The UNSW-ES Bulldogs President has lauded the efforts of their Premier men’s coach in the wake of a tight victory over competition leaders, SUANFC. The sides faced each other in a top of the table clash at Henson Park on Sunday. Though, unlike the last time they played, the Dogs finished on top.
The win places the Bulldogs on equal points with first placed SUANFC, behind only on percentage. Both teams are ten points clear of the nearest competition.
Bulldogs President, Stephen Dunkley, heaped praise on the sides coach, Stephen Pollock, for his ability to get the best out of his young side.
“[Pollock]’s done a fantastic job; he speaks very well; he’s obviously played a really good standard of football and in fact, he’s been even better since he’s been on the field and lead from the field,” Dunkley said.
Pollock’s appointment sparked a turnaround for the Premier division side, which only managed to win three games in total last season.
Pollock was appreciative of Dunkley’s “great” support and said that the club was “probably the luckiest” to have a President as open to the players as Dunkley has been.
He also acknowledged that there were now expectations on the playing group to play well throughout the back end of the season and to make an impact in the finals.
Led from the front by the coach, the Bulldogs put SUANFC to the sword in the first quarter. SUANFC were unable to find an answer to the immense pressure put on their receivers from the Dogs; hampering their possession and ability to move the ball away from their goal line. While the lethargic looking SUANFC looked better towards the tail end of the period, they were unable to stop the Dogs marching past 50 points, 45 of which went unanswered. The Dogs finished on 51 (8.3) to SUANFC’s 6 (1.0).
However, an early SUANFC behind signalled the second quarter would be more even than the opening period. Despite this, the Bulldogs dominated much of the early play with two goals and three behinds before the SUANFC mid-field righted the wrongs of the previous quarter and, with the aid of a sloppy Dogs defence, scored 3 goals to end the first half on a high. The Dogs on 66 (10.6) for the quarter and SUANFC on 25 (4.1).
SUANFC capitalised on the momentum they had going into half time by putting away the first four scoring kicks of the third quarter. While the Dogs answered with a goal, they struggled to wrestle back any momentum with constant pressure on their defensive 50. The pressure resulted in mistakes from the back line and SUANFC drew within ten points of the Dogs. The crowd was on the edge of their seats as the Students looked to gain ascendancy, before a strong mark in the goal square saw UNSW/ES Sam Wilson kick truly and the margin stretch to 82 (12.10) to 58 (9.4).
Bulldogs Co-captain, Jeremy Daniher, said it was important to start adhering to their game plan again after a disappointing third quarter.
“Everyone was trying to rush and rush and rush,” Daniher said. He believed the team had to “slow it down and play a bit of tempo footy” to ensure the game was again being played on their terms.
The change of pace didn’t impact the contest between the two teams, which became more aggressive and close in the final quarter. It took over seven minutes before the Dogs were able to put away the first points of the period and widen the gap, but continued pressure from SUANFC ensured the Dogs wouldn’t be able to relax. The last quarter was an arm wrestle, but SUANFC were unable to bridge the gap. The final score 95 (14.11) to the Bulldogs and 78 (12.6) for SUANFC.
UNSW EASTERN SUBURBS BULLDOGS
Goal Kickers: S. Pollock 4, S. Wilson 3, H. Annear 2, J. Cann 2, J. Bell, T. Heath, J. Hardman
Best Players: J. Bartholomaeus, J. Bell, T. Heath, O. Gohl, H. Annear, J. Wachman
Goal Kickers: A. Gillespie 3, N. Foster 2, M. Vicic, J. Irving, T. Stewart, S. Ryan, A. Clarke, M. Krochmal, C. Morgan
Best Players: M. Mahady, M. Krochmal, D. Johnson, A. Clarke, S. Ryan, M. Fogarty