Af­ter a 29-year wait, Dogs have their day

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - REECE HOMFRAY

THEY waited 29 years for re­venge on their cross-town ri­vals and when East Gam­bier gave North Gam­bier a dose of their own medicine, they made sure to cel­e­brate.

The Bull­dogs broke a three­decade premier­ship drought to beat the Tigers by 37 points in the Western Bor­der Football League grand fi­nal at Caster­ton last month, which was their first flag since 1988.

“It was a big night at the Ken­nel,” East Gam­bier pres­i­dent Aaron Davis said.

“And a big day on the Sun­day, and the Mon­day, and play­ers were walk­ing out of their (ri­vals’) pubs with medals around their necks.

“It was just good to get the mon­key off the back and it was good to win it for the older gen­er­a­tion, who hadn’t seen any suc­cess since 1988.”

Davis said the win was even sweeter given it came against North Gam­bier, which has dished out its fair share of pain over the years.

“We’ve been their whip­ping boys for a long time,” Davis said.

“They flogged us mid-year then, in the first fi­nal, they beat us by four goals.

“But in the grand fi­nal it was like they didn’t get off the bus.”

Davis said the club had to over­come the loss of six play­ers to in­jury from the in­ter­league car­ni­val mid-year but had enough in the tank come fi­nals time.

The Bull­dogs had six teams - three football and three net­ball - in grand fi­nals and also won the re­serves and un­der-13s footy and un­der-15s net­ball.

He said the club had done some smart re­cruit­ing and they de­liv­ered.

“It’s a big re­sult when you go af­ter some­thing and comes off,” he said.

“We got Matt Will­son from Penola as joint-coach with Matt Scan­lon be­cause we felt we could up­grade our mid­field it and get a re­ally good bloke into the club.

“And a lot of old East play­ers came back this year, they’d played ju­niors at the club so were zero-point­ers (on the points sys­tem cap). Hav­ing good peo­ple around your club is the se­cret to hav­ing suc­cess and the boys are su­per-keen to go again next year.”

BORN READY: Barmera-Monash’s Steve Bur­ton with his Sun­day Mail Medal, in ad­di­tion to the RFL’s Whillas Medal as the league’s best and fairest and, in­set, the man he was named for, Whillas Medal­list Steve McFar­lane.

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