Waves add salt to Dogs' wounds
AN eight-point win has strengthened Across The Waves' status as title favourites and extended the gap between their local rivals Brothers Bulldogs.
Waves' 13.16.94 to 13.8.86 victory continued their unbeaten run against the Dogs this season and leaves them with just one loss after 17 rounds.
Most impressive was Waves' ability to weather an early Bulldogs storm, taking control of the game in the second and third quarters through courageous running and crisp ball movement.
Man mountain Aaron Purcell provided the impetus for the Dogs' stunning start, kicking the opening goal almost directly from the first bounce and memories of last round's 84-point hiding at the hands of Waves were quickly forgotten.
Another major to Clint Ennis soon after had the small Brothers contingent in raptures, while the Waves bar was noticeably quiet.
But momentum swung soon after quarter-time – back-to-back goals from Paul Welsh putting Waves ahead 45-40 shortly before half-time.
For the next half hour it was all Waves, pressing Brothers in defence and not allowing them out of their own territory.
Led by skipper Brendan Murchie and Michael Liverton - sporting a Rocky Balboa hairdo - the blue and yellow hunted in packs to shut down the Dogs' attempts to break free.
When Karl Williams slotted a huge major from deep in the right pocket after the three-quarter time siren it all but signalled the end for Brothers.
Suddenly the patrons were full of voice, reminding those unlucky Brothers players roaming in the forward pocket of the scoreboard at every opportunity.
A tactical switch saw Purcell move into defence for the besieged Brothers and it helped them restore order in the midfield.
They were able to restrict Waves to a solitary behind in the final quarter, while booting 26 points of their own.
Their 13th major was the most celebrated and it seemed like the Dogs could sniff an unlikely victory.
But the hooter sounded soon after and halted any final charge the Dogs had in their tired legs.
Best on ground for Waves was skipper Brendan Murchie, while Paul Welsh kicked four goals.
Clint Ennis slotted six majors for Brothers and Justin Modra also stood out for the Dogs.