After a 29-year wait, Dogs have their day
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.