Western Bulldogs players celebrate their win over Essendon in round 21, 2000. Picture: AFL Photos

IT WAS the day the 'super-flood' was born. 

Western Bulldogs coach Terry Wallace's radical plan to sink Kevin Sheedy's all-conquering Essendon side has been remembered as much for Wallace's visionary tactics as for the result - the Bombers' first loss of the 2000 season following 20 successive wins. 


Fuelled by the bitter pain of a shock preliminary final loss to arch rival Carlton in 1999, Sheedy's Bombers were on a mission in 2000. Undefeated after 20 games with a percentage of 164.9 and coming off a 26-point win against the second-placed Blues the previous week, few gave the Bulldogs (11 wins, nine losses, 104.0 per cent) a chance of ending the Dons' streak. 

A perfect season - a feat never achieved in VFL/AFL history - looked to be at the Bombers' mercy.

The pundits didn't count on the Dogs' ability to execute Wallace's plan, though. 

Nathan Brown and Michael Long in action during the Western Bulldogs' clash with Essendon in round 21, 2000. Picture: AFL Photos

In an era where full-ground defence was yet to be implemented on a regular basis and one-on-one contests were still the norm, Wallace's decision to stack the backline and restrict the space for Matthew Lloyd and Scott Lucas paid off handsomely. The absence of James Hird, injured the previous week against the Blues, didn't help the Dons' cause either. 

The Bulldogs' hard-working midfield, led by Scott West, Jose Romero, Tony Liberatore and Nathan Brown, was dominant, while skipper Chris Grant was magnificent up forward, taking 12 marks to go with his 29 disposals and two goals - including the match-winner. 


The scenes at the end of the game were reminiscent of a finals victory, such was the Bulldogs' jubilation. And indeed, the win sealed a finals berth that year for the Dogs. 

While the dream of a perfect season was gone, the loss was but a blip on the Bombers' march to the flag. They beat Collingwood in the last game of the home and away season before steamrolling their rivals in the finals. North Melbourne (125 points), Carlton (45 points) and Melbourne (60 points) never stood a chance. 

The Bulldogs lost in the first week of finals action that year as an ageing squad failed to reach the preliminary final heights of 1997 and 1998, but the memory of a stunning win under the roof at Docklands has outlasted that disappoinment. 

Brad Johnson and Chris Grant leave the field after the Western Bulldogs' win over Essendon in round 21, 2000. Picture: AFL Photos