Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON michael. thomp­son@ news. com. au

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.

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