2014 and now 2016.
Thuringowa has had the sweetest of revenge with a perfect season capped off by a perfect performance, a thumping win over arch rivals Hermit Park. The Bulldogs led from start to finish with their defensive unit again being the silent assassin, conceding another miserly score in their 12.14.86-5.4.34 win. Star full-forward Paul Sanson (4 goals) lead his young forward line with all his experience, Glenn Sypott controlled the midfield with 17-year old winger Charlie Gaudion running rampant on the wings. 17-year old Nathanael Kennel continued his dominance over the league-leading goal scorer, holding him goalless. Kieran Koczwara displayed the required toughness and best-on-ground Joel Newman continually broke the Tigers’ spirit, denying them of any meaningful forward entries.
In perfect Townsville winter weather conditions, which some might describe as being too hot, Thuringowa were forced to kick into a strong breeze. There was palpable tension in the air as a wayward young Tigers’ defender tried to engage the Bulldogs’ youth in dirty tactics before the ball had been bounced. Despite the tactic, Thuringowa responded in the best fashion, a goal in the opening minutes, courtesy of a chaos kick to the top of the goal square, Sanson expertly out positioned his opponent, marked, played on and booted the first major of the game.
The Dogs were away. Well so it seemed, the preceding 10 minutes of football were even, both sides testing each other out, with Hermit Park having a majority of their ball in the forward line. Morale must have fallen after a long period of dominance, full forward John Davidson managed to make a meal of a mark from the goal square. It was to be the league leading goal scorer’s only opportunity for the day as Nathanael Kennel defeated him for the third time. Sypott, Damon Szabo and Adam Bice began to turn the midfield battle the Bulldog’s way, and it was through their efforts that young goal sneak Reiley Guest (2 goals) goaled next, finishing off some quick hands in the forward line with a silky snap. Guest then had two further opportunities to extend the lead late in the quarter but managed to make a meal out of both of them. However, with co-captain David Black back in the side to coordinate the defence, and for all their early attacking, Hermit Park were kept goalless.
Co-Captain contested ball: Damon Szabo in his natural habitat.
The second quarter was similar to the first quarter, an even contest that was split open by a small forward. This time it was Tranter Keyes, who had an excellent second quarter in typical goal sneak fashion, beating his opponent to the back of the pack where he soccered in an opportunistic goal from the goal square. From there, the Bulldog’s pressure began to tell, Hermit Park could only manage to move the ball around with short, non-direct passes, that would result in very little gain of territory and more than often finish with a long, rushed kick in hope down the line, which allowed Newman, Koczwara, Josh Hollis to rebound the ball with ease.
It was perhaps this quarter that Newman had his greatest influenece on the match. . Back to his usual spot in the backline, he dominated both the aerial and ground football with his explosive acceleration and fierce determination around the contest, that went unmatched by any of the Tiger's players. His run and rebound created off half back provided many chances for his side, yet his defensive workrate was just as impressive. Another marvellous accoldade for the 19-year-old in his ever growing collection of trophies and medals
Apprentice becomes the master: Best-on-ground, Joel Newman.
Sanson and young tall Blake Leonard (2 goals) were finally able to firmly stamp Thuringowa’s dominance on the game with some deadly finishing, courtesy of a clumsy left foot snap and a big leg break in the goal square. Hermit Park looked rattled and could only manage a single goal, going into halftime with a total of just 9 points to the Bulldogs 51.
Re-emphasising his key points he spoke about before the game, coach Ricky Sullivan must not have been too concerned when the Tiger’s got the first goal of the “premiership quarter”, courtesy of a touched kick around the corner. Nonetheless, the breakthrough took many valuable minutes and when Bryce Kelly soon answered with a “Hail Mary” dab from just inside fifty near the boundary, Thuringowa must have sensed that this was their day. Continued dominance around the contest which can be attributed to a fierce will for the contest, and being harder at the footy, saw the Bulldogs maintain possession. Gaudion lifted his presence on the game with a superb run down tackle on Stannis Agita, while Daine McDonald’s disposal efficiency was at its usual elite output.
League best & fairest goes full Warrick Capper: Daine McDonald
In fact it was McDonald who can lay claim to assisting the best goal of the game, kicking the ball to space on the far side, he allowed a running Hollis, who’d snuck away from his opponent, a paddock and a half to run and get to thirty-five, where he promptly proceeded to kick a mongrel at goal, which floated through the air in a manner which defied physics, and opponents, for the Bulldog’s ninth goal of the game. Hollis extended the margin back out over 40 points, impossible for the paltry Tigers to overhaul as the final quarter began.
Keyes’ second major in the first minute of the last quarter signalled the beginning of party time for the Bulldogs. The Bulldog’s continued to do as they pleased, effortlessly controlling the ball throughout the middle, working it forward to an effective forward line. After many missed chance’s, Guest finally nailed his second goal, before Sanson completed his bag of four with a 45 metre set shot sailing through at three-quarter post height in the fading sun.
Too old, too smart, too good: Paul Sanson
Minutes later, with the ball on the flank, the siren sounded to signal the 14th premiership for the best side, and club, in Townsville.
The best club on either side of the river: Thuringowa, 2016 undefeated premiers
Thuringowa 2.5 7.9 9.11 12.14.86
Hermit Park 0.2 1.3 3.3 5.4.34
Thuringowa P.Sanson 4, R.Guest 2, T.Keyes 2, B.Leonard 2, B.Kelly, J.Hollis
Hermit Park J. Di Betta 2, S.Tonkes 2, D.Wode
Thuringowa P.Sanson, J.Newman, C.Gaudion, D.McDonald, K.Koczwarka, G.Sypott Hermit Park C.Marshall, B.Edmonds, L.Johnson, L.Palmer, D.Wode
Best on ground: Joel Newman