Gunnedah Bulldogs AFL women’s coach Jakob Vearing revealed last week he endeavoured to “reinvent the wheel” for his senior Poochettes women’s side in 2022.

His initiatives came to fruition in round one of the North West AFL competition at the weekend against the New England Nomads.

A resounding 38-point win gave the Poochettes their first points of the 2022 season and impressively, their 29th consecutive win since their inception into women’s AFL in 2020.

Albeit a stalemate in the first and second quarters, the Poochettes kicked truly after half time on their way to eight goals for the match, highlighted by new recruit Gyarn Waugh who bagged four majors on the day.

A solid pre-season saw the Poochettes full of running to begin although the majority of the first half was played between the 50-metre arcs of the ground.

They were met by a stubborn Nomads defence going forward, and on the rebound were excellent in defence, repelling the wave of attack thrown at them by the Nomads.

At half time, the score read 16-6 in the Poochettes’ favour.

Defence laid the foundation for the Poochettes in the second half, and on the back of the consistent running of Katrina Rekenow and Nikki Morrison on the wings, combined with Lauren Robertson at centre half back, gave their forwards ample supply.

Amy Clarke and Christie Chapman combined in a ruck-centre, half forward rotation that saw both consistently take marks in contested and
uncontested fashion.

Chapman, who was thrust into a new role, impressed coach Vearing and he was pleasantly surprised she hadn’t played that role for the Poochettes.

“She was awesome, just clunked everything,” Vearing said.

“I did not know she had never played there before, I knew Clarkey had.

“It was awesome to have a one, two punch like that,” Vearing enthused.

The beneficiary of the work done in the centre, centre-half forward and via the wings, was full forward Gyarn Waugh.

Although missing a couple of opportunities early, Waugh put the icing on the cake for the Poochettes’ win, kicking three straight majors in the second half for a tally of four on the day.

The men’s side travelled light and extracted only 15 players for the day.

Although losing 119-30, coach Andy Mack believes there is significant upscale for his side with a number of key players missing for round one.

Of particular note was the debut of Cameron Waugh – husband of Poochette Gyarn – playing his first game of AFL football of any description.

“He was amazing down back,” Mack said.

“I gave him simple instructions of ‘get it and kick it’ which more often then not worked out for us.

“No fuss about him either, just gets the footy and won his own footy outnumbered which was very impressive.”

Round two of the competition will see the Pooches and Poochettes host the Tamworth Swans. 

Both Swans sides, women and men, recorded victories in round one.

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