2018 WAFL Grand Final Review

Saints Depose Bulldogs Dynasty

Wellington City Saints Captain Andrew Bissett raises the cup after their 2018 Grand Final win.

It may have been the third consecutive Grand Final match-up between the Bulldogs and the Saints but it was anything but routine. It was a warm, sunny day with a sizable northerly breeze blowing down the ground when the two teams marched onto Hutt Park for the last time in 2018. The Saints were able to take the lead in the first, playing with the wind, but by halftime the Bulldogs had brought the scores level at 17 a piece in what was proving to be a grinding, low-scoring affair.

After the halftime break, the Saints came out of the blocks firing, piling on an additional 20 points before the 4th quarter, with the Bulldogs scrounging up just a lone behind in response. The skills of the Saints shone through, with clean kicking and marking setting their side well above their competitors.

Early in the 4th there was a friendly fire collision, and the game had to be put on hold for the ambulance to come and ferry one of the Bulldogs off to the hospital. Fortunately he is recovering well, suffering ‘only’ a concussion, broken nose, and requiring a few stitches for bleeding on the inside of his lip. Once play resumed, the Bulldogs mounted a massive comeback, but the Saints defence was able to hold strong. Under immense pressure of the momentum shift, the Saints were able to fend off the loss, and when then final siren went, were 3 points ahead on the scoreboard, despite the fact they didn’t score in the final term.

Final score:
WC Saints: 5-7-37
ES Bulldogs: 4-10-34

After the Cup and medal presentations on the field, players and coaches from all the teams headed to the Stop Out Clubrooms for the end of season awards presentations. Congratulations to all awards recipients, and the All-Wellington Team:

League MVP: James Kusel (HV Eagles) – 26 votes, played 7 games

Leading Goal Scorer: James Terry (ES Bulldogs) – 29 goals over 8 games. Most goals in a game: 10 vs Demons, Round 6

Rising Star (under 18): Doug McJarrow (WC Saints) – 9 votes, played 8 games

Margaret Lavery Award (Volunteer of the Year): Donna Gill – Demons Manager

-All-Wellington Team-
Full Backs: Alex Awatere (Demons), Pat Lovelock (Eagles), Adam Moore (Saints)

Half Backs: Sam Sherring (Eagles), Andrew Gavaghan (Saints), Andrew Bissett (Saints)

Centres: Blake Neve (Bulldogs), Tom Robby (Bulldogs), Tayne Lockwood (Demons)

On Ball: Peter Halstead (Bulldogs), Jalan Farris (Eagles), Stanley Chung (Bulldogs)

Half Forwards: James Sharp (Bulldogs), James Kusel (Eagles), Will Kempt (Saints)

Full Forwards: Phil Wakefield (Bulldogs), Luke Vincent (Eagles), James Terry (Bulldogs)

Interchange: Ray Turner (Eagles), Luke Shervey (Bulldogs), Michael Martinez (Bulldogs), Coby Dodd (Saints), Doug McJorrow (Saints), Paul Willis (Bulldogs)

Congratulations to the Saints on an impressive victory, after a hard-fought campaign in a much more competitive WAFL season. Congratulations as well to the Bulldogs on yet another impressive season. This loss will be hard to take, but will surely strengthen their resolve in 2019.

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