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SWFL 2022: Harvey Bulls trample Bunbury Bulldogs to charge to first preliminary final since 2017

Headshot of Carly Laden
Carly LadenBunbury Herald
Bunbury's Liam O'Connell attempts to spoil a mark by Harvey's John Bennell.
Camera IconBunbury's Liam O'Connell attempts to spoil a mark by Harvey's John Bennell. Credit: Carly Laden/South Western Times

Harvey Bulls have capitalised on a fatigued Bunbury Bulldogs outfit to advance to the SWFL Preliminary Final for the first time since 2017, defeating Bunbury by 35 points.

The Bulls and the Bulldogs faced off in a crucial semi-final match at Payne Park on Sunday for a chance to advance to the preliminary final.

Harvey came into the match in the midst of strong form after eliminating Busselton last weekend, while Bunbury were still reeling from the effects of a tough and physical match against South Bunbury.

While Bunbury were quick to drive the ball forward, Harvey Bulls scored first through a John Bennell goal.

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Bunbury's Benjamin Dempsey and Harvey's Dylan Sellick go for a contested mark.
Camera IconBunbury's Benjamin Dempsey and Harvey's Dylan Sellick go for a contested mark. Credit: Carly Laden/South Western Times

As the Bulldogs looked to make a quick response, Harvey made several interceptions until Jesse Gribble broke through for a goal.

In the arm-wrestle, both sides managed behinds to keep the scores level until a late goal via Benjamin Dempsey gave the Bulldogs a 2.3 (15) to 1.2 (8) quarter-time lead.

The intense contest continued into the second quarter with both teams providing plenty of physicality across the field.

A goal from Brad Holmes levelled the score, before Bennell kicked his second to give the Bulls the lead.

Despite providing plenty of pressure across the back half of the field, Bunbury soon began struggling to keep a grip of the ball, with several marks dropped and a number of set shots falling wayward for behinds.

Bunbury’s Patrick Farrant also attempted to fly high but the potential mark of the year contender wasn’t to be.

Bunbury's Patrick Farrant attempted to go for mark of the year.
Camera IconBunbury's Patrick Farrant attempted to go for mark of the year. Credit: Carly Laden/South Western Times

The Bulls remained composed, with Lloyd Beever and John Bennell kicking truly to extend Harvey’s lead to 15 points at half-time.

As tensions began to bubble amongst the crowd, Harvey continued extending their lead with a quick goal from Andrew Haydon opening the floodgates.

Further goals from Michael Bennell and Holmes gave the Bulls some breathing space until Bunbury hit back with a goal.

While the goal gave Bunbury some hope, Harvey continued applying strong pressure across the backline via Jarrod Bowman and Harley Bennell, while Holmes and Michael Bennell continued contributing to the scoreboard.

Harvey's Dylan Chatley and Bunbury's Jackson Oliver give chase as the ball dribbles towards the boundary.
Camera IconHarvey's Dylan Chatley and Bunbury's Jackson Oliver give chase as the ball dribbles towards the boundary. Credit: Carly Laden/South Western Times

At the final change, Harvey led 10.6 (66) to 3.9 (27).

While Bunbury managed a fast start with a Dempsey goal early in the final term, their struggles in front of goal continued to hamper their chance to make a late comeback.

As Harvey continued to pull away, with goals to John Bennell and Tyson Powell, tensions boiled over after a yellow card was issued to Scott Doncon for a rough conduct.

At the final siren, the Bulls stood tall 12.7 (79) to 5.14 (44).

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