Bulldogs still barking
BROTHERS Bulldogs had plenty to celebrate at their presentation dinner on Saturday, after creating history by making a clean sweep of the four AFL Bundaberg/Wide Bay divisions.
The club took out the senior, reserves, under-17 and under-15 titles, as well as the one Bundaberg Juniors flag in under-13.
September 18 – grand final day in Hervey Bay – was a red letter day for the club.
The morning started with a 6.5 (41) to 3.10 (28) victory over Hervey Bay Bombers in under-15, and the day just got better, with their under-17s also outgunning the Bombers 9.12 (66) to 6.5 (41), and their Reserves making it back-to-back titles with an also tough 14.1 (85) to 11.10 (76) triumph over hosts Bay Power.
But their crowning achievement was a shock 10.8 (68) to 7.16 (58) ambush of arch-rivals Across The Waves in the blue riband Senior division, ending a long and agonising 15-year drought.
They had been beaten by Waves in all of their four previous clashes this year, 66-60, 102-93, 123-39 and 94-86, but inspirational captain Jamieson Webb always believed they could do it despite losing a few of their stars of 2009, and they really put it together in the finals.
The Bulldogs found their bite in the second semi-final, crushing Bay Power 30.19 (199) to 2.2 (14), then caused their first major upset in outgunning the Bombers, to whom they had lost in three of their four round clashes, 17.11 (113) to 12.13 (85).
Most expected them to be put to the sword by Waves in the decider, but after sticking with the hot favourites for three quarters and with scores locked together with 10 minutes to go, Clint Ennis struck with back-to-back goals.
Victory was especially sweet after they had lost one game all of last season leading into the final, only to be trumped by Bombers.
Despite Ennis’ heroics, Andrew Hatfield took out the Best on Ground award, but both were beaten for the club’s Best and Fairest by Justin Modra for the second year in a row.
For Webb, 27, it was his first flag for the club, joining after moving to Bundaberg from Victoria in 1996, and he said he experienced “sheer excitement, relief and jubilation” when the final siren sounded, while it was also extra special for his father, Terry, who has worked tirelessly as club president for the past nine years and also League president for two.
“I lost four junior finals in a row, and last year. At the lowest times, we were beaten by Maryborough in the early 2000s, but this time, having all three grades still there in the last 10 minutes when we were neck and neck, and the roar around the ground was just incredible and I will never forget it.”
The team included Luke Sicker, whose father Brenton Sickerdick was captain of their previous Senior champion team of 1995 and who played a key role in their Reserve grade triumph this year.
Two players were backing up from under-17 earlier in the day, their captain Steven Grogan and Webb’s youngest brother, Haymon.
Their other Best and Fairests went to Ryan Norton (U-15), Steve Grogan (U-15) and Jason Whiting (Reserves), while committee member Jeff Watson was honoured with Life Membership.