There was a hum of energy from Cody Weightman on Sunday.
On a bad weather day in Launceston, the little forward was the lightning rod that sent the Western Bulldogs into action as they defeated Essendon by 49 points in the elimination final.
Weightman finished with four goals and received six free kicks in what turned out to be a significant achievement in the overall scheme of things.
While his display was sometimes coincidental, most would say the 20-year-old didn’t deserve the online vitriol calling him a “cheat,” a “diver,” and a “flop” to which he was subjected in the aftermath.
Former Bulldogs captain Brad Johnson was a keen observer of the game and was firmly in Weightman’s corner on all but one of the decisions that came his way.
“I thought there were three and one wasn’t,” Johnson continued Dwayne’s world of SEN.
“I didn’t think the one in the forward pocket was a free kick at all.
“The other one, he stayed low, but (Sam) Draper threw his arm high. You endanger yourself as an opponent if you swing your arm in that motion, he cut him in the head and that’s what the referee sees in that situation.
“The other two were definitely there, the grip of (Marty) Gleeson and the other high (tackle).
“From that point of view, for me the only (bad decision) was realistic in that game and that was the one on the borderline that we’re all talking about.”
Johnson also looked at it from an overall perspective, with the number of free kicks ending at 22-14 in favor of the Dogs.
“It went a bit both ways during the game,” he added.
“There were a couple of free kicks the Bombers got, the reversal and Aaron Francis’s where he hit the deck. I also didn’t think they were free kicks and they were paid.
“I’m talking from a level point of view, not as a Bulldog supporter.”
Another former Dogs skipper, Bob Murphy, felt the negativity towards Weightman was wrong.
Through the texting machine he was asked, ‘Would you be happy to win a premiership with an dodgy reputation as Cody Weightman? I suspect he is, but he’s going down a dangerous path a la Selwood and Rance’.
“I don’t know if he has an unreliable reputation,” Murphy continued Bob & Andy from SEN.
“There were a few free kicks that weren’t there, most notably the (Zach) Merrett bulge off the track. That’s Hall of Fame bad that, absolute shocker.
“Keep a close eye on him, I don’t think he’s the agitator people are starting to tune him into.”
“He’s not Hayden Ballantyne, he really isn’t.
“He plays with a joy and exuberance to celebrate good things and enjoy it with his teammates, more than an in-the-face-of-the-opposition type of player.”
Weightman and the Dogs will soon put it all behind them as they prepare for Brisbane in the unmissable Semi-Finals next Saturday.