The Canterbury Bulldogs are a team in the National Rugby League competition here in Australia. I have been a mad Bulldogs fan all of my life: ridden the highs and lows, the eight premierships (most recently 2004) the wooden spoons, the heartbreaks of losing grand finals (two of those in the last three years) and the gut wrenching calamity of the 2002 salary cap breach. I am very tense watching the Bulldogs play whether I am there at the ground or watching on television. They are a consistently good team, most years mentioned in pre season talk as at least certain finalists, and can be extremely good. The problem is we often win ugly.
Some teams perform like the well oiled machines that professional teams should be, and they do it week in and week out. You know what you are going to get. They will win more than they lose and even when they lose it will not be by much. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, are a little bit ‘rocks and diamonds’. They sometimes play as though they would rather be doing something else, and this results in them getting their pants pulled down, as in the infamous loss to the Titans late last season. They sometimes play as if this is the last game they will ever play. Fans are never quite sure which Bulldogs team will run on to the park.
It’s frustrating to watch, really maddening. True fans, like myself, spend a lot of time yelling at them to wake up to themselves. Most of us have never played what is arguably the physically toughest team sport in the world. Nevertheless, we expect our team to smash lowly ranked opponents and to win by any means against highly fancied teams. I want to watch us win pretty. Comfortably. Complete domination. As exciting as last round’s 'come from behind' win in extra time was to watch, I would much prefer the excitement of watching the boys run in seven or eight tries to nothing. Too much to ask? Perhaps, but that’s why I follow the Bulldogs. Victory and glory.
Who’s your favourite team? Do they drive you mad?