History was on offer for both teams with victory in this match. For the Giants, victory would see them advance to their first ever AFL Grand Final. Victory for the Bulldogs would see them become the first team to qualify for a Grand Final from seventh position and bring to an end a run of seven consecutive Preliminary Final defeats.
Small forward would prove vital in this contest, Clay Smith would kick four goals for the Bulldogs as would Tory Dickson. For the Giants, Toby Greene would also claim four. The odd man out in this small man feast was Jon Patton who would help himself to four majors too.
Controversially the match was played at Spotless Stadium, rather than the larger SCG or Telstra Stadium, and the venue was packed to the brim. While it was played in the west of Sydney you would have been forgiven for thinking it was south of the border, with travelling Bulldogs fans taking up the majority of seats.
The Bulldogs, who had made a habit of cheeky banners throughout the 2016 season, didn’t disappoint on this occasion. Easton Wood and his team ran through a banner that read, ‘Our club was formed in blood and boots not in AFL focus groups’.
A see-sawing encounter, this one was in the balance right up until the final siren. The Giants looked to have grabbed a handy advantage late in the third quarter but were unable to stem a Bulldogs charge that ultimately saw them grab the lead through a Marcus Bontempelli goal in the last quarter. Despite a nervous finish and a spirited Giants fightback, the Bulldogs would hold on to claim a famous victory.
2016 Second Preliminary Final
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.1 5.2 9.7 12.11 (83)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.3 6.5 9.6 13.11 (89)
Greater Western Sydney: Patton 4, Greene 3, Lobb 3, D. Smith, Shaw
Western Bulldogs: C. Smith 4, Dickson 4,Cordy 2, Daniel, Bontempelli, Macrae
Greater Western Sydney: Kelly, Scully, Patton, Coniglio, Wilson, Greene
Western Bulldogs: C. Smith, Dahlhaus, Dickson, Morris, Wood, Johannisen, Macrae, Picken
Greater Western Sydney: Ward (concussion)
Western Bulldogs: Roughead (eye)
Umpires: Nicholls, Schmitt, Meredith
Official crowd: 21,790 at Spotless Stadium