Perhaps we have a Bulimba team fit to stand comparison with the very best.
In a no nonsense display of rugby league, the Bulldogs made it three Grand Final wins from three, defeating the courageous Redlands 26-6 in a very physical match. Bulimba coach Brian Dart deserves a standing ovation for keeping his Bulldogs side on track and focused all season to see the Bulldogs take the title in the Open 1 south competition.
The kudos will certainly be for workhorse lock Dan Waterson who was an absolute machine for the Bulldogs, but the glory will be equally shared amongst all 17 players who were nothing short of heroic throughout the game.
In a game that saw Bulimba bolt out of the blocks early on, it was the unstoppable Tai Betham who started the proceedings for the Bulldogs early on when he was able to crash over beside the posts. Cameron Joyce was able to land the easy conversion and had the Dogs leading early on at 6-0.
Redlands were stinging in defence led by captain Linton Taituma, Matt O’Brien and hooker Mitch Askew who was brilliant out of dummy half, but could not contain the Bulldogs big boppers in Betham, Crabb and Waterson. It was Waterson for the Bulldogs who scored their next try in a formidable display of toughness that saw him go in and score in the 27th minute. With Joyce landing the conversion, Bulimba had raced out to a 12-0 lead.
An uncharacteristic kick out on the full by Joyce saw Redlands in some fantastic field position and Redlands were on the attack to try and get on the scoreboard for the first time. This was going to be a lot easier as Bulimba hooker Pat Noonan was dispatched to the sin bin for an indiscretion at the play the ball. This would be a turning point in the match as Redlands were able to find a chink in the Bulimba armour and go into score right on the halftime hooter. With Wamsley converting the try it was Bulimba going in leading 12-6.
The Bulimba pack came out in the second half still firing on all cylinders and a double to prop Tai Betham in the 48th minute saw the Bulldogs chipping away to a nice lead at 16-6. Betham was nothing short of He-man like and proved a handful for the Parakeets all afternoon. Within five minutes of Bethams barging try, inspirational captain Aaron Brown was also in a try scoring mood and dived over unopposed to stretch the Bulldogs lead to 20-6.
As the game progressed some niggling tactics started to creep in from both sides and after a melee in the in goal, referee Perez was not afraid to blow his whistle and sent Redlands fullback Jones to the bin for his part in the dust up. Redlands were now down to 12 men and with Bulimba already shifting to a higher gear were now in a position to put the foot flat to the floor with the depleted Parakeets.
Within two mins of Jones being sent to the sin bin, Perez also marched Redlands replacement player Takia Hola for dissent and the Parakeets were now down to a staggering 11 men. With Halfback McMillan and centre Ben Winks for Redlands trying to pick up the pieces for their side, it would prove all too late as Bulimba put the Parakeets to the sword in the closing stages of the match when halfback Jai Smith and centre Matt Craven combined to send in speedy winger David Kramer in to score making it an impossible feat for Redlands to come back.
Bulimba have proved to be the benchmark all season and thoroughly deserve their win in what will go down as one of the closest and most competitive years in the Second Division history. Final score Bulimba 26 Redlands 6.
In the Under 20’s Grand Final, Souths juniors proved too strong in a high scoring match disposing of the Mt Gravatt Eagles 52-24 in a high scoring game. The Magpies were unstoppable and ran riot against a shell shocked Eagles side coached by former BRL stalwart Shane McNally. For the Magpies fullback Josh Roma was superb and was backed up by five eighth Pat Daley and prop Corey Bremner.
Souths coach Ben McDermott was full of praise for his side in the speeches and said it was a pleasure to coach the side throughout the year.
The Eagles did score some brilliant tries themselves and pick of the squad was lock Aminia Meo and halfback Ritai-Mackie.