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Former Dogs captains back Weightman after divisive display


There was a hum of energy emanating from Cody Weightman on Sunday.

On a day of inclement weather in Launceston, the small forward was the lightning rod that sparked the Western Bulldogs into action as they defeated Essendon by 49 points in the Elimination Final.

Weightman finished with four goals and was the recipient of six free kicks in what ended up being a significant performance in the overall scheme of things.

Although his display was fortuitous at times, most would say the 20-year-old did not deserve the online vitriol labelling him a “cheat”, a “diver” and a “flop” that he was subjected to in the aftermath.

Former Bulldogs captain Brad Johnson was a keen observer of the game and was firmly in Weightman’s corner regarding all but one of the decisions that fell his way.

“I thought three were there and one wasn’t,” Johnson said on SEN’s Dwayne’s World.

“The one in the forward pocket I didn’t think was a free kick at all.

“The other, he stayed low but (Sam) Draper did throw his arm high though. You put yourself at risk as an opposition player if you’re swinging your arm in that motion, he clipped him in the head and that’s what the umpire sees in that situation.

“The other two were definitely there, the hold from (Marty) Gleeson and the other high (tackle).

“From that point of view, for me there was the one (bad decision) realistically in that game and that was the one on the boundary line we’re all talking about.”

Johnson also looked at it from an overall perspective with the free kick count ending 22-14 in favour of the Dogs.

“It went a bit both ways at times throughout the game,” he added.

“There were a couple of free kicks the Bombers got, the reversal, and the Aaron Francis one where he hit the deck. I didn’t think they were free kicks either and they got paid.

“I’m talking from a level point of view, not talking as a Bulldogs supporter.”

Another former Dogs skipper, Bob Murphy, felt the negativity directed at Weightman was out of line.

He was asked via the text machine: ‘Would you be happy winning a premiership with a dodgy reputation like Cody Weightman? I suspect yes, but he’s going down a dangerous path a la Selwood and Rance’.

“I don’t know if he does have a dodgy reputation,” Murphy said on SEN’s Bob & Andy.

“There were a couple of free kicks that were not there, particularly the (Zach) Merrett bump out of bounds. That’s Hall of Fame bad that one, absolute shocker.

“Just watch him closely, I don’t think he’s the agitator people are starting to align him as.

“He’s not Hayden Ballantyne, he’s actually not that.

“He plays with a joy and exuberance of celebrating good things and enjoys it with his teammates, more than an in-the-face-of-the-opposition type of player.”

Weightman and the Dogs will quickly put it all behind them as they prepare to take on Brisbane in the must-win Semi-Final this Saturday.

Western Bulldogs

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