A blistering first quarter from the Thuringowa Bulldogs, has now stamped their presence in the 2016 AFL Townsville season with a commanding 57 point win over the in form University Hawks, winning 14.13.97- 6.4.40.
Playing at the Hawks new venue (City Lions former ground), the West End PCYC, and kicking with a strong breeze, Thuringowa wasted no time with key forwards Blake Leonard (2 goals) and Liam Miatke-Austral (2 goals) goaling from set shots in the opening minutes. With the PCYC being such a short oval in terms of length, quick ball from the middle was the Bulldogs ultimate strength in the opening quarter. Led by captain, Damon Szabo, midfielders, Robbie Besanvalle, (the returning) Glenn Sypott, youth Daine McDonald (4 goals)and Anthony Harrex (who rucked all day) they supplied the forward line with repeated, quality entries. With such a large amount of supply to the forward line, the Hawks could halt the inevitable, but they could not stop it. It was McDonald who really provided the spark up front, slotting two beautiful running goals, while Leonard and Miatke-Austral each added their second, and if hadn’t been for the inaccuracy of small forward Reiley Guest (2 goals 6 behinds), the Dogs could have been leading by ten goals at the first break.
Undisturbed by such a large deficit, the Hawks battled hard and won the second quarter. Blake Cooper showed his deserving status as the league’s leading goal kicker as he slotted a beauty over his head from the boundary to ignite his side early in the second. However, the Bulldogs re-engaged in the contest, becoming more physical as the skill level declined, and fought back against Uni’s early quarter dominance to maintain a very healthy lead at the long break.
With calls that they still had half a job to do, the Dogs set about the job as the sun harshly glared into the players eyes. A three-goal to one-quarter was due to rebounds from the back six, and a hard as nails attitude from Kieran Koczwara, and one goal was of courtesy of a beautifully orchestrated set play from Sypott and a goal from the firing Paul Sanson (2 goals) moments before the siren, ensured the Hawks would not be able to surprise the Dogs in the last quarter, who held a 57 point lead.
The last quarter became a drain as the scoring died, although the intensity at the contest did not drop, with the younger Bulldogs showing their willingness to stand up when required. Both sides scored a goal apiece as the game ended on a somber note, being called off eight minutes early as a Hawks player required an ambulance after a heavy knock. I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery. Joel Newman also suffered a concussion knock early in the second quarter, and sat the game out, yet is reported to have been given a clean bill of health and should be alright for next week’s match.
After a convincing performance, Thuringowa will look to take that form into next weeks home clash against Curra, before facing up to arch rivals Hermit Park, in a fortnights time.
Thuringowa 7.7 10.10. 13.12 14.13.87
University 0.0 4.3 5.3 6.4.40
Thuringowa, D. MacDonald 4, L. Miatke-Austral 2, B. Leonard 2, R. Guest 2, P. Sanson 2, R. Besanvalle , G. Sypott
University, B. Cooper 2, J. O''Meara, G. Solien, D. Robinson, L. Jelinek
Thuringowa, D. Szabo, R. Besanvalle , A. Harrex, D. MacDonald, K. Koczwara, G. Sypott
University, L. Jelinek, D. Robinson, M. McConnell, B. Cooper, S. Richards