In challenging conditions at a gloomy Payne Park on Sunday afternoon, Bunbury reminded everyone once again why they are a genuine contender for the SWFL women’s premiership. The Bulldogs recorded a tough 3.4 (22) to 2.3 (15) win over a spirited Harvey Bulls, who threw everything at the home side from the outset. However, much like the classic film Groundhog Day, some instances never change — and for the Bulldogs, this meant stellar performances from Ebony Bilcich and Abby Gellard when the game hung in the balance. The Bulls received a massive bonus heading into Sunday’s game, with WAFLW-hardened talent Krystal Carter coming into the team. Carter, who has held a multitude of leadership roles during her career with Peel Thunder, slotted in seamlessly and provided an extra degree of bite for the visitors. With light rain falling and boggy conditions underfoot, the game was littered with stoppages, as both sides desperately attempted to break the game open. Bulls defender Lisa Joseph did a fantastic job in quelling the influence of Shana-Lee Beardman, who Bunbury elected to play isolated at full-forward. An absorbing duel also took place in the ruck between Gellard and Bulls ruck Harmony Staszewski-Hose, with Bulls onballers Rachel Shepherd and Rachel Tilbrook able to win plenty of possessions in the corridor. With Beardman guarded tightly and time running out, the Bulldogs mixed flair and experience to get the job done. Following an impressive goal from an acute angle by her side early in the final term, Bilcich hurled herself into every contest in a bid to create an extra edge for the home side. Aside from her one percenters, Bilcich also took a number of late marks and was able to slow down the tempo of the game, which was priceless, given the tight margin in the Bulldogs’ keeping.