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Hollywood royalty join revelry in Bulldogs' rooms

Bulldogs roar out the song The Western Bulldogs team song
It's the rebirth of a club that was going the right way, but this just gives it a magnificent boost
Former Bulldogs chairman David Smorgon

HERE IS how special the dressing rooms are in the minutes after a premiership win.

Hollywood royalty – Chris and Liam Hemsworth – can stand quietly at the back of the room, soaking up the excitement together with their fellow Bulldogs brethren, while barely being bothered for an autograph or a selfie.

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In the hour or so after winning a premiership, the big dogs in the Western Bulldogs were the 22 players (plus winged skipper Robert Murphy), who made their way back to the rooms after what must have been the slowest and sweetest victory lap in the history of the MCG.

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The stubbies were flowing (although in the case of Jake Stringer, it was a longneck of Melbourne Bitter) as the players took in the magnitude of what they had just achieved.

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Generations of Bulldogs people were taking it all in, with reactions ranging from disbelief, to "I told you so".

Ray Baxter, an 80-game player between 1958 and 1964 and a former board member, had his doubts.

"When we went to Perth I had my doubts, but it's been a whirlwind," he said.

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Stranding alongside him was 1961 Brownlow Medalist John Schultz, who has been at the club all year as a mentor/spiritual adviser. Not long before, he had presented the premiership cup to Easton Wood and Murphy.

"I thought we'd get there," Schultz said.

"This is an amazing group of players and coaching staff. They have a lot of character, these boys. The VFL boys stepped up (last week) and these boys followed suit. I'm just so proud of them."

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Scarcely believing his eyes was David Smorgon, the 17-year chairman of the Bulldogs. He changed the name of the club, its home ground and its entire ethos during his time in charge, although not without a few hairy moments along the way.

"All those meetings, all those arguments, pushing the barrow and the arguments with the AFL, renegotiating with the banks, working out what to give the members and moving to Etihad, it's all been bloody well worth it," Smorgon said.

"You saw the fans and how jubilant they were, it's just remarkable. It's the rebirth of a club that was going the right way, but this just gives it a magnificent boost. It's historic.

"I'm not putting a ceiling on this club and how big it could become. You saw the fans at the parade and here today. It was the best Grand Final ever."

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Smorgon spoke for the room when he said this would be a widely-celebrated, widely-shared premiership.

"I always dreamed about it, but there was always a doubt because we had gone so close before," he said.

"But we thing about the Western Bulldogs is that we always believe. We wouldn't exist if we didn't believe."

You'd better believe it now. The Western Bulldogs are the 2016 premiers. Bring on a celebration the west of Melbourne has never seen the likes of for 62 years.