A five-goal last quarter surge from the Gunnedah Bulldogs Poochettes women’s side was the difference in their round 8 AFL North West women’s competition fixture at the weekend.
Gunnedah ran out winners, defeating the Swans by 27 points in Tamworth on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs men’s side was made to pay for a disappointing and sluggish opening quarter. The slow start was ultimately the difference in its 57-point defeat against the Tamworth Swans.
Down 42-nil by quarter time, it was a hard slog for the Bulldogs to garner any momentum in a vain attempt at clawing their way back into the contest.
The Bulldogs competed well for three quarters after their first quarter glitch but the lacking effort of the first quarter was the early nail in the coffin, defeated 108-51.
The women’s match was made the feature game of the day by the Tamworth Swans club and the game lived up to its billing as both sides traded the lead in a thriller until the final 15 minutes of the match when the Poochettes kicked away and consolidate the win.
Multiple lead changes occurred throughout the match, as both sides pursued consistent attack on the ball at ground level between the 50 metre arcs, with both defences impenetrable at times.
That was highlighted by Abbey Ruttley at fullback and the Ewington sisters, Kelly and Laura, keeping the Swans’ attack at bay in aerial contests and their efforts of extracting the ball for their side at ground level.
Often the ball was stuck in congestion, making scoring opportunities limited for both sides but by quarter time the Poochettes had an early three-point lead at 15-12 on the back of majors to forward-pocket Khobi Devine and half-forward flanker Apryl Bailey.
In the midfield, Zoe Palmer was crucial to the Poochettes’ drive forward, continually extracting the contested ball from stoppages around the ground, releasing outside runners through the likes of midfield partner Chloe Sumpter and Lily Jensen on a wing.
Palmer followed up her work in the middle and slotted her first of three goals of the day in the second term. But the Swans matched the Poochettes three-goal second quarter effort to remain within touching distance.
By the main half-time break, the score was in favour of the Poochettes at 33-28.
Much like the first quarter, both sides hunted the footy to gain ascendency going forward.
Although having scoring opportunities on goal, the Poochettes couldn’t break away from the dogged Swans side, who scored a major to bridge the gap to two points by the three-quarter time change, as the score read 36-34.
The Poochettes, however, still had a gear left in them and ran the willing Swans side off the park in a dominant last quarter display.
Although the Swans had the first entry inside the Poochettes’ defensive 50, the backline players used their ‘run and gun’ style of defence through the Ewingtons, who were able to link up with Palmer and Sumpter in the midfield.
From defence to attack, Zoe Palmer followed up her link work with the backline inside the forward 50, finding crafty half-forward Apryl Bailey who slotted her second and third goals of the day, both on the run.
Goals in quick succession gave the Poochettes breathing space at 46-34 with 15 minutes remaining.
Palmer in the midfield was best on ground for the Poochettes, kicking three majors in a tireless and hard-working effort.
Half-forward flank Bailey also scored three majors for the Poochettes, while Rani Grant, Meg Foster, Georgia Tibbs and captain Khobi Devine all kicked one each in the 27-point, 68-41 victory.