The first round of the 2023 Canterbury AFL Season took place over the weekend and the competition is off to a hot start with two great games.
The Christchurch Bulldogs and Mid Canterbury Eagles kicked things off with a very close game right up to the final quarter. The Bulldogs came out firing and kicked the first 3 goals of the game, with their young guns and new players all combining perfectly, giving them a comfortable lead, but the Eagles are a strong, competitive team, and they weren’t about to let the ‘Dogs have it their own way.
The next two quarters were very even, with only 2 goals being kicked between the two teams, just 12 points separating them at half time and only 10 points the difference at the last change. Poor shooting from the Bulldogs allowed the Eagles to stay in the hunt for the first win of the season, with the Bulldogs kicking 8 behinds in the third.
But with a slight wind at their back and their experienced, young players coming to the fore, the ‘Dogs kicked three goals to none in the last quarter to run away with the game. A fantastic first outing for both sides, showing they will be two very competitive sides this year.
The second game of the opening round saw a rematch of the 2022 Grand Final, between the Blues and University Cougars. This match was bound to be tightly contested, and with a bundle of changes to both squads since last years final, the game was set to be an intense battle.
The Cougars started with plenty of competitive ball movement around the ground, and took a strong 4 goal lead into quarter time. But the reigning Premiers, Blues wouldn’t lie down easily, and this was the case throughout the following three quarters.
Across the second and third quarters the Blues slowly worked their way back into the contest, with their seasoned campaigners leading the way all over the park, but with the young Cougars playing their first game certainly not being disgraced by matching it with their more experienced opponents.
The final term proved to be very close, with the result only being determined in the closing minutes. A few strong marks and smart play around goal by the Blues gave them a couple of majors, which ultimately saw them run out on top by a slim 8 points. The Cougars had plenty of opportunities to win the game, but despite a very gallant and courageous effort from all who had the maroon and gold jersey on, they couldn’t quite get the score on the board.
Round 1 of CAFL23 was a great success, and with the competition being so tight, it could very well be the closest season of CAFL Men’s footy yet.
Read the full story – CAFL Round 1
Follow along with the 2023 Canterbury AFL season through their website and social media pages, links below