Bombers prepare for Bulldog bite to break premiership drought

Cameron Newbold & Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
Boxwood Hill’s Michael Swarbrick is tackled in last year’s grand final against Gnowangerup.
Camera IconBoxwood Hill’s Michael Swarbrick is tackled in last year’s grand final against Gnowangerup. Credit: Richard Poulish

Boxwood Hill will be out to break a 12-year premiership drought when they tackle arch rivals Gnowangerup in Saturday’s Ongerup Football Association league grand final at Newdegate.

The last grand-final triumph for Boxwood was back in 2006 but a thumping 72-point second semifinal win over the Bulldogs secured their place in this year’s decider.

The Bulldogs qualified for their fourth straight grand final after rebounding to win last Saturday’s preliminary final over Newdegate by 11 points.

Last year the Bulldogs won the premiership after defeating the Bombers by 15 points and will chase their third flag in four years on Saturday.

Boxwood coach Alan Smallwood said his side were preparing for a much tighter contest than a fortnight ago.

“We believe we’ve been slowly building all year,” he said.

“Gnowangerup have been in the last four grand finals so we are under no illusions how tough a challenge it will be.

“We need to replicate what we did (in the second semifinal), but we are not getting ahead of ourselves because we know Gnowangerup were probably not at their best that day.”

Smallwood said the midfield battle will be crucial to either side getting on top and taking their chances up forward was also vital.

Shane Davy has kicked 36 goals from 12 games and looms as a key for the Bombers along with star midfielder Isaac Baum and experienced head Michael Swarbrick.

The Bulldogs have won two of their four encounters with the Bombers this season and player-coach Christian Rumble said they will have to contain their opponents run and ball movement.

“It has probably suited us playing that extra game,” Rumble said.

“They are very fit and moved the ball well (in the second semifinal) so we have to stem the flow early.

“I don’t think we have gone back-to-back, certainly not recently so its a big day.”

Scott Anderson and recently crowned joint Ganzer medallist Tyler Caldwell are both keys for the Bulldogs who will look to spearhead Craig Bolton Jr for a big bag of goals.

The league grand final will start at 2.10pm while in the minor grades Boxwood are looking to bounce back from their reserves grand final defeat last year as they take on Lake Grace-Pingrup at 11am.

The Eagles are into their fourth straight juniors grand final and will be chasing a third premiership in the time as they take on the Bulldogs at 12.35pm.

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