Matthew Boyd of the Western Bulldogs during a training session at Whitten Oval.
Matthew Boyd of the Western Bulldogs during a training session at Whitten Oval. TRACEY NEARMY

Numbers stack up against Bulldogs

AFL: The Bulldogs weren't supposed to be contesting this year's grand final.

They had the skill, sure, but on age and experience alone the boys from the kennel were at least a few years away from being ready to grace the biggest stage.

Well, so we thought.

When the siren sounds for the start of the premiership decider against Sydney, the Bulldogs' 22 will collectively have 1807 games of experience (an average of 82.1).

That's in complete contrast to the 3670 (average 166.8) the Hawks had in 2015 - the oldest flag winner in VFL/AFL history at an average age of 27 years, 304 days.

Similarly, the Brisbane Lions side that lost the 2004 grand final had 3661 games (average 166.4) behind it.

The Swans today, meanwhile, have 2519 games of experience (average 114.5).

But the Bulldogs will certainly be keen to take a leaf out of the book of the famous "Baby Bombers" of 1993.

That Essendon side fielded 20 players - when there were still just two on the bench - who had appeared in 1717 games (average 85.8).

But as young as those Bombers were, the Bulldogs will aim to become the second-least-experienced team to win an AFL premiership after Adelaide in 1997 - the Crows, with 21 players in a team by then, totalled just 1534 matches (average 73).

They will be the least-experienced team to contest a grand final since Melbourne in 2000, which had 22 players totalling 1754 games (average 79.7).

The Demons had eight players with less than 50 appearances. The Bulldogs will have nine.

The Dogs' overall numbers are boosted significantly by the inclusion of former skipper Matty Boyd, who with 281 games has has waited the fifth longest time to play in a grand final, after Paul Roos (314), Shane Crawford (305), Paul Williams (294) and Matthew Pavlich (291).



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