The Gunnedah Bulldogs’ first game of the AFL North West season has been described as “a bit of a weird one” by coach Andrew George.
The match against the New England Nomads at Wolseley Park served as a grand final rematch for the premiership-winning Bulldogs but the day wasn’t one to savour for the home side.
The Nomads surged to a 18.16 (124) to 4.12 (36) victory over Gunnedah.
The weirdness George describes comes from how the scoring played out.
At half-time, the score read 3.11 (29) to 2.8 (20) in favour of New England as both sides’ accuracy was off.
However, the Nomads made the most of their shots on goal to storm home to the big 88-point win.
“I think both of us were a bit off in front of goal. There was a fair few behinds, so that kept us in it,” George said after the match.
“The second half, they seemed to straighten up a lot.
“They got a lot more shots on goal. We didn’t really get inside our 50 all that much in the second half and when we did, we weren’t turning it into goals.”
George said his side ran out of legs in the second half.
He said more numbers at training would fix that problem going forward.
“If we can get numbers at training, the fitness will come with it,” George said.
“It’s just about getting everyone down there twice a week for an hour.”
While the scorecard wasn’t pretty to read for the Dogs, George said there was positives to take from the game.
After losing a plethora of players from last year’s side, the Bulldogs used the first game of the year to blood a number of juniors.
It was a baptism of fire but George was impressed with how the younger brigade reacted.
“All our young guys went well. A lot of them haven’t played senior footy before, they’ve only, sort of, played for their schools,” George said.
“They’ll only get experience from playing more games and that’s probably a tough one to bring them into against one of the best teams in the comp.
“They all went well but if I singled one out it would be Hayden Baker.
“You would have seen, he just killed it. A lot of ball, a lot of space, pace to burn and he used it well.”
Gunnedah had four separate goal-scorer’s for the match.
Garry Briggs, Hamish Russell, Jacob Spackman and Zakarias Turbull all kicked one each.
Nine separate Nomads kicked six-pointers with Angus Quail (5), Nick Locke (4) and David Richards (3) at the top of the list for the match.
The Bulldogs will now take on Narrabri next round.