Bulldogs fight off the Cougars to win CAFL Premiership
11 Nov, 2019
The Christchurch Bulldogs have won their sixth Canterbury AFL (CAFL) Premiership after a stunning third quarter set up the victory at Hagley Park on Saturday.
The 2019 CAFL Grand Final promised to be a great day for footy. The crowds turned up to watch the reigning premiers the University Cougars take on the ever impressive Christchurch Bulldogs who were playing their 11th straight Grand Final since their first Grand Final appearance in 2009.
This years round robin play saw the Bulldogs take 2 out of 3 contests with Cougars handing the Dogs their only defeat of the year.
Bulldogs skipper Dean Cameron won the toss and chose to kick with the wind in the first quarter.
The opening 10 minutes was high pressure footy with midfield surrounding the ball and defences for both teams repelling the ball on multiple occasions.
With the wind holding the ball in the Dogs forward pocket they forced a couple of points before an end to end combination saw the Cougars kick the first goal of the game.
The Bulldogs managed to hold their composure and got themselves back in the game thanks to some hard running from Nathan Hayes.
A few seconds into the second quarter saw Steve Ferres (Bulldogs) capitalise on some hard work out of the middle by Kyle Smith setting him up for an easy shot on goal.
The Cougars hit back quickly using the breeze to good affect with a pin point kick from Nick Rhodes finding his key target in the forward line.
A late end to end goal started at the Cougars back pocket and some good use of the ball by Brennan Clarke and Nathan Ryan saw the footy delivered deep into the forward line and it was a 2 point ball game at half time.
Conditions were quite muggy for the Premiership Quarter as wind was still gusting but had moved to the north east and was blowing across the middle of the ground.
The Bulldogs produced 4 goals for the quarter while down back, the experience of Sam Burdett and Dean Cameron saw the Cougars manage to only score 2 behinds.
With a 25 point lead going into the final term, the wind suddenly died down and that made it hard for the Cougars to mount a comeback.
They managed 3 goals for the quarter but the Bulldogs bit straight back as their fit young stars started to lift.
A noticeable turning point in the game and an indication of who wanted the ball more was when Rising Star of the Year Caleb McPherson ran hard to smother a clearing kick. The Ball was trapped in the Dogs forward line and they made the most of it by sealing the Premiership with a goal.
A special mention goes to Jacob Skye Tahu-Thomson who has played in 11 straight Grand Finals for the Bulldogs.
Christchurch Bulldogs: 10.10: 70
University Cougars: 6.5: 41
Best on Ground: Dan Otley (Christchurch Bulldogs)
Images: Matty Louis Photography