Gunnedah and District AFL Bulldogs went down by an agonising six points to the Tamworth Kangaroos in round six of North West AFL competition at the weekend. 

The Gunnedah Poochettes women preceded that clash and completed their fifth win of the season, accounting for the Kangaroos women by 13 points.

At Tamworth’s number one oval, the Bulldogs men kept within touching distance of the Kangaroos as the lead changed half a dozen times in the last term, but they couldn’t quite land the killer blow to register their first win of the season.

Early in the match, the Kangaroos maintained control of the ball from the centre and hit the scoreboard consistently to open up a two goal advantage at 22-9.

The Kangaroos continued that momentum into the second stanza but the Bulldogs kept hitting back to be within touching distance albeit the margin was extended to three goals for the Bulldogs by half time with the score 56-33.

Ill discipline marred the Bulldogs for the majority of the first half and to their detriment that continued, gifting scoring opportunities and territory to the Kangaroos through free kicks.

However, the Bulldogs dragged the margin back to within two majors by three quarter time at 70-58, setting up what was to be a grandstand finish in the last quarter.

Although conceding the first goal to make it back to a three-goal deficit early in the last quarter, the Bulldogs began to control the football through the centre as midfielders Ryan Smith and Adam Curgenven were the major ball winners and drove the Bulldogs’ attack forward.

There they found dangerman James Mack, who kicked his fourth and fifth goals in succession to bridge the gap to a single major at 76-70 with 15 minutes remaining.

From the ensuing centre ball up, Smith won the clearance and found half-forward Travis Oakley, who kicked truly to land his third major that also meant the Bulldogs had hit the front for the first time in the match.

Both sides traded goals in the next 10 minutes but when Curgenven snapped a clutch goal in the forward pocket with five minutes remaining, it looked as though the Bulldogs had almost secured their first victory for the season.

But it was not to be though as poor discipline by the Bulldogs turned the ball over on the half back line, firstly through a tackling indiscretion to relinquish the lead, then the Kangaroos were marched downfield from a 50-metre penalty given by the Bulldogs and that opportunity was converted into a major – crushing the Bulldogs’ chance of a comeback win.

The final score of 96-90 was heartbreaking six-point loss for the Bulldogs, but honourable as they continue to rebuild with an influx of new players.

Centre half-forward Mack was one of the Bulldogs best, booting five majors on the day and impressively the Bulldogs had three other multiple goal scorers with half forwards – Travis Oakley booting three, Corey Robinson kicking two and full forward Chris Hoffman also hitting the scoreboard with two majors.

Oakley was best on ground for his pressure on a half-forward flank, along with midfielders Smith and Curgenven for their tireless efforts in the centre of the ground.

The Poochettes women’s side continue their success in season 2023, notching another win against a finals aspirant and darkhorse of the competition in the Kangaroos women. 

Poochettes were best served by Katrina Rekunow in a tireless midfield effort, while Apryl Bailey rotating from the centre to a forward pocket continued her goal scoring form kicking three majors in conjunction with Rani Grant who kicked multiple goals with two on the day. 

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