WA Western Bulldogs Supporters Group treasurer Pat Costello was just six years old when the Dogs won their only premiership in 1954 – and he hopes the team will end its 62-year drought tomorrow against Sydney.
The group will gather at the Inglewood Hotel to watch their side play in its first grand final since 1961.
A Tuart Hill resident, Mr Costello (68) said long-standing members were full of excitement ahead of the game and were planning to be at the pub from 9am.
“This last week has been full of hope and it has also been full of memories for loved ones that have left us and died over the last 40 years,” he said.
“I am confident that there are red, blue and white clouds up there (and they) are just enjoying the ride.”
Mr Costello said he had stayed loyal to his team and had always been the sole Dogs supporter in every workplace.
“I was lucky enough to be a 13-year-old when they last played a grand final in 1961; it was devastating,” he said.
“In 1954, I remember the family gathering outside the Footscray Tavern and a lot of people were very, very happy.”
Mr Costello said he would be part of a “journey” at Inglewood Hotel tomorrow morning.
“The emotions, the highs and the lows I am going to experience tomorrow will be done completely differently from just looking back as an independent observer,” he said.
“Yes it is only a game but it is that sense of companionship and camaraderie of gathering together of people who love the club for whatever particular reason.”
Mr Costello believed the Dogs were a good chance to win a second premiership, having beaten Sydney twice this year.
“We would rather play the Swans than Geelong; we as a team are better suited to beat the Swans at their own game,” he said.
His Norm Smith prediction is Bulldogs midfielder Marcus Bontempelli and he praised the 20-year-old’s personality and playing style.
“I am not biased but as a young man, he is actually exceptional…I have met him and he has got such a level head on his shoulders,” he said.
“He just seems to be moving in slow motion when other people around him are rushing to get the ball.”
He said he was proud of his team’s season and was confident they would lift the premiership cup at about 3pm tomorrow.
“It is not the end of the world if we lose because we’ve got a young team, the future is good and the club is in good hands,” he said.
“If they win the grand final, I can die a happy man.”