Bunbury have won the SWFL Preliminary Final at Hands Oval on Sunday afternoon, in a low scoring match, which resulted in a thrilling finish, with the Hawks marking the ball just moments after the final siren, within scoring range.
The winning score was the lowest winning Preliminary Final score in history, eclipsing Busselton’s 2015 score of 7.9.51.
Both teams kicked just one goal each in a tight and tough opening term, with the Hawks making the most of the breeze in the second quarter, kicking three goals to one, with the highlight being Jack Hicks screamer, resulting in a goal, with the Hawks leading by two goals at half time.
The Bulldogs returned serve in the third quarter kicking three goals to one, setting up a thrilling final quarter, with scores level at the final change. The first of just two goals in the final quarter came at the eighteen minute mark putting the Hawks in front, but a goal to Mark Longbottom at the 20 minute mark put the Bulldogs back in front.
In a tense final five minutes, both teams had opportunities to seal the victory. With the crowd of 1947 at fever pitch, many never heard the siren when a mark was taken in the Augusta Margaret River forward line. After deliberation by the three field umpires and in consultation with the emergency umpire Michael Hearne, the match was rightfully deemed to be over with the mark taking place after the sounding of the siren.
Bunbury will now advance to the Grand Final and will play Donnybrook. The last time both teams played off in a Grand Final was in 2001, with Bunbury victorious.
In earlier matches, Busselton reversed the Colts Qualifying Final result, easily accounting for Augusta Margaret River and will now play Bunbury in the Grand Final, while Eaton Boomers defeated Carey Park to advance to the Reserves Grand Final, where they will play Harvey Brunswick Leschenault. In a great Women’s Grand Final, Bunbury had to survive a Harvey Bulls fight back, to record back to back Grand Final wins by nine points.
Bunbury 1.2-8 2.2-14 5.4-34 6.7-43
Augusta Margaret River 1.1-7 4.2-26 5.4-34 6.4-40
Goals: Bunbury – Jesse Gribble 2, Mark Longbottom 2, Brett Peake 1, Matt Martin 1. Augusta Margaret River – Jack Hick 2, Mitch Payne 2, Mitch Gerrans 1, Matt Jukes 1.
Best: Bunbury – Brad Blake, Jesse Gribble, Travis Gray, Cam Lamonaca, Logan Farr, Mark Longbottom. Augusta Margaret River – Beau Morgan, Seve Grantis, Ben Gerrans, Jack Hick, Mitch Payne, Rhys Owen
Umpires: Kevin Hutchins, Aaron Andrews, Glenn Omodei
Ground: Hands Memorial Oval, Bunbury