For the fourth consecutive year the WC Saints and ES Bulldogs went head to head in the WAFL Grand Final. The typical Northerly was holwing out at Hutt Park, but the sun was out, and the two teams were ready to clash. After a moment of silence for those affected by the Whakaari/White Island eruption, the umpires sent the ball up to start the last game of 2019.
Playing into the wind to start, the Bulldogs were able to hold off an early Saints goal, only allowing two behinds for the rest of the quarter while slotting a goal themselves. The Saints fared well against the Doggies onslaught in the second, allowing only a couple of goals and behinds, while picking up a behind themselves. At the half the Bulldogs led 3.4.22 to 1.3.9
The premiership quarter was a tough-fought affair, with both teams grabbing two goals, two behinds each. The Bulldogs were able to carry that momentum through to the final siren, holding the Saints scoreless in the last term while putting on another 2 goals, 5 behinds. After a break in their 5-year premiership streak, the Bulldogs raised the cup once again.
Grand Final score: ES Bulldogs: 7.11.53 WC Saints: 3.5.23
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.
Functions for Tiger’s Squad Announcement & Season 2018 Awards Presentation Set
The Tiger’s head coach, John Jackson and his coaching panel will announce the 2018 Tiger’s squad at a function after Round 7 on Sun 18 November, at the Stop Out Clubrooms on fringe of Hutt Park. The announcement will be coupled with food supplied by the WAFL and the bar at Stop Out will be open with refreshments for young and old available for purchase. This is the Squad that Wellington will take to the South Island to take on Canterbury AFL and Otago AFL in the 2018 NPC! Come on out to support your teammates, and the wider Wellington Squad!
For the first time in recent memory, Wellington AFL will announce the winners of 4 awards at the Season 2018 Awards Presentation. This function will be held after the WAFL Grand Final (Sun 9 Dec) in the Stop Out Clubrooms, a stone’s throw from the Hutt Park Oval. Come on out to support the two teams competing in the 2018 Grand Final (both slots still wide open), and then come out and celebrate the season that was, with food supplied by the WAFL, and drinks for adults & younger ones available for purchase at the Stop Out bar. Awards for this season include: Rising Star, Coaches Vote, Umpires Vote, and Golden Boot.
See everyone out there for both functions to celebrate our great sport in the coolest little capital!
The 2018 WAFL Season is about to kick off, with Round 1 featuring a 2017 Grand Final rematch between the Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs & the Wellington City Saints at 1pm, followed by the always tenacious North City Demons taking on the new-look Hutt Valley Eagles at 3pm.
Catch the full 2018 WAFL Schedule, including important dates at the Schedule page.
Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs vs Wellington City Saints
26 November, 3:00pm, Hutt Park
The stage was set to continue the fierce rivalry that has simmered over the past few seasons. It was a warm day with a light southerly blowing down the ground, and the physicality started from the opening bounce. With the wind at their backs, the Saints looked to capitalise quickly, with the ball staying locked in their attacking half early, but the Bulldogs were able to wrestle the momentum back, winning the quarter.
The second quarter saw the Bulldogs use the wind advantage, piling on 5 goals, and holding the Saints scoreless. The halftime siren sounded with the scores set at ESB 8-5-53 v WCS 0-2-2.
Lesser teams would have called it quits at this point, but the Saints rose to the challenge, and dominated the third quarter, with the ball rarely leaving their attacking half. The Bulldogs defense was under constant pressure, and after keeping the Bulldogs scoreless, a Saints goal after the siren saw them in high spirits.
The Bulldogs bounced right back though, and even with a Saints goal in the middle of the quarter, the wind coupled with the Bulldogs experience made them clear winners by the final siren: ESB 11-9-75 v WCS 2-3-15
BOG for the 2017 Premiers was Dan Lewington who held strong in a tough ruck, and notable mention of Blake Neve (wing), who bagged 5 goals. Also notable is first year ‘pup’ Jayden Plumb (18yr) is the first recorded occurrence of a father-son playing in WAFL GF’s [Dave Plumb: GF’95 & GF’96]!
BOG for the Saints was James ‘Smokey’ Corcoran with a stellar performance in the ruck, and notable mentions for the on-ballers: Tim Parkes, Andrew Bisset, and Coby Dodds, with the experience of Simon ‘Red’ Charles and Jason Cox providing a solid foundation. Great to see the young saints Jonah Christians (16yr), and Jaydn Robson (16yr) standing up in their first Grand Final, and showing plenty of potential for the future! Although they weren’t happy with the scoreboard, the Saints felt they delivered a strong performance in the centre of the park, and at either end to suggest they are in good shape looking towards 2018.
This is the second Grand Final appearance in a row for the Saints, and the 5th Premiership in a row that the Bulldogs have won. Will the Bulldogs be able to grab a 6th straight flag in 2018, or will their dynasty be broken?