Bunbury and Eaton Boomers are neck-and-neck on the South West Football League ladder following the Bulldogs' 27-point victory over Donnybrook in round 15.
As usual, Bunbury’s star forward Brett Peake was a force to be reckoned with.
Peake slotted six goals at Payne Park, giving his side confidence ahead of its derby clash with South Bunbury this weekend.
Going into their clash with Donnybrook last Sunday, the Bulldogs were the underdogs.
Having picked up 11 wins from the first 14 rounds, the Dons seemed destined to secure the 2018 minor premiership.
However, Bunbury has grown in strength thanks to wins against Carey Park, Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault, and Augusta-Margaret River in recent weeks.
Assisted by a slight wind, Bunbury took charge against Donnybrook from the opening bouncedown.
As the wind picked up, the home side put their first few efforts through the point posts.
Ten minutes in, however, Bulldog Dylan Heasman kicked the game’s first goal and put his side further in front.
Bunbury held the lead throughout the game, while Donnybrook struggled to keep up.
As the Dons failed to create opportunities in their half, the Bulldogs’ midfielders established themselves as some of the best in the league.
Donnybrook finally broke through late in the term, with Tyler Patterson setting up Chris Atthowe 20 metres out.
Following Atthowe’s goal (and the Dons’ only goal for the term), Peake kicked his first goal of the day close to the boundary line.
Aided by a tight backline and fast midfielders, Bunbury earned itself a 10-point lead at quarter time.
Donnybrook kicked off the second term in style, as Todd Gregory closed the gap with a kick inside the goalsquare.
Desperate to extend/take the lead, both sides created a bevvy of chances.
Bunbury fans jeered when the umpire pulled the ball back instead of letting Tyson Wood play on.
Play moved up and down the ground throughout the term, with neither Bunbury nor Donnybrook able to convert.
The home crowd felt relief after Cameron Lamonica kicked his first and only goal of the clash.
Matt Martin, however, failed to put his shots through the goal posts.
Donnybrook’s Herbert Cameron kicked his first of three goals for the game, right before Bulldog Jesse Gribble put his team further in front.
Attaining a 4.7.31 to 3.3.21 lead at the main break, the Bulldogs worked to avoid a second half fade-out.
Donnybrook clinged to hopes of victory, as Brett Eades put himself on Donnybrook’s long list of goalscorers.
Peake took a collection of marks and booted three consecutive goals, before Heasman’s second put Donnybrook’s chances of a comeback in doubt.
As the siren sounded, midfielders from both teams tussled in the middle of the ground, resulting in Atthowe being sent off.
Bunbury carried its remarkable third-quarter form into the final term.
An impressive run from Travis Gray, and an assist from Martin, led to Peake’s fifth goal.
Moments later, Peake’s sixth put the game firmly out of reach for the Dons.
Despite three consecutive goals to Donnybrook late in the term, Bunbury went on to celebrate a 10.12.72 to 7.3.45 win.
The Bulldogs’ players, coaches and fans cheered for Asten Preedy during his 100th league game.
Augusta-Margaret River kept itself in finals contention with a 11.7.73 to 8.4.52 result over Eaton Boomers.
Collie Eagles fought bravely to clinch a 11.14.80 to 6.7.43 victory against Carey Park.
Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault and Busselton played out a low-scoring clash on Saturday night, with the Lions winning 5.9.39 to 3.1.19.
At Hands Oval, South Bunbury entertained the home crowd with its 18.16.124 to 6.7.43 demolition of Harvey.