By Aaron Goodwin
It went right down to the final moments in the Round 10 AFL Wide Bay seniors fixture between Bundaberg rivals, Brothers Bulldogs and the Across the Waves Eagles on 12 June.
In the end it wasn’t a match-winning goal that secured the two point win for Waves,(42-40) instead it was the fact Waves kicked two more behinds in a second half slog at the Brothers Sports Complex.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Bulldogs to be so close to their first seniors win of the season.
In what Waves coach Jimmy Power described to his players as a must win game, Power said it was a gutsy win for his side.
Waves were down half a dozen regular run-on seniors, including South Queensland representative Damian McRae.
To make matters worse, Power said a few other players also carried injuries into Saturday’s clash.
”We finished the game with nobody left on the bench and a few people running around pretty well cooked,” Mr Power said.
”At the end of the game I said to the boys it was a gutsy win.
”We got done what we needed to get done, probably not the way we wanted to do it but I’m still happy at the end of the day with it.”
The Bulldogs got out to a fast start, kicking three goals to the Waves’ one in the first quarter, before Waves hit back with three of their own in the second.
With Brothers holding a seven point lead at halftime, that’s when the slog began, with Waves kicking the only goal in the second half.
Bulldogs coach Jack Sickerdick said that while the end result was disappointing, the performance gives the squad a massive boost and more experience of being in a winning position.
”Credit to Waves for hanging in there all day but we were in front for 78 minutes, we just couldn’t do the last two minutes,” Mr Sickerdick said.
”We didn’t take the opportunities when he had it, we kicked 5.10.
”I’ve been saying it to the boys since the start of the year, we are in games all the time we just kick ourselves out if it.
”Saturday we made a stand and said we aren’t accepting anything other than what we put out on the day.”
The Bulldogs coach said that it will be back to executing the basics and running hard both ways when they play the fast and second placed Bay Power outfit in Round 11.
”That’s what we’ve put out on display and that’s now what we want to be known for,”Mr Sickerdick said.
”We want that match to be the benchmark.
”That’s number one, just consistency from this point on.”
Coming off a thuming loss to the Hervey Bay Bombers, Power said that it was soul searching week at training last week, with a team meeting held to evaluate where the club is at.
”Everyone was keen to buy-in and use it as a learning to go on with the rest of the season,” Mr Power said.
”We sat down after that game against Hervey Bay and addressed what we wanted to do this year.
”We say we are not here to make numbers up and put our time and effort to train for eight months, to not give the premiership a good shake.
”Our long term goal is not just to make the grand final, but to win it when we get there.”
The reigning premiers Waves have the bye in Round 11 and play Bay Power at home in Round 12.
The Hervey Bay Bombers defeated Bay Power, 63-35 in the other Round 10 game.