SWFL 2022: South Bunbury find form during impressive league preliminary final win

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Jackson Capurso sends the Bulls into attack on Sunday.
Camera IconJackson Capurso sends the Bulls into attack on Sunday. Credit: Justin Fris/South Western Times/South Western Times

With a brutal 16-minute burst during the third quarter of Sunday’s league preliminary final at Hands Oval, South Bunbury reminded everyone what they are capable of.

The Tigers, who trailed the Harvey Bulls by four points at half-time, booted six goals during this unforgettable segment of play, with an additional goal to Kevin Chitty on the three-quarter-time siren a satisfactory bonus.

Riding this momentum, South eventually ran out 15.8 (98) to 7.13 (55) victors against the gallant Bulls, who appeared to have finally ran out of petrol — having played ‘win or go home’ football for more than seven weeks.

Both sides had plenty to play for heading into the game, albeit for different reasons.

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For the Harvey Bulls, a grand final appearance meant everything to their loyal supporters. Aside from bearing the scars of three consecutive league preliminary final defeats between 2015-17, the Bulls recently went two years (more than 30 consecutive defeats) without tasting victory.

However, with caretaker coach Ned Fimmano, who took over from Alan Douglas during the back end of 2021 improving morale, coupled by the arrival of Mark Pink over the off-season, hopes had remained high all season at the Harvey Recreation Ground.

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South Bunbury, guided by Donnybrook premiership coach Julian Burgess, also had their eyes set on a grand final against Augusta-Margaret River, especially given the fact 2022 marks the club’s 125th anniversary.

The Bulls had the better of the opening exchanges, with an early goal to chief spearhead Brad Holmes leaving devoted visiting supporters jumping for joy.

After initially soaking up considerable pressure, the Tigers hit back, with Kade Wallrodt capitalising on his side’s first real genuine attacking move.

Trailing by eight points on the stroke of time-on, South did not need to panic, as Wallrodt delivered again by booting two goals in the space of a minute.

Despite enjoying their best passage of play in the second term, the Bulls were unable to make the Tigers pay on the scoreboard, with their output of 2.5 not a true reflection of overall dominance.

Burgess, who was passionately urging his men from a cherry picker on the boundary line, clearly sparked his side over the half-time break — as the team which came out in the second half was one that breathed fire.

During his three-quarter-time address, Bulls coach Pink was accountable for his side’s predicament, but he still believed in his players.

“We are our own worst enemy,” he told the players. “However, if anyone is good enough to come back from six goals down and beat these blokes, it is you.

“I do not care if it takes you until the 26-minute mark to do it. We just need to get back to basics.”

Early resistance from the Bulls was eventually snuffed out by the Tigers, who booted three goals in five minutes late in the game, as Burgess’ focus quickly shifted to next Sunday’s decider against the Hawks.

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