Following their convincing win over Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault in round 13, the Bunbury Bulldogs have moved to third on the ladder behind Donnybrook and Eaton.
Prepared for stiff competition at Brunswick Oval, Bunbury stood a reasonable chance of victory against the Lions.
Having won the toss, and choosing to kick towards the northern end, Bunbury was confident they could take away the four points.
However, the home side made its mark immediately after the opening bouncedown.
With Bunbury put on the back foot early on, HBL had the first two shots on goal for the game.
After a number of attempts strayed wide, the Lions worked overtime to kick the game’s first goal.
Lion forward Kristin Thornton broke the drought and gave his side a clear lead midway through the term.
The ball skimmed along the ground, with players on both sides failing to gain possession.
Midfielders found themselves slipping and sliding around the ground, as Bunbury struggled to create more opportunities.
Making matters worse for the Bulldogs, HBL’s Jesse Crichton found a gap before kicking his side’s second goal just prior to the siren.
Bunbury regained some momentum before quarter time, but was halted by HBL’s backline.
The Bulldogs’ fortunes then turned around when star forward Matt Martin kicked the team’s first goal for the game.
At the other end, Bunbury back Kane Bumann prevented several late attempts from the home side.
Achieving a 2.5.17 to 1.1.7 lead at the first change, HBL looked destined to clinch their seventh win of the year.
HBL scored just one point in the second quarter, while Bunbury managed to pull together and turn the tables.
Bulldog Jesse Gribble sent a perfect snap kick through the posts, before the visitors’ third goal gave them the lead.
Overcoming a strong easterly wind, Bradley Blake’s goal gifted his team with a seven-point buffer at half time.
Despite missing powerhouse forward Brett Peake, the Bulldogs continued their run with four unanswered goals in the third term.
The Bulldogs were hampered by a muddy playing surface and HBL’s midfielders early in the quarter.
Following the side’s fifth goal, Bunbury’s midfielders created numerous chances for the forwards.
Bulldogs Braiden Mcmullen, Asten Preedy, and Liam Renton slotted three snap kicks one after another, putting their team in front by 32 at three-quarter time.
Martin solidified his reputation with two goals in the final term, before Matt Partridge’s effort destroyed any chance of a HBL comeback.
Having kicked only one point in the second and another in the third, HBL celebrated as David Newman nabbed his team’s third goal.
Their happiness was short lived, as Bunbury went on to celebrate a 11.8.74 to 3.8.26 victory.
VC Mitchell Park was the perfect setting for a tight, hard-fought showdown between Donnybrook and South Bunbury on Saturday afternoon.
The Dons came back from a 19-point deficit at three-quarter time to nab a 8.11.59 to 8.10.58 victory, giving them their 11th win of the season.
Sitting closely behind Donnybrook on the league ladder, Eaton delivered a satisfying performance against Carey Park.
Following a seven-goal second quarter and a seven-goal fourth term, the Boomers stormed home to an emphatic 20.11.131 to 5.7.37 result.
It was a weekend of despair for the Collie Eagles. Fans were flabbergasted following the side’s 10.13.73 to 0.8.8 defeat to Busselton.
Earning themselves a 9.11.65 to 6.8.44 win over the Harvey Bulls, Augusta-Margaret River remains in finals contention with five rounds remaining.