The UNSW Bulldogs are quickly becoming one of the great modern day sides in the Sydney AFL. After winning back-to-back Premiership flags in 2018 and 2019, achieving a three-peat in 2020’s shortened season seems a very strong chance, off the back of consecutive dominant performances in the first two rounds.
On Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs arrived to an overcast Kanebridge Oval to meet a fired up East Coast, but quickly laid waste to the Eagles by 93 points.
The Eagles were well-prepared for what they anticipated to be an extremely difficult challenge, recognising that their opponents would have talent all across the park. Yet still, nothing could prepare our boys for the ambush that was to come.
A competitive first-quarter saw UNSW on-top by three goals, with the Eagles struggling to keep pace with what Coach Hayden Rickard described as a “drilled, highly talented and hungry outfit”, but still they remained in the fight. However, a jaw-dropping specky mark in front of goal from Bulldog prodigy, and current AFL draft prospect Errol Gulden, foreshadowed the onslaught that was about to come.
The second term, from a scoreboard perspective, was as ugly as it gets, with the Bulldogs stamping their authority on the contest, kicking 9 goals to nil and leaving the Eagles searching for answers.
79 points down at half-time would leave even the most hardened of footy sides wanting to throw in the towel, but that’s not what we’re about at East Coast.
Rickard had this to say about the second-half:
“With the result effectively out of reach by half-time we challenged ourselves to restore some pride after the break.
We limited the bleeding in the second half, reverting to slow shape when held up, which certainly allowed us to build pressure going inside 50.
With UNSW dropping a player behind, Emery was able to play an intercept role for us and was clearly our best.
We just chose poor options on our release too often and paid a price on turnover.
We will look to improve before our next challenge ahead.”
A stronger second-half showed signs of improvement from the Eagles, although it was far too little too late, unable to combat a lethal UNSW outfit who will take some real stopping in 2020.
As mentioned by Rickard, Kieran Emery was outstanding in a well-beaten side, playing a towering role in defence, as the elder statesmen showcased his ability to be an effective tall at either end of the ground.
A tough afternoon at Kanebridge Oval for sure, but we will use the lessons learnt to our advantage, and come back better for it, heading into next weeks must-win clash with St George.
|East Coast Eagles||1.1-7||1.2-8||3.3-21||5.6-36|
|UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||4.2-26||13.7-85||15.13-103||19.15-129|
East Coast Eagles
Best Players: K. Emery, E. Cole, S. Turner, J. Vlatko, J. Cutting, A. Lefevre
UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs
Best Players: C. Kilpatrick, E. Gulden, A. Gulden, M. Rawlinson, J. Pawle, J. Deep
|1||North Shore Bombers||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||283||30||943.33||100.00|
|2||UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||307||84||365.48||100.00|
|4||Pennant Hills Demons||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||241||121||199.17||50.00|
|5||St George Dragons||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||146||113||129.20||50.00|
|7||Inner West Magpies||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||115||196||58.67||50.00|
|8||East Coast Eagles||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||111||234||47.44||0.00|
|9||Manly Warringah Wolves||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||47||210||22.38||0.00|
|10||UTS Australian Football Club||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||60||374||16.04||0.00|