2017 SWFL grand finals: Bunbury beat HBL for the league flag

The Bunbury Bulldogs league side became their club’s third premiership winning team in 2017 with a convincing victory over Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault in Sunday’s grand final.

A packed crowd at Hands Oval braved the wind and rain, cheering emphatically as both sides came out onto the ground.

Bunbury got off to a rollicking start from minute one while HBL suffered similar issues to their colts and reserves sides (both of whom lost their grand finals earlier in the day).

The Bulldogs put the pressure on the Lions but struggled for accuracy, scoring the first four behinds of the game.

It took former AFL star Brett Peake to kick the first goal of the game. 

Bulldogs Matt Martin and Xavier Williamson kicked accurately to extend Bunbury’s lead by 22 points midway through the opening term.

Lion Ty Armitage was then yellow carded and sent off, making HBL’s day go from bad to worse.

Bulldog Harry Creasey’s goal gave Bunbury a 4.5.29 to 0.0.0 lead at quarter time.

HBL league coach Derek Hall pushed for his players to get dirty and for his forwards to get in front and take charge.

“We need to make sure our tail doesn’t go between our legs,” he said.

HBL got its first score on the board in the second quarter before Lion’s star Kristin Thomson missed a crucial opportunity from the boundary line.

HBL finally scored their first goal midway through the term, thanks to Brayden Prentice’s accurate kicking.

Torrential rain and freezing temperatures made the experience difficult for everyone. Despite the lights being kicked into gear at the ground, visibility was poor across the playing surface.

A brawl in Bunbury’s forward 50 saw Bulldog Connor Walker and Lion Jarrad Watson shown yellow cards. 

Soon after, the umpires ordered Armitage to take a second spell on the bench for rough conduct. 

The Bulldogs had the game in their grasp 5.6.36 to 2.4.16 at the main break.

HBL’s Jordan Sell showcased his side’s potential, weaving through Bunbury midfielders before setting up an opportunity in the forward line.

As the rain eased off in the third quarter, both sides engaged in end-to-end play.

The weather had already made its mark as players slipped over around the ground.

Bulldogs Martin and Aiden Clarke each kicked a goal to further hinder their opponents.

Ahead 7.6.48 to 2.5.17 at three quarter time, Bulldogs coach Jamie Nani pleaded for his side to grind and finish off the game on top.

HBL maintained possession and kept Bunbury’s forwards from attaining chances in the final term.

The side could not catch a break as Lion Kristin Thornton’s shot from the boundary line hit the post.

More goals to Clarke and Martin sent Bunbury fans into a frenzy, with a premiership dream quickly becoming a reality.

Bunbury’s players, coaches and crowd members erupted when the final siren sounded, running out convincing 10.8.68 to 2.6.18 winners.

Clarke ran up to the podium and happily accepted the Pike Medal as best-on-ground. 

Nani and captain Codey Hay then accepted the SWFL 2017 premiership pennant and cup in front of fans and flashing cameras. 

To rub salt into the wounds of what was a bad day for HBL, the Lions 2.6.18 will go down as the lowest SWFL grand final score of all time, beating last year’s record low score of 4.7.31 recorded by Collie against South Bunbury.