New boys on the block, the Northern Beaches Suns, have provided the Thuringowa Bulldogs with a real wake-up call in a physical game of football on a perfect April afternoon. Although never troubled on the scoreboard, which failed to do the Suns justice, Bulldogs coach Ricky Sullivan was not impressed with his sides 11.11.77-1.11.17 win.
With many BOB’s (Bulldogs Old Boys) in attendance at the club's first home game of the season, the Bulldogs started out promising, with Liam Joseph Miatke-Austral scoring his first goal in the senior side with his first kick in the opening minutes. However, the Suns played a physical game and were very punishing at the contest, denying Thuringowa any opportunity to move the football quickly or effectively.
Leading by 29 points at the first change, the game became even more contested and frustrating for the Bulldogs as they struggled to use the football fluently, often mucking up a long chain of handballs or missing kicks through the midfield.Northern Beaches would consider themselves extremely unlucky to goal in the second quarter, with two shots hitting the post and stuffing up a 2-on-1 situation close to home. Credit must be given to the Bulldogs back six in their efforts to keep the Suns to only one goal for the afternoon when it could’ve easily have been at least a three or four more.
Coming out after halftime, the Bulldogs resolved to play their way of football, unfortunately the talk did not make a great deal of change. The Dogs still struggled to break through the Sun’s watertight defence and only managed three goals for the quarter, with Adam Bice managing to snag his first goal for the seniors.
Coach Sullivan made a few positional changes for the final quarter, however the Suns proved resilient, continuing to deny the Bulldogs any clean entrances or easy, uncontested possessions. They also managed to score their first goal of the game, a simple set shot that was easily converted. With the siren sounding later in the afternoon than usual, due to the league-wide push back in times, the Dogs were victors, but unconvincingly.
The AFL community in Townsville now know that the Suns will not be pushovers, unlike their predecessors, on the other side of town, University Hawks recorded an upset win over the Hermit Park Tigers by 21 points, 11.8.74 - 7.11.53. These two results show that the premiership race might not be a four horse race yet, but that there are certainly now three teams who can consider themselves in contention.
With the ANZAC day weekend forcing a league-wide bye with the NEAFL match featuring the Suns and Giants coming to town, Thuringowa will now have two weeks to regroup and turn their attention to their next game against the inform University Hawks at Harold Philips Oval.
Thuringowa 4.6 6.9 9.9 11.11.77
Northern Beaches 0.1 0.6 0.9 1.11.17
Goals, Thuringowa, L. Miatke-Austral 3, C. Butcher 2, A. Bice, N. Kennell, B. Kelly, R. Guest, R. Kris, C. Gaudion.
Northern Beaches, D.Stevens
Best, Thuringowa, R. Besanvalle , J. Newman, K. Koczwara, B. Kelly, L. Miatke-Austral, A. Harrex. Northern Beaches, J. Sheldrake, C. Cox, R. Grundy, E. Morton, T. Lenehan