Gunnedah AFL women’s Poochettes consolidated top position of the AFL North West women’s competition ladder at the weekend, disposing of Tamworth Swans women 61-16 at Wolseley Oval.

In contrast, the Bulldogs men suffered their fourth loss of the season against the Swans men’s side, anchoring them to the bottom of the men’s AFL North West competition ladder after their heartbreaking 79-62 loss. The Poochettes women were tested early by a committed Swans outfit where the players were bouncing into the match off the back of two straight wins in weeks previous.

The Swans controlled the possession early in the match and drove the ball inside their forward 50 on several occasions early in the first quarter to hit the scoreboard, taking an early 12 point lead.

Back pocket Kelly Ewington was crucial for the Poochettes through her ability to spoil the aerial contests, bringing the ball to ground and clearing the danger out of the Poochettes defensive arc.

Down 12-3 at quarter time, the Poochettes flicked a switch at the beginning of the second term, using  a run-and-gun style of handballing their way through a sturdy Swans 
defence.

Out of the backline, Ewington and sister Laura were crucial for the Poochettes’ attacking rebound off the half-back line, linking with the middle third to give the Poochettes drive out of defence.

Wingers Zoe Palmer and Beccy Wilson were the next link in the chain from the backline, in combination with the midfield of Khobi Devine, Chloe Sumpter and Rani Grant, the Poochettes constantly peppered the Swans’ defensive arc leading into the main half-time interval.

They booted two majors for the quarter through Apryl Bailey and Gyarn Waugh, taking the lead by five points at the main break 17-12 – most impressively in the process the Poochettes kept their opponent scoreless.

Much of the same occurred in the third term, with the Ewingtons driving the rebound attack out of defence, combining with the hard-running wingers of Palmer and Wilson to link with the midfield as the Poochettes continually sent the ball returning inside the Swans defence 50.

By three-quarter time, they extended their lead to 13 points at 28-15, but saved their most impressive term for the last quarter.

Laura Ewington bagged a major as her reward in setting up waves of attack throughout the match, while Devine and Grant also hit the scoreboard and Bailey, in a forward pocket role, was the sole multiple goal scorer for the Poochettes with four majors.

The final margin of 45 points was largely due to the efforts of Palmer on a wing, who was named best on ground, while the back pairing of Laura and Kelly Ewington set the game up early for the Poochettes in defence.

Ill discipline cost the Bulldogs men’s side, where crucially at each break, they were within a goal of their opponent, but a last quarter ‘brain fade’ by the side meant they weren’t able to close the gap and resurrected the match to their opposition.

Midfielder and captain Adam Curgenven was huge for the Bulldogs, as was fellow midfielder Ryan Smith, as they continually ran defensively to turn the ball over to set up play through the middle of the ground.

Their efforts weren’t matched as a collective unit though, and the Bulldogs will this weekend turn their attention to the other Tamworth side, the Kangaroos, in hope of finding their first victory of season 2023.

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