A valiant, but under strength, UNSW/ES Bulldogs side has come away second after taking on Western Magic against Blacktown on the weekend.
The rain threatened but stayed away as captain Adam Martin pulled on the guernsey for his 50th match for the club.
Magic got the early start with a couple of quick goals as they moved the ball well, which led to the Bulldogs applying more pressure around the contests to slow the ball movement down. This helped them to get on the scoreboard after a mark in the forward 50, however Magic soon took the ascendancy and showed why they were in second place on the ladder as they piled on four more goals to finish with six for the term.
The second quarter saw better contested footy, with neither side able to break the game open. Each team was able to nab a goal, but it was a see-sawing affair – as one mid-field appeared dominant, the other’s defence was usually able to stand tall and halt any progress. After a low scoring quarter, the Bulldogs hit the sheds behind by 29 points – 2.4 (16) to Magic’s 8.7 (55).
With improvement needed in the third, the Bulldogs had to step up. Their effort managed to break the game open, as a clever dribble goal began to reduce the margin. The Bulldogs started to apply the same free flowing play that had got Magic on top and it led to a handful of goals whilst thwarting Magic’s attack. After limiting Magic to only goal from a long range set shot, the Dogs were a chance for an upset if they could continue to counter attack in the final quarter.
“I don’t think we were switched on for the first quarter and they just ran over the top of us”, said Martin post game. “[At half time, I just asked them to] come out hard and be tough at the ball and it was a credit to the boys that they were really able to challenge for the 22 minutes.”
Unfortunately they couldn’t maintain the effort, with the game tightening up at the start of the fourth despite the Bulldogs showing desperation to continue their fightback. Magic got a break and stunned the momentum with two rapid goals. Turnovers were costly as the Bulldogs gave the game away after a few errors, with the scoreboard reading Magic’s 13.14 (92) to Bulldogs 7.6 (48) at the end of play.
“The team’s slow start didn’t help today,” said coach Dennis Rider of the loss. “The boy’s usual aggressive nature seemed to go missing when we needed it most”.”
We asked Adam about his time at the club as he celebrated his 50th for the club.
Favourite memory at the club? In 2014, we needed to win the last four games in a row to make the finals. We were on a four game winning streak, beating some of the top sides.
What do you bring to the team? Try to lead by example and rally the boys on the field.
How can the team improve from here? Just being a little bit more switched on, starting strong out of the blocks. Not letting teams get the jump on us.
Goal Kickers: M. Craigie 5, P. Barclay 3, N. Slan, B. Moore, A. Carey, D. Nieass, D. Hurwood
Best Players: M. Craigie, D. Mcintyer, D. Hurwood, D. Nieass, B. White, P. Mohammadian
UNSW EASTERN SUBURBS BULLDOGS
Goal Kickers: J. Nash 2, D. Backler 2, E. Riley, T. Dunkley, K. Costello
Best Players: L. Kenyon, L. McDuff, J. Nash, T. O”Donnell, T. Dunkley, J. Tighe