Division 1 triumph adds to earlier success: Bulldogs crowned premiers

Wollongong Bulldogs secured their second premiership of 2023, winning the Men's Division 1 title in style. PHOTO: Dave Johnson

Journalist: Dan O’Bryan

The Wollongong Bulldogs have secured back-to-back premierships in their grand final rematch with the Bomaderry Tigers. The victory was the club’s second premiership of 2023, following their Men’s Division 2 victory in the day’s opening match.

The two sides were very evenly matched early in the first quarter, with both winning plenty of the footy around the ground.I However, it was Bulldogs forward Angus Morschel who struck first with a goal from 30 metres out. From here the Bulldogs began to get on top and lock the ball in their front half, leading to two goals in quick succession to Hamish Ahern and Charlie Doig. The Tigers struggled to keep in touch, and managed just one point for the term. The margin at the first break was 20 points.

The second quarter started just as the first had finished. Ben Melton kicked the first for the Bulldogs closely followed by Sam Price with their second following a 50-metre penalty. The Tigers responded well with midfielders Toby Craig and Jake Satchell beginning to dominate midfield, leading to Jack Boxsell kicking their first for the day, a long-range snap near the boundary. The Tigers didn’t have to wait long for their second as Shannon O’Beirne kicked truly from 50 metres out. The Bulldogs needed a steadying goal to finish the half and they got it when Hamish Ahern roved a pack and kicked his second, securing a 27-point half-time lead.

The Bulldogs wrestled back some momentum to begin the third term, hitting the scoreboard with a set shot to David Treharne. The game was then halted mid-quarter for a lengthy period of time after an unfortunate injury to a Bulldogs player which required ambulance assistance. The quarter resumed with nine minutes to play but no further goals were scored,  the Bulldogs leading at the final break 7.5 (47) to 2.2 (14).

The fourth term was a heated and scrappy affair, with both sides beginning to play a very physical brand of football, After many repeat stoppages it was Bulldog Sam Price that kicked the first major of the term with a 40-metre set shot. Shortly after, the Tigers got their first with Max Hughes making the most of a free kick. The Bulldogs’ midfield led by Jack Mattingly, Chase Burmeister and Leigh Hutcheson took control of the game, the only further goal being kicked by Angus Morschel late in the game. The final score stood at 9.7 (61) to 3.3 (21) in favour of the Bulldogs, with Bulldogs’ Leigh Hutcheson being recognised as best afield.