Cameron Andriske has won his final game for the Thuringowa Bulldogs in perhaps the best possible fashion, a hard fought win over arch rivals Hermit Park. Under the lights of Tony Ireland Stadium, it was only 6 points which separated the two sides in the end with the Dogs coming out on top 9.11.65 - 9.5.59
Fielding their strongest side to date, and after being presented with their flag from last year’s premiership, the Tigers started with a bright spark, kicking the opening goal within the first forty seconds and celebrated with 17 members running down to the scorer. This didn’t have the desired effect they might have wished for. Joel Newman, set the Dogs straight with his Chris Judd like run providing a switched on forward line with opportunities aplenty, which they then duly converted, adding three goals in six minutes. Instead of slowing after the initial opening burst, the game continued at its breakneck speed, as the dry conditions allowed easy handling of the football, and with a willingness of both sides to move the ball quickly, the first quarter was an attacking spectacle. Andriske managed what would be his final goal for the club, bursting a tackle from inside 50 and slotting one home from thirty out, to give the Dogs a deserved three goal lead the first change.
Thuringowa could lay claim to having controlled the second quarter, bar a five-minute patch before half-time where the Tigers managed three goals. However, the 15 minutes beforehand had seen the Dogs absorb and control whatever attack the Tigers launched, and the rebound footy provided by Newman, Daine McDonald and Charlie Gaudion, along with the tough, inside grunt work demonstrated by Captain Damon Szabo ensured the Dogs controlled the ball. Debutant Dillon Scott scored his first goal from a set shot, after some brilliant gut running from Newman down the far wing of the ground, and the seventeen-year-old was mobbed by his teammates as he slotted the regulation set shot. It was a lapse in concentration that allowed the Tigers back into the game, a fifty meter penalty that provided a goal scoring opportunity close to half time shifted the momentum, and a goal moments before the siren cut the margin back to 10 points, not a fair reflection on Thuringowa’s control, but perhaps their inaccurate goal kicking (2.5) in the second term.
The third quarter proved to be 20 minutes of pure, contested footy. Only one goal was scored, courtesy of Rim Kris with a lovely snap, while other chances were few and far between. Szabo and David Black displayed exactly why they were Captains. Szabo refused to let the Tigers clear the football cleanly from any stoppage, while Black quelled any potential attack through his marking, positioning and a cool head. The second half of the quarter was played entirely on the grandstand wing as the ball traveled no more than 50 meters in either direction as repeated stoppages became the norm. The young Dogs were resilient in not letting a more mature opposition run barge their way forward, and gave their team a 16 point lead at the final change.
Paul Sanson immediately added to the lead with 6 points after only a minute into the last quarter, the wily veteran snuck down to the goal square unopposed and had the ball delivered to him by Kris. That turned out to be the final goal for Thuringowa, as the Tigers quickly wrestled back control for the final 15 minutes of the game. They managed to score three goals and get the margin back to 6 points in the dying minutes, but were continuously foiled by tall Matthew Harvey, who took mark after mark across half back in the last quarter, often recklessly going back with the flight of the ball to dent the Tigers the final goal they required. However, it was enough, and the ball was headed towards Thuringowa’s fifty when the siren sounded. Securing the Dogs’ their ninth, and tightest win of the season.
Thuringowa now has a week off before playing their next match against the Northern Beaches Suns, hopefully at their new home ground at North Shore.
Thuringowa 5.1 7.6 8.8 9.11.65
Hermit Park 2.0 6.2 6.4 9.5.59
Thuringowa: P Sanson 2, J Newman 1, D Scott 1, R Kris 1, D Szabo 1, C Andriske 1, D MacDonald 1, R Guest 1.
Hermit Park: J Davidson 3, S Agita 2, J Di Betta 1, B Starr 1, C Marshall 1, S Hobday 1.
Thuringowa: M Harvey, D Szabo, C Gaudion, D MacDonald, J Newman, D Black
Hermit Park: B Edmonds, L Findlay, C Marshall, S Hobday, S Agita