Grand final triumph over adversity

Gidgegannup captain Cam Hoe (right), and vice captains Jamie McMahon and Gavin Scott, celebrate the 2013 premiership win.
Gidgegannup captain Cam Hoe (right), and vice captains Jamie McMahon and Gavin Scott, celebrate the 2013 premiership win.

Not only did the Bulldogs go into the game against the previously unbeaten Cougars ” who had beaten them by 57 points, 43 points and 54 points in the previous three clashes ” they did so without their coach Justin Pitt.

Pitt was forced to miss the big game when he was admitted to hospital the previous night with a leg injury. However, assistant coach Brett Davis ably stood in on his behalf and guided the Bulldogs to a memorable victory.

Pitt was not reunited with his players until Sunday night, when he joined in the celebrations with a large contingent of supporters at the Noble Falls Tavern.

Club president Terry Myers presented Pitt with his premiership medallion. He responded by telling the team how proud he was of them, as they overcame a team who had not been beaten all year.

The club’s song was sung on more than one occasion.

In the game itself, the Bulldogs overcame a slow start with seven goals to three in the second and third quarters of the tight final to set up the victory ” their fifth premiership in as many seasons.

The Cougars settled first and managed to go into the first break with a 14-point lead.

But the Doggies regrouped in the second stanza and applied plenty of physical pressure on the younger Cougars players. A late goal saw Gidge head into the long break with a seven-point lead.

The arm wrestle continued in the third term, with Gidge’s Jamie McMahon and Stephen Kelderman taking some strong marks and converting up forward, enabling the Bulldogs to skip clear by 14 points at three-quarter time.

But the Cougars were not to be outdone and some good work from Adam McKinlay and Alex Radonic around the middle and Blake O’Meagher down back got them in striking distance, just seven points adrift midway through the final quarter.

But Cam Hore snapped a goal from the pocket entering time on to give the Doggies the buffer they needed.

They defended boldly in the final minutes to emerge victorious 11.13 (79) to Chidlow’s 9.11 (65).

For Gidge, Kelderman capped off another solid performance by taking out the Bob Gardiner medal for best on ground. McMahon continued his good finals form, and Shaun Lester and Sandy Bent were also strong contributors.

Good players for Chidlow included Alex Radonic, Blake O’Meagher , Matt Mallaby, century goalkicker Adam McKinlay and David Massie.

A crowd of more than 800 witnessed the memorable final staged in perfect weather conditions.