SWFL 2023: Harvey Bulls retain Harvey Fresh Cup despite gritty HBL performance

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Ben Ablett (HBL) is pursued by Andrew Haydon on Sunday.
Camera IconBen Ablett (HBL) is pursued by Andrew Haydon on Sunday. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

Harvey Bulls coach Mark Pink was not resting on his laurels heading into Sunday’s derby against Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault.

And even despite retaining the Harvey Fresh Cup following his side’s 8.10 (58) to 5.9 (39) win at the Harvey Recreation Ground, Pink remained adamant the triumph was anything but easy.

“HBL were everything I expected,” he said after the game.

“They have recruited very well and were tough in the clinches — and probably beat us in the midfield early in the first half.

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“However, when we were able to get forward towards half-time, Brad Holmes was really good for us, as was Paul (Bower) in the second half.”

The Bulls also benefitted from pace generated by Aaron Jovanovic and Sam Lewis, who shone in his first game since crossing over from reigning premiers Augusta-Margaret River.

While Pink knows the importance of getting positive results, he is also a big believer in creating happiness for the hundreds of loyal Bulls supporters, who endured several lean years before his arrival last season.

“It was a large crowd — and I noticed it was bigger than the same time last year,” he said. “So hopefully we have won some of the supporters over.

“We will continue to try for them.”

Despite the loss, the future appears bright for the Lions, with six players playing their first league games on Sunday.

Additionally, Jack Fletcher showed he had lost none of his ability in the ruck, while reliable defender Ben Ablett refused to shirk any contest.

In the women’s competition, the Bulls secured early derby bragging rights, after thrashing Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault 7.10 (52) to 0.2 (2).

Peter Jones’ side again received plenty of input from key forwards Laura Cheney and Emma Faulkner, while Fleur Parker also impressed in her return to the Bulls, following several seasons at Donnybrook.

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