Bulls take momentum into home final

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Mt Barker celebrate a goal on Sunday.
Camera IconMt Barker celebrate a goal on Sunday. Credit: Laurie Benson

Mt Barker coach Brad Hook is adamant his side can get even stronger following their 104-point win over Albany, a result which has earned the Bulls a home elimination final against reigning premiers North Albany on Sunday.

The Bulls will have the chance to end the Kangas’ golden run that has yielded them the past five premierships on their home deck Sounness Park, after piling on eight goals in both the second and fourth quarters of the last game of the regular season on Sunday.

Heading into the game, the Bulls knew a win over the Sharks would secure third place and hosting rights for the first semifinal, and by half-time all signs were pointing up the highway.

Mt Barker's Dionne Woods looks to get past Albany's Luke Mowaljarlai Sr.
Camera IconMt Barker's Dionne Woods looks to get past Albany's Luke Mowaljarlai Sr. Credit: Laurie Benson

An eight-goal second term helped the visitors open up a 46-point advantage at half-time, and they held the Sharks at bay in the third, then powered home with another eight goals in the last quarter.

The 23.14 (152) to 7.6 (48) win came with Kym Monteath, Daniel Henderson and Leigh Conway all missing, and Hook believes his side are in great shape to attack the finals. “We just had to win, we didn’t care by how much — it was simply winning,” Hook said.

“We knew Sharks would turn up and compete really hard, and they did.

“We’ve won six out of our last eight games and were really competitive against Royals, so we are happy with our form heading in.

“Continuity has been a problem, but we still haven’t had our best 22 out there and we’ve got a couple to add back in.”

Albany's Luke Mowaljarlai Jr gets around Mt Barker's Nitan Benevides.
Camera IconAlbany's Luke Mowaljarlai Jr gets around Mt Barker's Nitan Benevides. Credit: Laurie Benson

Monteath, Henderson, Conway and Aidin Williss are likely inclusions for the first final, while John Lee is also an outside chance to play.

Veteran Dionne Woods stitched up his first Sean Plaisted Medal in the round 15 win, booting three goals to edge out Jesse Wynne by four goals in the leading goal kicker race.

Wynne was outstanding in the victory with six majors, including four before half-time, while Nic Chidgzey, David Stone and Peter Taylor were also crucial in the middle of the ground, and defender Lee Pavlovich continued his great form.

The Sharks had their moments, but were again let down by skill errors at critical stages in the game, and they went scoreless in the last quarter of their season which began so brightly.

Mt Barker's Peter Taylor and Dionne Woods celebrate a goal.
Camera IconMt Barker's Peter Taylor and Dionne Woods celebrate a goal. Credit: Laurie Benson

Bryce Blaszkow worked tirelessly in the middle and kicked two goals, while Fraser Eaton, Coen Marwick and Robbie Lee (two goals) were also among their better players.

Sharks coach Kim Mayfield said the last-quarter fade-out was tough to avoid. “It’s pretty hard, the last quarter of the year, and you’ve got no hope of winning,” he said.

“Numbers, rotations, fitness — they all contribute and Mt Barker were using the ball so well.

“It’s challenging for players who know you are not going to play finals.

“The good thing was it’s another chance to blood some young blokes, Jackson Cosh in his first game, and Flynn Turton and Sam O’Dea have only played a couple.”

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