Whilst the scoreboard might paint a convincing 131 point win for the Thuringowa Bulldogs, for a while, it was anything but, as they ran out winners over an improved Curra Swans, 27.16.178-7.5.47.
Featuring four debutantes, Bradley Williamson, Mitchell Farmer, Matthew Linnane, Alexander Finn, and without being coached by Ricky Sullivan, the Bulldogs would’ve been keen to make a statement about not being dependent on availability. Instead, to start with, they were out wanted, out hunted and out footballed by a desperate side keen to make an impression.
There were various lessons for all Bulldogs players to take note of in the first quarter, where they let Curra kick four consecutive goals to take an unexpected 11 point lead into the first change. Defensive pressure and clearance work were the two big letdowns for the Bulldogs as Coach, Darren Lange, went about making the necessary changes to get his team back on track.
His magic touch worked as the Bulldogs piled on 8.8 to a single behind in a wasteful second quarter, which saw the smarts of Daine McDonald (6 goals), the brute strength of Bryce Kelly (3 goals) in the middle, allow the Dogs to quash any clearance control the Swans had possessed and the inaccuracy of swingman Blake Leonard (4 goals, 5 behinds), turned the game on its head. Charlie Gaudion began to find plenty of space on the small ground, as his acceleration and evasiveness began to trouble an already tiring Curra outfit.
After another stern talking to by coach Lange at the long break, Thuringowa came out and pummelled a disheartened Swans in the third quarter. Kicking into the breeze, the Dogs kicked their largest haul for the game with 10.2 an overwhelming win against the Swans’ three straight. Michael “Swifty” Newcombe began to enjoy the perplexing width of the ground as he began to really punish his opponent on a wing. Adam Bice enjoyed his time in a new spot down in the backline. While Paul Sanson (5 goals) pushed his case for another goal kicking title with a dominant display.
The final quarter saw the game ease off in intensity as the ball spent lots of time pinging back and forth between the two fifty metre arcs. David Black was able to add to his intercept mark tally as he had done all day, though unfortunately that stat is not recorded and there is no individual trophy for it. His day also featured a career first when he captained a side by himself for the very first time, due to the absence of Damon Szabo, which ended a long streak of consecutive games for the ball winning strongman. He’ll be keen to make amends for it as the Bulldogs are due to face arch rivals Hermit Park in what promises to be a pulsating clash between the two heavyweights at Neil French Oval.
Thuringowa 2.3 10.11 20.14 27.16.178
Curra 4.2 4.3 7.3 7.5.47
Thuringowa, D. MacDonald 6, P. Sanson 5, B. Leonard 4, R. Guest 3, B. Kelly 3, R. Kris 2, A. Harrex, T. Keyes, M. Linnane, C. Gaudion
Curra, S. Lindgren 2, B. Davies, J. Donald, A. Walker, B. Youd, M. Dennis
Thuringowa, D. MacDonald, B. Kelly, C. Gaudion, A. Bice, M. Newcombe, D. Black
Curra, A. Walker, S. Lindgren , S. Palmer, D. Allen, J. Donald