The Western Bulldogs are into the grand final for the first time in 55 years after beating GWS by six points in the game of the season at Sydney Showgrounds.In a match that ebbed and flowed for four quarters, it was the Bulldogs who got their noses in front when the final siren sounded, edging the despairing Giants 13.11 (89) to 12.11 (83).
The Giants certainly weren't helped by a concussion to co-captain Callan Ward, and will head to the off-season safe in the knowledge that while this is an opportunity missed, it won't be the last for this team.
But the grand final awaits for the Bulldogs, something fans haven't been able to say since 1961. They will have the backing of almost every neutral supporter in the country at the MCG next Saturday.
Western Bulldogs hope their grit in clutch moments can propel them past Sydney to their first AFL premiership in more than half a century.The Bulldogs again displayed a knack for closing out close games in Saturday's preliminary final, seizing back a one-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and extending it to six to break Greater Western Sydney's hearts.
Next Saturday at the MCG, in their first grand final since 1961, they will be gunning for a repeat against a Swans side readying for their third season-decider in five years.
If there is anything in favour of Luke Beveridge's battle-hardened squad, it is their record for heaving themselves back from the brink.
They did so against the Swans three months ago, pipping them by four points at the SCG when Jason Johannisen scored with just two seconds remaining.
Including that round 15 clash, Sydney has lost three matches in the last 90 seconds this season, prompting questions about their ability to make it count in critical moments.
While John Longmire's new generation have well and truly silenced any critics this finals series, they will be up against a Dogs team built on the resilience that's helped them grind out six wins by 10 points or less across an injury-riddled season.
Forward Tory Dickson, who booted four goals against the Giants, said it had increased his team's belief they could add to the Dogs' only premiership of 1954.