LYNESS SHARP AS DOGS BITE
A FORMER skipper came back to propel the Thuringowa Bulldogs to a drought- breaking 66- point win over the Northern Beaches Suns.
Premiership winning captain Ricky Lyness returned from a longterm absence to boot six goals in the Bulldogs’ 18.10 ( 118) to 7.10 ( 52) win at Tony Ireland Stadium, snapping a two- game losing streak.
Lyness played earlier in the season but become unavailable because of work commitments, but a window of spare time allowed the club stalwart to return and help secure the much- needed win.
Saturday’s game started on an even footing as the Suns and Bulldogs finished the first quarter at two goals apiece, but the home side kicked away to a seven goals to three halftime advantage.
The big win was secured in the championship quarter when Thuringowa restricted Northern Beaches to four behinds, while booting another six majors themselves.
The Suns rallied to prevent a major blowout by going goal for goal with Thuringowa before full- time, with each team kicking seven goals in the final term.
Bulldogs coach Chris Butcher said Lyness was likely to be available for finals following his matchwinning exploits.
“He came back and really sharpened us up going forward,” he said.
“He’s been unable to play because of work but he was able to get a game in yesterday and I think he’ll be available weeks.
“Having him there for that game helped blokes familiarise themselves with each other, and his experience will be very important for us near the end of the year.”
Daine Macdonald and Lachlan O’Dwyer ensured Lyness was no one- man band, kicking five and four goals, respectively, while Joshua Gonzalez and Ben Holden booted multiples for Northern Beaches.
Powerhouses of the Townsville AFL competition for the past decade, Thuringowa has found itself in the unfamiliar position of being outside the top two in the lead- up to finals.
The Bulldogs lost their previous two games to ladder leaders Hermit Park ( 124- 72) and University ( 107- 76).
“Obviously we have a very young again in the next few squad this year,” Butcher said.
“We gave another one of our 17year- old players Sean Irwin his senior debut yesterday, and Colby Nunan and Matthew Powell also played for us again, so we have a great group of 17- year- olds coming through.
“It’s great for the depth of the club that we have players like them coming through.”
There was downside to the win, however, with Charlie Gaudion set to miss a handful of weeks after suffering a first quarter shoulder injury.
In the day’s other game ladder leaders Hermit Park ran riot against Curra Swans to score a 46.17 ( 293) to 1.2 ( 8) win at Muldoon Oval.
Leroy Larson went off for 12 majors in the Tigers thumping win while Brodie Starr added 10 goals and Robert Braun seven in the lopsided result.
IN TRAFFIC: Thuringowa’s Charlie Gaudion gets a kick away in the Bulldogs win over the Northern Beaches Suns at Tony Ireland Stadium.