Gunnedah AFL Bulldogs men’s side broke their duck for 2023 at the weekend, emphatically disposing of the Tamworth Kangaroos 101 to 44 to register their first win of their AFL North West season.
Meanwhile, the women’s Poochettes continued their strong season with a comprehensive 95-6 victory over the Tamworth Kangaroos women.
It was the Bulldogs men though, who previously this season on numerous occasions had come close to registering a win without the capacity to finish off matches, broke their drought via their slick ball movement in attack on the ball, in the air and at ground level.
What had been their Achilles heel earlier in the season, the Bulldogs were dominant in the first quarter and had their opposition in the Kangaroos under the pump.
Following the first two centre clearances of the match, ruckman Nick Ferguson continuously tapped the ball to the advantage of midfield rover Braydyn Finlay’s path, who in return found half-forward Travis Oakley through both clearances.
Oakley kicked truly for the first two majors of the game and shortly after had his third of the quarter for the Bulldogs to open the match with a three goal buffer.
Combined with Oakley’s three majors, forward pocket Corey Robinson also slotted a major to give the Bulldogs a dominant start.
Impressively, they kept their opponent scoreless in the first quarter while tallying a 26-point lead of their own.
The Bulldogs were a little wayward in front of goal in the second term, but centre-half-forward Jakob Vearing was beginning to stamp his impact on the match.
From the centre – as ruck Ferguson continued putting the ball on a patter for his midfielders – Finlay, captain Adam Curgenven and Ryan Smith all had delight in delivering to Vearing who dominated the contest through his contested marking.
Vearing kicked two for the second term and the Bulldogs opened up a 55 point advantage at the main break to lead 57 to two.
Vearing continued to impose himself on the match in the third term, as the Bulldogs continued to win the footy in the air and at ground level.
Defence was also key for the Bulldogs and off the half backline James Mack, Darcy Hill and Zeb Dillon were crucial to snuffing out any attacking influence the Kangaroos tried to garner.
They were able to find their midfielders on turnover, who delighted in using Vearing as the Bulldogs key man as Vearing rewarded the lead up work of the backline and midfield, kicking truly to add another three goals for the term.
The Bulldogs did leak a couple of majors by the end of the third quarter, but by the last break had well and truly secured the game at 86 to 28.
They continued their dominance into the last quarter and by the finish of that last quarter had cracked the 100 point barrier in a commanding 57 point, 101 to 44 victory.
Coach Andy Mack was thrilled for his side to taste their first victory of the season, acknowledging his side had been close to victory on a few occasions this season in what that makes Saturday’s victory sweeter for the side.
“It’s good for the boys to have a win more pleasing because we deserved to win too.
“We played four quarters of footy and because of that, the result went our way where it previously hasn’t.
“Happy for the boys, they’ve been building for a good win and thankfully we got it,” Mack delighted.
In the women’s match, the Poochettes led from start to finish in annihilating the Kangaroos to the tune of 89 points.
Major goal scorers on the day were Georgia Tibbs and Apryl Bailey with three each, in conjunction with captain Khobi Devine who scored two goals of her own as the Poochettes multiple goal scorers. It was seen as a complete performance from the Poochettes and exemplified by goal contributions also from Rani Grant, Maya Gallagher, Alexa Walker and Annie Elphick hitting the scoreboard.