Gunnedah AFC’s women’s Poochettes solidified their claim as the top seed of the North west AFL women’s competition, defeating the Inverell Saints women in round six with a stirring come-from-behind victory at Wolseley Oval.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs men were left licking their wounds following the height of previous consecutive wins, thrashed by the Inverell Saints men 197-34 in a reality check in the men’s fixture.

Behind on the scoreboard after the first and second quarters, the Poochettes emanated what a come-from-behind victory is, storming home in the last quarter to boot three crucial majors and remain undefeated in season 2024.

Positional changes have been astute by coach Don Woolaston thus far this season, exemplified through the influence of multiple goal kickers in each victory in the season to date and impressively, the ability of his players to perform various personnel roles within a developing squad.

Case in point on the weekend, Woolaston switched the positional magnets at regular intervals that inevitably reaped six different goal kickers contributing to their victory.

Although trailing 13-1 at quarter and then 19-15 by half time, the Poochettes locked themselves into an arm wrestle for the second half.

Their defence was a key pillar after the main break, with Laura Ewington a stand out off half back.

In combination with Abbey Ruttley at fullback, together they firstly stemmed the tide of Inverell attack and conversely on turnover, had the Poochettes driving into attack that ultimately lead to fruition on the scoreboard.

By the third term interval, the Poochettes had clawed their way back into the contest, largely in part due to the efforts of Ewington and Ruttley but also their accuracy in front of goal, kicking two majors for the term to trail by a tense seven points at 28-21.

From there, the floodgates opened and out of the centre bounce to start the final term, Beth Ostini slotted an opportunist goal on the run in the forward pocket from a centre clearance by Casey O’Connell, giving the Poochettes the ultimate start to the term.

Inverell offered one last crack at breaking the back of the Poochettes, but again it was the sturdiness of Ruttley at fullback and Ewington on a halfback flank that surrendered the Saints’ effort on goal to minor scores.

Ruttley’s booming kick out of defence cleared numerous defensive posts of the Bulldogs, finding the likes of centre-half forward Georgia Tibbs and Ostini on a half-forward flank.

It was a combination of the senior leaders who took charge in the last term for the Poochettes and on the back of their defensive unit standing tall through Ruttley and Ewington, captain Katrina Rekenow, O’Connell and Alexa Walker gave the drive out of defence and through the middle of the ground, finding open pastures inside the attacking forward 50-metre arc.

Brenana Ward slotted a major when crumbing a pack following a forward entry for the second major of the last term, but it was Rekenow’s captain’s goal on the run following up from her own centre-bounce clearance that provided the highlight of the last term, icing the match with a clutch goal and sealing a seven-point come-from-behind victory for the undefeated Poochettes.

Their fifth win in succession and second this season against rivals the Inverell Saints, the Poochettes continue to impress through their ability to share the load around the ground.

In the men’s fixture, the Bulldogs were blown off the park by a Saints outfit that not only reverberated elite skill over the duration of the match but put them to the sword in a masterclass of ball movement and efficiency.

Inverell got the jump on the Bulldogs in the opening term and the Bulldogs never recovered once trailing 55-6 at quarter time.

That extended to 87-13 by quarter time, as the Bulldogs struggled to gain any ascendency in attack or defence.

Inverell showcased exactly why they’re the reigning premiers and premiership favourites for season 2024, putting the Bulldogs to the sword in streaking away to a 145-20, 125-point lead by three quarter time and enforcing a humbling 163-point loss on the Bulldogs at 197-34 by full time.

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