Back-to-back: Dogs’ Div 2 delight

Wollongong Bulldogs secured their second consecutive Division 2 Premiership with victory over Ulladulla Dockers. PICTURE: Dave Johnson

Journalist: Dan O’Bryan

The Wollongong Bulldogs have secured back-to-back AFL South Coast premierships, defeating the Ulladulla Dockers by 26 points.

Despite some brilliant ruckwork from Docker Mitchell Hancock, the Bulldogs dominated clearances and inside 50’s to start the quarter but could not capitalise on the scoreboard. After several unsuccessful entries into the forward line, it was the Bulldogs’ Pete Anstice who kicked the first for the day before doubling down a few minutes later to kick the club’s second. It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to strike again with Hugh White getting on the end of a slick handball chain and kicking truly giving the Bulldogs a 20-point lead going into the first break.

The start of the second term saw the Bulldogs threaten to run away with the game dominating stoppages and booting an early goal to Pete Anstice from the goal square for his third. From here, the Dockers began to claw their way back into the game with midfielders Harrison Donohue, Matthew Thompson and Ben Clough beginning to take control at stoppages before a breakthrough goal to Thompson midway through the quarter brought the margin within 4 goals. As the Dockers continued to get on top around the ground Thompson struck again with a strong pack mark and his second consecutive major. Ulladulla now had all the momentum in the match and within a minute of their last goal scored again with a strong one on one mark in the goal square to Dayne Ewings who kicked truly cutting the margin to 8 pointsat the main break.

The 3rd quarter turned into an arm wrestle with both sides getting their hands on plenty of the ball and generating many forward entries, but each teams’ defences held up strong. It was the Dockers who struck first with Tom Edwards kicking a beautiful snap from the boundary line to get them within a kick. The Bulldogs were able to respond well through midfielders Chris Powell, Sam Sibrey and Luke Maslin getting more than their share of clearances, as well as ruckman Hunter Smith dominating. The ball was again trapped in the Bulldogs forward half, off the back of strong pressure from forwards Jacob Manley and Harry Bown, but neither lead to major scores. With only a few minutes remaining in the quarter, Bulldog Anthony Goedde finally hit the scoreboard to secure the side’s first and only goal of the term and extend their lead back to 11 with a quarter to play.

The final term was dominated by the Bulldogs, Anthony Goedde took a huge pack mark in the early stages but was unable to convert. The ball remained locked in their front half for much of the quarter. No further goals were scored in the match leaving the final score 5.10 (40) to 4.2 (26) in favour of the Bulldogs. Hunter Smith was awarded best on ground honours for the victors.