Bunbury stormed into Sunday’s SWFLW grand final against South Bunbury after recording a slick 5.5 (35) to 4.2 (26) win over the Harvey Bulls in Sunday’s preliminary final at Payne Park.
Ultimately, the Bulls’ lack of execution across the half back line cost them victory, with several promising surges fizzling out into turnovers.
The home side had the better of the opening exchanges, despite weathering a fierce level of physical pressure from the Bulls.
Hitting their targets with pinpoint accuracy, the Bulldogs hit the scoreboard first through Georgia Mahony, who read the flight of the ball brilliantly in the teeth of goal and snapped over her shoulder.
Wave after wave of attacking raids rained down on the Bulls’ defence, but the damage inflicted by the hosts was minimal.
Trailing by eight points at quarter time, Bulls coach Adrian Kirk encouraged his players to relax and take their time when assessing their options.
Bulls players Fleur Parker and Doma Fedele heeded Kirk’s instructions from the opening of the second quarter and combined to put the visitors within two points at the seven minute-mark.
But for all of their endeavour, the Bulls could not land a hammer blow and a late run and carry goal from Bulldogs speedstar Casara Hill appeared to knock the wind out of their sails.
The visitors charged out of the gate in the third quarter with two goals in 90 seconds, which set up a thrilling finish. However the Bulldogs would not be denied a third successive grand final appearance and ended the Bulls’ season with a defiant final term.
Injuries were a major talking point, with Parker suffering a leg injury in the final term, while Bulldogs ruck Cian Parsons was helped off the field by two trainers after a serious knee injury in the second quarter.
Bulldogs president Tom Busher told the South Western Times that Parsons would be “highly doubtful” for Sunday’s grand final against South Bunbury, as her personal welfare was a first and foremost priority.
Parker suffered a severe cut on her leg during a rigorous contest during the final minute of play, with Bulls president Joe Rognetta and Bulls supporters initially worried her injury was worse.