Grand Final 2012 - The Journey comes to an end for the Dogs

Mid-Canterbury Eagles 16 13 109 def Christchurch Bulldogs 5 6 36

The journey began in 2012 with the recruitment of a new coach in Harry Peterson with over 500 games of aussie rules experience behind him. We lost several experienced players and a number could not commit to the whole season but we recruited plenty of new faces. In the Pre Season 9-a-side comp we had just 2 of our 2011 side on the paddock.

New players included 3 pups who had never played - James M, Liam and Garrett, as well as Rocky, big bustling Brad B, Sam Snr, another Irish lad - Kilian, Gazza and Rusty was back after being away for several years. Sully was back on a limited basis as he was learning to drive trains in Wellington.

It was a slow start to the season as we struggled to gel and put a settled line up onto the paddock. We managed a few fantastic performances including one memorable thrashing of the Eagles by almost 100 points. Unfortunately we lacked some consistency and lost key players to injury at vital times. With just 3 games to go we were able to get a run on and get off the bottom of the table and finish third with solid wins over the Blues and Cougars. The old Bulldogs mungrel was returning and combinations were starting to form. Those that did train benefited from some improved skills and team work and this was particularly evident in the young blokes.

So after 9 rounds and a tough semi final clash versus the Cougars we had stormed into our 4th consecutive Grand Final. Hopes were high and form was good. We lost Varco to injury in the semi and key men Todd and Gazza were unable to make the decider. Becks was also out of action with a calf injury.

So Grand Final day ....The Eagles raced out of the blocks in the first two quarters and had more run through the middle and were able to hit targets all accross the ground. Our chances were not helped with Churchy going off injured during the first quarter. We rallied at half time and there was a glimmer of hope in the third with Zac kicking some classic long range goals and the boys putting some big hits on the Eagles players. Churchy also came back and took some inspired marks. But to their credit they whethered the storm and managed to kick on to victory.   

They were the better team on the day and played some good footy. So 2013, what will it bring and can the Bulldogs kick on from the nearly to the champions. Time will tell.... Lets rally and be back bigger, stronger and better in 2013.

Thanks Harry for all your hard work and half time blow ups. A special thanks to Lachy who has helped pioneer this club from nothing and who moves onto Wellington for work. Somehow I can see Lachy back in the red and black oneday. A number of others may not be back - thanks for everything you added to the Bulldogs.

Best and fairest - Todd Andrews. Runner up - James Stevenson
Best first year - James Mathias. Best pup - Liam Kearns
Consistency and club man awards - 'Rusty' David Rusbatch
Courage - Jake Toplis.
Captains award - Elliot     Coaches Award (I think) - Garrett
Best back - James Stevenson, Onballer - Churchy, Forward - Izzak Williams

by Jimbo Smith


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