs to win the 1961 NSWRL Grand Final and they were well into one of the most impressive dynasties in the history of Australia sport.

The 1961 Grand Final victory delivered them their eighth straight premiership (of 11) and their star-studded team included the likes of Dave Brown, Reg Gasnier, Norm Provan and Johnny Raper.

Everybody Was Loving The Cricket

Test Cricket was somewhat on the nose heading into the 1960s, but that all changed during a memorable test series at the end of 1960 and the start of 1961.

Australia and the West Indies – led by Richie Benaud and Frank Worrell respectively – played in what remains the greatest test series in the history of cricket, which was highlighted by the first ever tied Test.

JFK Was President Of The United States

John F. Kennedy was sworn in as President Of The United States in January of 1961 and he was President the last time that the Bulldogs played in a Grand Final.

It was a busy first year in the job for JFK – he didn’t get off to a good start with Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev and he was forced to invade Cuba in what became known as the Bay Of Pigs Invasion.

Robert Menzies Was Prime Minister

Robert Menzies was the prime minister of Australia for a hell of a long time, so it should come as no surprise that he was our leader the last time that the Bulldogs were in the Grand Final.

Menzies himself was actually a Carlton fan, but they were never able to win a flag during his time in office.

Johnny O’Keefe Had The Number 1 Song In Australia

The last time that the Bulldogs played in a Grand Final, Johnny O’Keefe had the number one song in the country in the form of I’m Counting On You.

Johnny is better known to modern audiences as the uncle of television personality Andrew O’Keefe, but don’t hold that against him.

Luke Beveridge Wasn’t Alive

Not only were none of the 2016 Western Bulldogs list alive the last time that their club played in a Grand Final, but even coach Luke Beveridge was still a long way away from being even a twinkle in his father’s eye.

Beveridge was born in 1970 and he is actually the oldest coach left in finals contention.

Tulloch Was The Reigning Cox Plate Champion

The 1960s was an outstanding time to be a horse racing fan and the great Tulloch was the reigning Cox Plate champion the last time that the Bulldogs played in a Grand Final.

Tulloch, trained by the legendary Tommy Smith, won 36 of his 53 race starts and he won just about every major event on the Australian Racing calendar – outside of a Melbourne Cup.

In 1961 he took out both the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Brisbane Cup, but he was retired before he had the chance to defend his Cox Plate title.

Construction Of The Berlin Wall Had Just Begun

The Berlin Wall has now been gone for the better part of 30 years, but in 1961 construction had only just begun.

The construction of the wall started on August 13 to stop those from East Berlin fleeing to the West and would be a symbol of the Cold War for almost 40 years.

Ted Whitten Was Bulldogs Captain

He is the biggest name in the history of the club and Ted Whitten was the last player to lead the Bulldogs into a Grand Final.

Bob Murphy is arguably the Bulldogs favourite son of the post-Whitten era and even though he won’t be out on the field on Saturday night it would be fitting if he was club captain when they made their long-awaited return to the Grand Final.

The Beatles Were Virtual Unknowns

It seems impossible to think that a world once existed where The Beatles were not household names.

The Beatles were formed in 1960 and they played their first gig at the famous Cavern Club in 1961.

Tottenham Were English Football Champions

Tottenham are the Bulldogs of English Football – it has been an extremely long time since they won anything of note.

In 1961 they completed the English League/FA Cup double and that was the last time that they finished on top of the top flight of English Football.

West Side Story Was The Number 1 Film

The Parent Trap, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and Breakfast At Tiffany’s were all released in 1961, but it was the musical West Side Story that was the highest grossing film of the year.

I’m going to lie – I have never seen it, but apparently it is a good watch.

Richmond Were Still No Good At Football

It was a season to forget for Richmond fans in 2016 and the same could be said about 1961.

Richmond finished tenth on the table – ahead of only South Melbourne and North Melbourne – and they made history against St Kilda in round 16 when they became the first team to be held goalless in a match since 1921.

That feat has not been repeated by Richmond or any other club.

Australia Were Davis Cup Champions

We have Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, but back when the Bulldogs last played in a Grand Final Australia’s Davis Cup team was made up of true gentlemen Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Neale Fraser.

The Aussies defeated Italy 5-0 to retain the trophy and we have won the Davis Cup on a further 11 occasions since the Bulldogs last played in a Grand Final.

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