SWFL 2022: WAFLW inclusions give Bunbury added bite over Busselton

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisBunbury Herald
Ebony Bilcich was in brilliant form against the Magpies on Sunday.
Camera IconEbony Bilcich was in brilliant form against the Magpies on Sunday. Credit: Justin Fris/South Western Times

While rival SWFL women’s teams have been loading up on scores of outgoing South Bunbury players, premiership contenders Bunbury elected to keep things simple.

However, one player who did join the Bulldogs from Tigerland was decorated onballer Ebony Bilcich, following her WAFLW commitments with Peel Thunder.

Together with Ruby Mahony, playing her first game back following a long season with Swan Districts, the classy duo inspired Bunbury to a stirring 3.8 (26) to 1.3 (9) win over Busselton at Sir Stewart Bovell Park on Sunday.

Despite several South Bunbury recruits making their debut for the black-and-whites, the home side were on the back foot instantly, with a Mahony clearance generating a behind inside the opening 20 seconds of play.

Benefactors of a handy breeze favouring the hockey stadium end, the Bulldogs locked the ball inside their forward 50 for most of the quarter, with the Magpies finding it difficult to clear beyond their half-back line.

With Bilcich and Mahony working brilliantly at the coalface from Abby Gellard’s ruckwork, the Magpies were often left chasing shadows — when they weren’t, they were routinely crunched in uncompromising tackles.

Somewhat against the run of play, Busselton’s Dianna Evans — who was easily her side’s best player — kicked a goal towards the back end of the second term to keep her side within striking distance on the scoreboard.

Needing a solid third quarter with the breeze, the Magpies were again pinned back into their defensive half, with a late goal in the term to Georgia Mahony all but sealing an impressive away victory.

The Magpies are likely to improve further should both sides meet again later this year, with East Fremantle pair Beth Beckett and Mia Dronow likely to be available for selection.

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