Bryce Kelly (5 goals) ably assisted by fellow veteran David Black (16 rebounds), celebrated his return to the Bulldog’s line-up with a match winning five goals, as his side secured their sixth, and toughest win of the season so far, defeating the Northern Beaches Suns 13.7.85-5.5.35.
In conditions, less than pleasant, Black proved himself a class above all other players, his clean hands and apparent ease with which he broke numerous tackles gave the Bulldogs numerous quick breaks off half back, that allowed them easy access to an open forward line.
With the dewy night time start, the game was more reminiscent of a steamy Darwin twilight or a rainy Victorian night fixture. Nonetheless, Thuringowa and Kelly, made the most of the dry ball with a blistering start. With their midfield continuously providing the forward line with plenty of possession, it didn’t take long for the Dog’s to capitalize, with Kelly kicking the first goal of the game, before another quick one meant they had two in the first three minutes of the game. However, the Suns quickly asserted themselves back into the contest, and the middle portion of the quarter proved to be an arm wrestle until a 50 meter penalty allowed Daine McDonald to set the Dogs up for a late flurry of goals in the final minutes of the quarter, and to take a 28-point lead into the first break.
The Sun’s came out firing in the second term and comprehensively outplayed the Bulldogs, they tackled stronger, moved the ball well, and forced errors from the Bulldogs players. Yet defenders Joel Newman, Josh Hollis, and Black were tenacious in their defensive efforts,combining their desperation with swift ball movement to move the ball from the back line. Their efforts as individuals and as a team, meant the margin was only cut by a single goal, with the Bulldogs taking a 22-point lead into the long break.
After half-time the game was played in a different perpesctive all together, goals were quite difficult to come by in the first fifteen minutes, in which the Bulldogs scored the only two, Kelly submitted an entrance for goal of the year with a floating kick sailing through from tight on the boundary. Captain Damon Szabo and wing man, Charlie Gaudion provided contested possessions and run for the Dog’s in the quarter, reinforcing the intensity around the contest, and never allowing the Sun’s a sniff. A lack of discipline gifted the Sun’s their fourth goal of the night four minutes from three quarter time and when they scored from the next centre clearance, the margin had been trimmed to an uncomfortable 24 points, despite the valiant work from the Bulldogs.
Entering the final quarter, Coach Sullivan reminded his players of his pre-game focus. They responded in the best possible fashion, with Paul Sanson (2 goals) and Rim Kris (3 goals) quickly putting the result beyond doubt with early goals quickly extending the margin beyond forty points. As the game wound down in the final ten minutes, the class of Black was reinforced with his clean hands a class above everyone else’s.
Thuringowa ran out winners and now face the University Hawks in what is shaping up to be a pulsating, top of the table clash, next Saturday afternoon.
Thuringowa 6.1 7.1 9.5 13.7.85
Northern Beaches 1.2 3.3 5.5 5.5.35
Thuringowa, B. Kelly 5, R. Kris 3, P. Sanson 2, R. Guest, G.Sypott, D. MacDonald
Suns, A. Bennett, E. Morton, M. O''Driscoll, G. Penney, D. Stevens
Thuringowa, J. Newman, J. Hollis, D. Szabo, B. Kelly, D. Black, C. Gaudion
Suns, R. Grundy, J. Ryan, D. Garland, M. Brooking, M. Owen