Bulldogs’ hat-trick of premierships

Shane EarlSouth Western Times
The Bulldogs were delighted with the premiership win, although they had to work very hard for it.
Camera IconThe Bulldogs were delighted with the premiership win, although they had to work very hard for it. Credit: Justin Fris

Bunbury recorded its third consecutive SWFL colts premiership following Sunday’s 11.6 (72) to 10.2 (62) win over South Bunbury in a high quality contest.

The match was played in perfect conditions and it was the Bulldogs who settled quicker. Jake Symington set up MacKenna Taylor for their first goal, which was quickly followed by a major to Jason Dwyer, who burst forward from half back.

The Tigers’ defence was under siege early on, with the Bulldogs racking up big numbers of inside 50m entries.

Trailing by 22 points at the 16-minute mark of the first quarter, Souths eventually settled into the contest.

Jed Montgomerie’s clever ruck work set up Corey Hallion to goal, before a chain of handballs from midfield eventually found Seth Versace, who kicked truly from 30m out.

Bunbury’s lead at quarter time was trimmed to 10 points, which did not indicate just how dominant they were.

Both sides went goal for goal during the second term, with the skill level across the ground exceptional.

Will Butler and Jay Crossman were working very hard in the Tigers’ defence, while speedster Jett Rigby and Zach Birch had strong quarters for the Bulldogs.

Birch finished the term with two straight goals and the lead was back to 20 points at the main break.

The Tigers were looking for an inspiration in the third term, and it came in the form of Griffin Russell.

He kicked an early checkside goal from close range, then hit Tyrone Nixon up with a quality pass.

Nixon kicked the goal and all of a sudden Bunbury were under huge pressure.

Tigers coach Stephen Bilcich moved Rocco Versace from the defence into the midfield and he began to provide a series of promising attacks for his side.

Versace helped set up Connor Valli for a major, then Russell stepped up again.

His long kick forward found Aaron Jarvis, who kicked his second.

With momentum on their side, the Tigers hit the front and the Bulldogs were hanging on grimly for survival.

Needing a lift, a clean passage of play forward late in the term resulted in a goal to Rigby, which put the Bulldogs back in front in the shadows of three quarter time.

Bulldogs coach Troy Hollands unleashed one of the most passionate team addresses seen in recent years at three quarter time, while Bilcich brought his side in closely for a quiet chat.

With Hollands’ words ringing in his ears, up stepped Tarkyn Goodlad.

He started the final term with two quick goals which inspired his teammates.

From there, the Bulldogs managed to regain control of the contest, with Beau Luzi simply in everything.

Although time was against them, the young Tigers fought every inch of the way, with the Bulldogs earning their victory.

Post-game, Luzi was awarded the KJ Lynn Medal as best afield.

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