Round 4 2021 – Preview
History says it’s almost impossible to win the flag without the double chance.
But somebody obviously forgot to tell Jindera.
The Bulldogs achieved the remarkable feat of winning four straight finals twice in four years – in 2008 and again in 2011.
Jindera’s 2008 premiership side is widely regarded as the most talented in league history and few were surprised it won the flag the hard way.
But the barnstorming September run by the Bulldogs in 2011 was certainly against the odds.
Coached by Ken Stevenson, the Bulldogs went from a late-season stagger to a finals swagger with confidence-building victories over Henty, Brock-Burrum and Culcairn during the finals.
Despite their giant killing run most pundits expected Holbrook to take a power of beating in the decider.
Coached by Jarrod Twitt, the Brookers’ trump card was Michael Lamb but also boasted the players the calibre of Azzi medallist Mikal Bloom, Mitch Palmer, Zac Fulford and Jim Grills.
The Bulldogs also had stars in Mark Hilton, Ash Sibraa, Trent Castles and Daniel Cassidy.
In a memorable grand final, Holbrook reeled-in a 23-point half-time deficit to draw level at the final change and set-up a grandstand finish.
With the match up for grabs the biggest query was whether playing four consecutive finals had finally taken its toll on Jindera.
Tom Weldon alongside Mick Blomeley, Nathan Chamings and Matt Osborne are the only Bulldogs still running around this season.
Weldon fondly recalls how the final quarter unfolded.
“Holbrook charged to the three-quarter time huddle with all the momentum after a big third quarter and we knew it would take something special to withstand the challenge,” Weldon said.
“The first goal was going to be crucial and I remember taking a contested mark and was lucky enough to slot my fourth goal of the match.
“It helped turn the momentum and I think from memory Brett Garland and Mark Hilton both got goals in quick succession to give us some breathing space.
“We ended up winning by five goals which was a fitting tribute for a few of our club legends in Hilton, Aaron Lezius, Ryan Storey and Kade Duel who were retiring.
“It was a massive day for the club after the reserves, A-grade and intermediate netball also winning.”
The Bulldogs are set to celebrate their most recent flag when they hold a 10-year reunion on the weekend.
They play CDHBU who alongside Osborne and Holbrook remain the only undefeated sides after three rounds.
The club has got a function after the match with 2011 president Mark Lynch set to present the premiership trophies to the triumphant coaches in Stevenson, Jerim Hayes, Bree Kirk and Fiona Brown.
Weldon, who is closing in his 300-match milestone, still feels fortunate to be playing with his beloved Bulldogs.
“Reminiscing about the grand final makes me feel a bit old but I’m lucky I’m still playing I guess,” he said.
Jindera has been ravaged by injuries during the first three rounds of the season.
Injury-prone Bulldog Sam Crawshaw was one of the latest casualties after injuring his knee last week against Henty.
Crawshaw who has been plagued by shoulder injuries is awaiting scans to see if requires a knee reconstruction.
Wilson said it had been unbelievable how many Bulldogs had been struck by the injury curse.
They host CDHBU on the weekend who are 3-0.
“It’s out of control at the minute but hopefully we will get a few back this week,” Wilson said.
“I suspect having the year off has been a contributing factor.
“It’s not just soft-tissue injuries but a lot of odd ones like a dislocated kneecap for example.”
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH ASH MURRAY
Q: You decided to join Howlong this season after winning a flag with Bullioh and booting 160-goals in 2019?
Q: It doesn’t get any easier this week against Osborne who similar to Winx look to be unbeatable this season?
A: Osborne at Osborne is the toughest task in the league but if we don’t get the points you still learn a lot when you come against up the best in the business.
Q: You are sporting a fair bit of ink these days, do you know anybody in the league who has more?
A: Not off the top of my head but Hamish Clark is also a frequent flyer at the tattoo parlour. I’m not finished yet and I’m actually booked in to get another tattoo on Wednesday.
Q: Have you got a personal favourite and which tattoo is the most expensive?
A: I probably haven’t got a favourite and there are quite a few that I rate highly. Most of my tattoos have cost about the same because I usually just book in for the day and pay the daily rate.
SATURDAY, MAY 1
Brock-Burrum v Billabong Crows
Lockhart v Murray Magpies
Rand-Walb-Walla v Holbrook
Jindera v CDHBU
Osborne v Howlong
Culcairn v Henty
MATCH OF THE ROUND: RAND-WALB-WALLA v HOLBROOK
While Osborne have a stranglehold on a top-two finish, on exposed form both the Giants and the Brookers are expected to also be challenging for the double chance. Will Holmes has been in sparkling touch for the Brookers and has the ability to hurt the opposition on the scoreboard. Ruckman Ben Griffiths made an impressive debut for the Brookers last week but could be missing this week after copping a heavy knock. The Giants are expected to be buoyed by the inclusion of Thurgoona recruits Jake Bruce and Mark Haydon.
Prediction: Holbrook by 11 points.