Bulls halt Tigers’ bid to end flag drought

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Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser
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The Broome Bulls celebrate their win in the 2017 WKFL final
Camera IconThe Broome Bulls celebrate their win in the 2017 WKFL final Credit: Jakeb Waddell

The term “nail-biter” is commonly thrown around in sport, but in the case of Broome Bulls’ victory over Derby Tigers in the WKFL final on Saturday, there is no other way to describe it.

Many had already pencilled in a Derby win.

They were minor premiers, midfielder Wade Wungundin won the league’s best and fairest days before and the side had a comfortable win over the Bulls just two weeks earlier.

But it was not meant to be for the team trying to break a 33-year flag drought.

A devastated Derby Tigers team during the grand final ceremony
Camera IconA devastated Derby Tigers team during the grand final ceremony Credit: Jakeb Waddell

The Bulls came out strongly in the first quarter and were able to capitalise on errors made by a fired-up Tigers team.

After Michael Embley was sent off by umpires 10 minutes in, the Broome side booted four goals in a row to go into the first break with a 26-point lead.

Bulls’ Michael Bycroft keeps his eye on the ball.
Camera IconBulls’ Michael Bycroft keeps his eye on the ball. Credit: Jakeb Waddell

Derby’s big crowd of supporters erupted when Wade Wungundin kicked the first goal of the second quarter, but the Bulls’ Dominic Matsumoto silenced them minutes later when he booted a huge goal from 40m out.

Alexander McKenzie chasing down Wade Wungundin.
Camera IconAlexander McKenzie chasing down Wade Wungundin. Credit: Jakeb Waddell

Gerrick Weedon took an important mark for Derby in the dying seconds of the second quarter to ensure the Bulls’ lead stayed at 25 points going into the major break.

Derby raised the level of intensity in the third quarter and were given a helping hand by the Bulls, who wasted a number of opportunities in front of goal.

With only minutes to go, Dylan Hurley snapped an easy goal, meaning the Bulls went into the final break with only a 10-point lead.

The game was very much alive at the start of the fourth quarter, but it was Derby who appeared to have the momentum.

Jeffrey Maher with Derby supporters watching nervously behind him
Camera IconJeffrey Maher with Derby supporters watching nervously behind him Credit: Jakeb Waddell

With only seven minutes remaining, Jarahl Bedford booted a crucial goal and reduced the lead to just three points.

The hard-fought back-and-forth contest culminated in a Weedon mark 30m from goal with just over a minute left on the clock.

After Weedon shanked the kick to the right, Bulls locked it down to run the remaining seconds off the clock and it was enough for them to claim a two-point victory and the 2017 WKFL premiership flag.

Coach Ben Sarsfield told the Broome Advertiser after the game that it felt “phenomenal”.

Coach Ben Sarsfield celebrates after the final siren sounds.
Camera IconCoach Ben Sarsfield celebrates after the final siren sounds. Credit: Jakeb Waddell

“I’m so proud of the boys and the effort they’ve put in today and all season,” he said. “There’s just no way to describe this feeling. They all played their role and came out with so much confidence. I could barely watch in the last few minutes but I knew they could do it.”

Hayden McLeod was awarded best on ground but said it did not compare to the feeling of winning the flag.

“It’s not about me, it’s about all the boys today,” he said.

“Everyone put in such a big effort when it counted. I didn’t expect my name to be called at the end, there were a lot of boys who played great games today.”

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