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Canberra Bulldogs (Landrover Alternity)

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Canberra Bulldogs

CANBbulldogsLogo
2015 Result Missed Finals (10th H/A)
Established 1990 (merger); as Fitzroy Bulldogs until 2009
Competition

Australian Football League

Colors Red, Blue, White
Premierships 1 (1998)
Ground StarTrack Oval
Fitzroy Lions 1897 (nee Maroons; Gorillas); Flags (9 - 1898, 1899, 1904, 1905, 1913, 1916, 1922, 1944)
Melbourne Demons 1877 {AFL-1925}; Flags (1 - 1954)

Footscray Fitzroy Football Club Ltd. is an Australian rules football club competing in the Australian Football League and was established in 1989 prior to the 1990 season. The merger of Fitzroy Lions and Footscray Bulldogs resulted the club's formation. The club have two premierships dating to 1998.

History

The Footscray Bulldogs

The 'Scray became one of the sides absorbed by the AFL in 1925 after leaving the Victorian Football Association where the club was the winners of nine premierships between a twenty-seven season span of 1898 and 1924. Despite their successes, the club only managed one VFL title after joining the competition. In 1989, a campaign was made by club barrackers to donate funds, in which over two million dollars were raised in roughly three weeks time. Despite the support, the leagues plans for expansion beyond Victoria meant that there was a felt need to contract Inner-Melbourne-based clubs.

The Fitzroy Lions

The Lions began as one of the two superpowers everyone else wanted to be alongside Collingwood, having won four of the first nine VFL flags. This was immediately followed by Carlton becoming a big player to interrupt the next round of less frequent Fitzroy premierships in the coming pair of decades. As the VFL expanded in 1925, the flags were starting to disappear as just one more flag would come in 1944. Then, the lackluster season began to mount and periodically ended with the wooden spoon - particularly in the 60s. Despite recent history, Fitzroy seemed to be somehow stringing together pockets of wins, but continuing to miss out on finals by a win or two between 1987 and 1989. In that same span of time, Fitzroy like its neighbor Bulldogs were on the verge of a financial collapse, but not yet to the point of bankruptcy. However, many were skeptical that the lions should have anything to do with the Dogs. It then became a debate for the ages leading into the offseason.

The Media Love Affair Merger

Though everyone had thought the fans at Whitten Oval had won the fight to keep their club partially failed. Fitzroy had still not been in talks of merger with anyone, much less Footscray. The media constantly we're playing the every other day game with new rumors constantly circulating regarding both clubs though more so the Lions as to whether they will make a move on the Dogs. The league board deliberated on which club to keep. A consideration was made to save the bulldogs given the Lions fall from success and the strong support from the barrackers. Unfortunately for the barrackers, one previous member of the Lions (Kevin Murray) decided to make an offer to save the club to keep Fitzroy afloat at least for the short term, after which a motion was made to the league board to absorb Footscray and their newly inherited money to Princes Park. The league sought a guarantee of an additional $500,000 from Murray to be pumped into team assets upfront. Following this, the 'Scray board voted 5-2 in favor of the merge. The first announcement was made at Whitten Oval to an outstanding attendance from Dogs supporters that the club have agreed to terms to play at Fitzroy, but to train at Whitten Oval. The following day, Princes Park was a site where the Footscray half of personnel were greeted with the utmost affection from Fitzroy's faithful standing at the personnel entrance preceding the official media press conference.

The Fitzroy Bulldogs Experiment

This became an exciting time for the league. As the merger was announced, soon after at Princes Park, it was also announced that a team had been approved to take Footscray's place for the season after next in 1991 in South Australia to become the third team to expand outside of Victoria and fourth overall. Over the course of the 90s, the club would be consistently inconsistent in a virtually every other year cycle through 1996 when they finished with their second most recent wooden spoon. From there, a drastic jump to third place in 1997 saw the beginning of the clubs height as a second place home-and0away finish was good enough on the road to the flag before slowly fizzling out over the next five seasons. Things weren't terribly bad, but the expansion in the mid-2000s did help in the matter.

On the Move

Prior to the 2008 season that the club would play one of the three test matches in Canberra, the second featuring Geelong, and a third between the two. Though a Victorian club, the league came to a decision siding with the Cats on the premise that the club aren't actually in Melbourne. Thus the Fitzroy Bulldogs were moving to Canberra after the end of the following season. What happened next had surprised everyone. The Doggies went on to finish third in the home and away portion of the competition from twelfth of thirteen clubs. It was even considered once guaranteed a finals match that a provision be made that if the club made the preliminary final that there would be a one season delay in the move for "further assessment" while a Grand Final appearance would push it back three seasons with a flag cancelling the whole transaction. Following a comfortable four kick win over Carlton, there was cautious optimism floating around until the start of the second term the following week against St.Kilda. The Swans opened the match kicking nine straight to the Dogs three goals four. Fitzroy went on to lose by ninety and ended the fairytale of the proposition and the club's tenure in Victoria.

Canberra and Beyond

The success following the magical 2008 was somewhat short-lived as the team never had a better finish but did see three more finals appearances. Canberra returned to their inconsistent ways as the had after the merger to where they currently flip flop. Though their draw for two time home-and-away opponents is somewhat relaxed than in recent years ahead of 2016.

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