This could be Bulldogs' year: Hawkins - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

This could be Bulldogs' year: Hawkins

By Sam Lienert 04/09/2009 12:06:55 PM Comments (0)

The Western Bulldogs' strong finish to the regular season has convinced former club great Doug Hawkins they have what it takes to break the AFL's longest ongoing premiership drought.

Wins over Brisbane, Geelong and Collingwood in the final three rounds have persuaded Hawkins that the current Dogs can outdo his own side, which fell 10 points short in a preliminary final in 1985, and the 1997 team, which was pipped by two points at the same stage of the season.

The club's last grand final appearance was in 1961 and their sole premiership in 1954.

"Five or six weeks ago I wasn't quite sure, I wasn't quite convinced about them," Hawkins told AAP.

"But their last three or four weeks have really said to me, these blokes are playing terrific footy, they're right in the hunt, they've beaten those sides, they believe in themselves.

"I don't think they're worried too much about the '54 hangover thing on them - 'We've got to win one, we've only won one'.

"I think that's past history for them and I think these boys now are prepared, they're ready to create their own bit of history."

Hawkins praised newly-reappointed coach Rodney Eade, in his fifth year at the helm, and said the Bulldogs had assembled impressive depth.

"I don't think the club relies on just that great individual brilliance that we have in the past, I think they're more even than the '97, '98 sides, with Chris Grant and these sorts of blokes, Scotty West," he said.

"Even '85, with Brad Hardie and these type of guys who were brilliant players."

Hawkins said the current side was consistently well served in the midfield by Adam Cooney, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Cross, had a solid ruckman in Ben Hudson and "the premier fullback in the competition" Brian Lake.

And he lauded the support cast for star forwards Brad Johnson and Jason Akermanis.

"You've got Robert Murphy back in the side and ready to play and young Shaun Higgins, who wears (Hawkins' former) No.7, he can play, the future captain of the club, there's no doubt about that.

"They're not just relying on a couple of blokes, they're prepared to share the workload and that's a sign of a good side and I reckon they are."

Hawkins would be "absolutely delighted" if the Dogs could break through.

"There'd be a lot of happiness about it for Dougy Hawkins, I'd be very happy for these blokes, because (we'd have) won our second grand final.

"People could drop us and leave us alone for a little bit."

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