AUSSIE RULES: Round 15, the last round of the home and away season in North West AFL, saw mixed results for the Gunnedah AFL Bulldogs, as the club took on the Tamworth Kangaroos away in Tamworth last weekend.
The Poochettes women’s side continued their winning streak – dating back to 2020 – in thumping their counterparts by 81 points in winning 90 to nine, emphasising their assertion as the top side of the women’s competition.
Coach Jakob Vearing was ecstatic with his side’s performance to close out the regular season, and believes the reward of the minor premiership is justified for the commitment his squad has shown thus far this season.
“The girls deserve it. They’ve committed to each other on a training and game day basis, really happy for them,” Vearing said.
Unfortunately, the men’s Bulldogs were defeated by the Kangaroos in a brutal contest, losing the match by 29 points at 93 to 64.
Full forward James Mack was one of the best in the Bulldogs’ defeat, kicking six majors to take his season tally to an impressive 41 for the season – third in the competition overall – with small forward Luke Gregory the only other multiple goal scorer, booting two for the match.
Backman Ryan King was best on ground, as his continual rise to one of the staples of the Bulldogs side continues to grow.
King had the tough task of containing Kangaroos dangerman Nathan Vaisey throughout the match, and diligently performed his role keeping Vaisey, a rotating midfielder, to a solitary goal for the match where in previous encounters Vaisey has been a goal scorer of multiple magnitude.
Coach Andy Mack was glowing of his praise, and also of his brother James for the season he and King have put together.
“They again were two of our best.
“Jimma (James Mack) has been a backman for the best part of ten years, so to throw him forward late last year and a full season this year to be our main target he has stood up every week.
“He nearly won the goal kicking award for the competition, which is testament to his attitude to taking the challenge head on.
“Might be a bit biased too but he’s been our most dangerous target and best player all year in my opinion,” Mack said.
King also garnered high praise from coach Mack, particularly for the fact it’s his first season of AFL football.
“He took to it like a duck to water, been amazing.
“Regularly takes the most dangerous opposition forward, and holds his own on a weekly basis if not beating guys that have played over 100 games compared to him in his first season.
“It’s been a tough year, but he’s been a shining light week in week out,” Mack praised.
The club is flying high though through the women’s Poochettes side, who claimed their third straight minor premiership since entering the competition in the pandemic riddled 2020 season.
The 2021 season was also cut short due to a relapse of the Coronavirus pandemic, yet 2022 will give the chance for the newly claimed minor premiers to make a serious charge into and through the finals series.
A first up qualifying final is set, taking on what is becoming a rivalry against the Inverell Saints women.
Inverell have been the only real and proper test for the Poochettes this season, having drew once and again won by three points in a 25-22 win at Inverell in the penultimate round of regular home and away competition.
For now, it’s business as usual for the Poochettes – the finals series is seen as a new competition beginning with four sides remaining – as they ramp up training to become the first side to stake claim at a shot at premiership glory on grand final day in September.