The road to finals: how are teams are faring

With four rounds to go before the Sydney AFL Finals, the UNSW-ES Bulldogs are looking in a strong position to secure final’s berths across the majority of our grades. Let’s take a closer look at some of the crucial match ups in August that could decide our fate.


Our PD Men have performed strongly in 2018, with their recent victory against top of the table North Shore Bombers showing they’re a team to fear in the run up to finals. It’s a hotly contested competition after 13 rounds, with six teams still in the hunt for the final four and our boys currently sitting in third position. Two big games against the East Coast Eagles (2nd position) and Pennant Hills Demons (6th position) should decide the Bulldogs’ final ladder spot, but first they need to overcome the Camden Cats and avenge their Round 8 loss this Saturday.

Ones to watch: Justin Cann and his magic left boot, Tom Banuelos and his bullseye kick, Michael Thompson and his rippling biceps, Darren Pfeiffer who’s up to his old wily tricks and Jack Blair who is finding form late in the season.


With a finals spot assured, our PD Women will be working hard on their structures in the following month to ensure they hit the ground running in September. Currently in second position, a must win match against third place Auburn Giants should dictate the final ladder order, with the Bulldogs wanting to take out the win to give them two bites at the cherry by finishing in the top two. The back to back premiership winners have only lost three games to date, and will be looking to go deep into the final’s series again in 2018.

Ones to watch: Ingrid Nielsen and her RuckIng, Bec Privitelli and her giant mitts, Alison Parkin who’s been in fine form of late, Megan Kiely and her protein bars and Sandra Janjetovic and her Instagram stories.


It’s been a solid season for our PD Reserves, having recorded 10 wins from 14 games with four rounds to go, but their run up to finals is challenging. They need to take down Camden this weekend (4th position) and then get themselves primed for a match up against current ladder leaders, the Pennant Hill Demons, in the last round of regular season. A final’s berth is beckoning under new coach Ryan Farrelly if the lads continue to hold their form in August.

Ones to watch: Liam Hoy and his European adventures, Tom Dunkley who’s in career best form (and isn’t shy about it), Nick McGann who still wants to talk about that Round 1 winner and Andrew Goodieson who’s just playing some quality footy.


Our Division 1 women have had a tough season to date, but have maintained a rather inspirational team culture which keeps them coming back for more. In a competition dominated by teams who don’t have representation in Premier Division, they’ve demonstrated the Bulldog’s values of Respect, Unity and Commitment each week, and have eventually succumbed to coach Peta Hemphill’s dad jokes and high five demands. This weekend sees a big clash against Sydney University, with the game earmarked as a blockbuster early on in the season. A win against the cross town rivals will be just reward for the team of mostly first and second year players.

Ones to watch: Erin Prince and her mighty tackle, Jane Harding and Lulu Talbot who run and weave all day (with Talbot known to back up on the d-floor at night), Sarah Taylor who’s brilliant when she makes herself available and Wiebke Linne and Saxon Smith who have wormed their way into a mention.


Our Division 2 guys have only been beaten in three games in 2018, with a five point loss to St George and a one point nail biter to Sydney Uni recorded since their opening round loss to UTS. Their average winning margin in their ten victories is 54 points, with their firepower up front in good form and their persistent backline working together to keep their opponents consistently under 30 points each match. They’ve secured their place in the 2018 finals series with four matches to go, and all eyes will be on this week’s blockbuster as they take on the Camden Cats who are currently in first position.

Ones to watch: Three new players to the club have impressed for Paul Grafen and Josh Tighe’s Division 2 team, with Nathan Weldon-Bowen, Daniel Seef and Nathan Ryba consistently featuring in the team’s best. Not to be outdone, club favourite Chris Peters has notched up 4 mentions in the past 5 weeks, whilst Tom Williamson has racked up 31 goals (and remains out of favour when it comes to points allocation by the coaches. We’re guessing they expect more out of him.)


With arguably the most challenging run home, our 4th placed Division 3 Men have to tackle Randwick in a local derby followed by Camden (2nd place) and Pennant Hills (3rd place) to stay in the hunt for a final’s position. The boys got up against the Demons in their Round 10 match up, and will be looking to repeat the result in their final round contest of the regular season. It’s been an impressive season for the 4th grade squad who were a late addition to the club’s roster in 2018, and it’s fair to say coach Dennis Rider has got the best out of some ever-improving rookies tutored by seasoned Doggies’ veterans (you know who you are). We look forward to tracking their progress over the next four weeks as some of their more established players mark significant milestones for the club.

Ones to watch: Skipper Troy Nicoll leads the team in the goal kicking department (and in unbridled passion), ably supported by Chris Traill who is in career best form. Other notable mentions go to Yannick Lecordier and Robert Nyugen for their efforts across the field, as well as two of our debut season players Patt Finnerty and Ryan Turner who feature consistently in the best.

U19s DIVISION 1 + 2

For the first time since inception, the Bulldogs have both a Division 1 and Division 2 team in the Under 19’s competition and it’s a united group of skilled and enthusiastic players that wear the red, white and blue each week. With a number of players rotating in and out of the wider squad for representative honours and senior football, their One19s mantras has been demonstrated again and again across the season to date.

Our Division 1 team are sitting in first place with only 1 loss from 13 rounds and will be looking to maintain this position and take out the minor premiership, whilst our Division 2 boys are faring nicely in fourth position with three games to go. Their final’s position will hinge on a big game against the third place Penrith Rams in the last round of the season, which could see them leapfrog to second place on the ladder and promises to be a thriller if the one point margin from Round 6 is any indication. We’ve no doubt coach Tim Burns will inspire his men towards victory – “to be or not to be, that is the question”.

Ones to watch: The lads themselves reckon that Kevin Dyson only has eyes for Gus Alexakis, Tommy Tyson, Errol Gulden, Tom Staines (who’s begging for a forward line call up) and Jack Sorenson but it’s hard to go past Charlie Burgess-Hoar who’s kicked 40 goals in 11 games (and can celebrate) and Greg Baxter who’s been called up for a Sports Illustrated cover after he cut a svelte figure in the team’s water runner shirt.

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