Denver Report

On October 14 and 15 in Los Angeles, the Bulldogs won all six of their games and overcame the San Diego Lions in a hard fought Grand Final to come out the Year 2000 Premiers.

Matt Dainauski, the Bulldogs President, said it was a victory that the Doggies knew they were capable of, "going all the way back to last year's National Championships - this time, Denver had their day". Coach 'Rusty' Waugh said: "several clubs showed up with nearly double our personnel - but we always had more out there with our desire and passion".

In the championship game, neither club showed any evidence of having competed in five 40-minute games during the previous 30 hours, and the intensity and determination of both clubs proved to the inspired crowd that these two teams were the rightful participants of the premiership decider. The rules of the USAFL stipulate that teams must always present at least 40-percent of their field as American Nationals, and it was the strength of Denver's non-Australian contingent that really helped to bring the Premiership home for the Dogs. Denver American Ruckman, Larry Butterfield won the tournament MVP, and Kyle Weir, another American got the Grand Final's Best on Ground, both outstanding achievements. In addition, two other Americans, James Dawe and Matt Dainauski kicked goals for the Bulldogs in the Grand Final. The American level of talent is magnificent. Also giving extraordinary contributions were American brothers Charlie and Tommy Ellis, and Aussie natives, Rich Mann, Pete Treyvaud, and Benny Harling. The depth of field goes far in Bulldogs land, and the other 15 members of the Denver squad: I. Aneloski, J. Baldwin, C. Candelaria, J. Cuddihy, J. Grubb, M. Karver, J. Loss, I. McNiece, G. Merritt, D. Miller, P. Renouf, C. Richards, A. Tonkin, R. Waugh, also played their football roles to perfection and are enjoying their triumph.

The first half of the Grand Final was an even affair with neither side taking command. Then a San Diego player was sent off for the remainder of the half for a late vicious hit on our star backman, Charles Richards. Denver did not make the most of the opportunity though, and when the half time siren was sounded, the Bulldogs were only seven-points up 2.2.(14) to 1.1.(7). With San Diego having an ex-AFL player, Cameron O'Brien of the Brisbane Lions, playing at full-forward, the Doggies were by no means home with this lead. However, the second half really showed the determination of a team that wanted the win more and although the Dogs peppered the goals without much success - the football rarely got across the center to give the Lions a chance at getting back into it.
Final Score: 3.4.(22) to 3.2.(20)

Bulldogs victorious!

In prior games, Denver overwhelmed the Atlanta Kookaburras, Phoenix Scorpions, and Baltimore Eagles to seed as number one going into the finals. Quarter and semifinal wins against Atlanta and the Santa Cruz Roos were team-lifting games for the Dogs due to the intensity and hardness of enthusiastic players looking to place a berth as champs. The semi-final against the Santa Cruz Roos was particular inspiring because of the comeback in the second half to rectify a deficit and win it decidedly.

The Bulldogs wish to thank the wives and friends that supported them this weekend as well as throughout the year. We are also grateful to the USAFL and their sponsors for putting on such a wonderfully organized event. We appreciate the support of our AFL sister club, the Western Bulldogs with our requests for footballs, jumpers, and the like. Finally, our sincerest commiserations go out to the San Diego Lions, who played with spirit and determination, and were gracious in defeat.

More information about the Denver Bulldogs can be found at our website: The Doggies are always looking for new talent, for both playing and social duties. Please contact us to see how you can be involved with the best footy team in the country.

Who Let The Dogs Out?

- Paul Renouf

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