Back: Lindsay Marley (Coach), Lewis Thom, Josh Harris-Walker, Digby Marshall, Jethro James, Callum Green, Blair Marley,
Kade Burns, Julian Amara, Riley Downey, Joshua Morisey, Mark Downey (Coach)
Middle: Zane Minotti, Connor Ovens, Jerry Kovac, Thomas Schmidt-Wilkes, Daniel Schmidt, Hamish Thomson, Riley Bourne,
Matthew Logothetis, Samuel Ryan, Darcy Cronin, Patrick Fox
Front: Michael Raphael, Jai Thomas, Keldon Wain
Absent: Ben Tyrrell, Jay Adams-Philip, Meegan Bourne (Team Manager), Paul Ovens (Asst. Coach)
Change is inevitable! With this as the cue the Year 8’s started the year with some player and personnel changes. We were extremely fortunate to have 24 Players return from the 2014 season and even more blessed to have Darcy and Jethro join the Yr8 Doggies with both boys adding huge value to an already very competitive squad.
Training started in late February with a regime of interval running and sprint sessions at Karoonda with the occasional weekend beach runs. Training numbers were good from the outset and with a mantra of “Let’s get better” all signs were strong within the group for a rewarding year.
Picking up on last season’s gameplay style with our slow first-half starts, was, as it seems now, a great test of the resilience of the Team. Being able to perform and remain composed under pressure was a trait that would serve us extremely well later in the season.
Our first eight games saw us collect 6 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss having us sitting 3rd on the ladder. The last eight games of the Home and Away season saw our record extend to 13 wins, 2 losses and the 1 draw. Finishing the year in 3rd position. With Round 11 pitting us against last year’s nemesis, the 2014 Premiers, Applecross. A competitive effort by the boys saw us go down by 33 points. As
I keep emphasising to the Team: you learn more from a loss than you do a win!
Onto the 2015 Premiership Finals. The 1st Semi Final saw us play against a formidable Rossmoyne Team; markedly different from 2014 picking up many Willetton and Rostrata players in the off season). Rossmoyne tested us all the way with a strong breeze certainly favouring one end. Up by 25 points at ¾ time all we had to do was hold out Rossmoyne who were kicking with the aid of the strong breeze. The ability of the boys to hold their resolve was on show, running out winners by 10 points.
The following week, the Preliminary Final, saw us up against the minor Premiers, the Bullcreek Leeming Sharks, who went through the Home and Away season undefeated. Similar conditions from Semi Final week confronted both Teams with a strong wind favouring one end. Kicking into the breeze in the first quarter the boys had their best start of the season and were up by 5 points at the first change. A fairly even tussle in the 2nd Qtr saw us extended the margin by 2 points to be up by 9 at halftime. The wind intensified and after a halftime spray the Sharks came out and held us scoreless in the 3rd whilst piling on 16 points of their own to take the lead by 9 points at ¾ time. Last Qtr – we had the wind and a resolve unmatched during any game during the season and ran over the top of the Sharks with 4 goals to 1 in the 4th Qtr to win the game by 8 points and put us through to a successive Grand Final appearance.
And there we were, back to back Grand Final appearances. Up against our most daunting rival, Applecross; averaging 60 points per game and an average winning margin of 43 points. The Boys steeled themselves for one the biggest defensive pressure game of their short Junior Football careers. Winning the toss Captain Daniel Schmidt went with the aid of the breeze. Our Defense held true holding Applecross to no score. And with limited opportunities up forward we put on 1 goal 2. To be up by 8 at the first change. Applecross hit back and racked up 3 goals 1 for the second quarter to our 2 behinds to see us go into the halftime break 9 points down. The belief in each other was strong and again the Boys recommitted to be relentless in their defence. The 3rd Qtr again saw our defensive stars hold Applecross scoreless and we slotted through 2 Goals 1 behind to be up by four points at ¾ Qtr time.
Last Qtr – all or nothing – against the breeze…this is what the Boys had trained for all season! J. A couple of points to the Doggies and we were up by 6….Applecross goals. Scores were even; 4mins to play! Cometh the hour cometh the man, Julian snapped from the forward pocket and the Doggies were up by 6 points. Hold on for 3 mins! And they did! The sweetest of victories. That’s why we love this game!
Huge “Thank you” to Meegan Bourne our fantastic TEAM MANAGER. Organising a Team and Coaches and Boundary Umpires and Match Day requirements never easy and can sometime be a thankless task. So we are all truly indebted to Meegan for keeping us on the right path.
To all the parents and “volunteers” Meegan and I THANK YOU….I know we appreciated all of your assistance as I’m sure your boys did. The making of a strong Team and strong club is how much we all chip in and involve the families.
It was a true Team effort. We cannot have a great Club without having parents with great passion volunteer their time and impart their knowledge onto the Boys.
We are all truly indebted to the great Coaching of Lindsay Marley and Paul Ovens and Kingsley Morisey.
Additional thanks to Ian, Heath, Lou and Adrian over the course of the year who helped out with drills and encouragement and support at training and on Game day.
As the game gets quicker and the players get bigger the role of the First Aiders becomes more important. So I would like to sincerely thanks Kate Fox and Marie Schmidt for all of their professionalism and diligence rendering aide over the season. It is always a good sign when they have a quiet day.
Thank you also to Paul Logothetis. Week in week out Paul “ran” the Interchange for the Team. With a full list on Game days and the requirement to manage game time this is a very important roll. Thanks Paul.
Thanks to Fynn Gardner and Samuel Grattidge for playing up; it was great to see the immense talent coming through the Bulldogs ranks.
Congratulations to Daniel Schmidt for a top 5 finish in the District Fairest and Best. Additionally, huge congrats to Daniel and Joshua Harris-Walker (East Fremantle), and to Julian Amara (South Fremantle) for their selections to the respective District WAFL 14’s Development Squad Programs.
A very rewarding year in skill development and game understanding.
Well done to everyone involved.
Mark Downey (Coach)