SWFL 2023: Preliminary final rematch headlines Belt Up round, Carey Park look to step up against Busselton

Headshot of Carly Laden
Carly LadenSouth Western Times
Bunbury's Georgia Mahony leads her team to drive the ball forward.
Camera IconBunbury's Georgia Mahony leads her team to drive the ball forward. Credit: Carly Laden/South Western Times

Bunbury’s Payne Park is set to provide the stage for what could be an exciting contest as the two sides that faced off for a spot in last year’s grand final finally square off.

Bunbury is set to host Donnybrook during the South West Football League’s Belt Up round on Sunday, where both sides are looking to build momentum as competition approaches the midway point.

In the midst of a number of personnel and coaching staff changes between last year’s preliminary final and Sunday, the match-up will likely feature an element of the unknown.

Despite pulling off a convincing 3.8 (26) to 2.2 (14) victory over Eaton last weekend, Bunbury’s stocks have likely taken a hit with a number of casualties coming out of the physical contest with Libby Klopper taken from the ground with a knee injury and Cadence Edwards taken to hospital after a serious ankle injury forced a premature end to the match.

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Meanwhile, Donnybrook will be keen to fire out the gate against Bunbury after suffering a 7.6 (48) to 1.2 (8) loss to Harvey Bulls at home last weekend.

While the likes of Jessica Verbrugge, Lily McGurk and Taneika Handley have been consistent stand-outs, the Dons’ forwards were kept quiet by the imposing Bulls, with Lacey Holdsworth their sole goalkicker for the afternoon.

On Saturday, Harvey Bulls will look to continue building on their strong form when they travel to Hands Oval to take on South Bunbury.

However, after a lack of available players forced a forfeit against Busselton, South Bunbury will be sweating on their small player stocks to see if they will have enough to take the field.

Elsewhere, Busselton will be returning from their forfeit win looking to extend their undefeated streak by another week when they host Carey Park at Sir Stewart Bovell Park on Saturday.

Ebony Buck was one of the strongest players for Carey Park on Sunday.
Camera IconEbony Buck was one of the strongest players for Carey Park on Sunday. Credit: Jon Gellweiler/JLG Photographics

While Busselton hold a commanding presence over the competition, solid midfield performances will be key for the Panthers to step up to the challenge.

After being involved in games decided by less than a goal in recent weeks, the Panthers built momentum with a 3.8 (26) to 0.0 (0) win over Dunsborough last weekend, with Ebony Buck, Chloe Pumphrey and Ruby Goddard among the stand-outs.

Collie and Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault will both be returning from byes on Sunday, where they will take on Eaton at Glen Huon Reserve and Dunsborough at the Dunsborough Playing Fields respectively.

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