The Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs have won the 2017 Wellington AFL Grand Final after a convincing win over the Wellington City Saints at Hutt Park in Seaview. It’s the Bulldogs fifth straight Premiership.
The stage was set to continue the rivalry that has simmered over the past few seasons between the Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs and the Wellington City Saints. It was a warm day at Hutt Park with a light southerly blowing down the ground, and the physicality started from the opening bounce.
With the wind at their backs, the Saints looked to capitalise quickly, with the ball staying locked in their attacking half early but the Bulldogs were able to wrestle the momentum back, winning the quarter.
The second quarter saw the Bulldogs use the wind to their advantage as they piled on five goals while keeping the Saints scoreless at the other end.
Lesser teams would have called it quits at this point, but the Saints rose to the challenge and dominated the third quarter, with the ball rarely leaving their attacking half. The Bulldogs defence was under constant pressure and after keeping the Bulldogs scoreless, a Saints goal after the siren gave them confidence heading into the final term.
The four time defending Premiers bounced right back in the final quarter kicking two quick goals. The Saints snuck in a late consolation goal but the wind coupled with the Bulldogs experience gave them their fifth Premiership when the final siren sounded.
Dan Lewington who held strong in a tough ruck contest was named Best on Ground for the Bullldogs, and notable mentions went to Blake Neve, who kicked five goals for the game and Jayden Plumb. Jayden’s father Dave Plumb played in the 1995 and 1996 Wellington AFL Grand Final and this is the first recorded occurrence of a father-son playing in WAFL Grand Finals.
James ‘Smokey’ Corcoran was give best on ground for the Saints with a stellar performance in the middle of the ground. Notable mentions went to Tim Parkes, Andrew Bisset, and Coby Dodds, with the experience of Simon ‘Red’ Charles and Jason Cox providing a solid foundation for the Saints.
The Saints felt they delivered a strong performance in the centre of the park in this year’s Grand Final, and will be contenders once again in 2018.
This is the second Grand Final appearance in a row for the Saints, and the 5th Premiership in a row that the Bulldogs have won. Will the Bulldogs be able to grab a 6th straight flag in 2018, or will their dynasty be broken?
Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs: 11.9: 75
Wellington City Saints: 2.3: 15