Gunnedah Bulldogs coach Andrew George described the week leading into Saturday’s AFL North West clash against Inverell at Wolseley Park as a stuff-around.
A number of withdrawals saw five players pull on the red and blue for the first time this year but the reshuffle did little to throw the Dogs as they won their second game in a row with a 52-point win over the Saints.
Of those Bulldogs turning out for their first game of the year, two were players who previously weren’t expected to play this season.
“Jenko [Brad Jenkinson] sent me a text through the week, same with Mitchell Swain,” George said.
“They definitely make a difference. It was handy to have them back.
“Whether they keep playing, we’re yet to see but as the result shows, it helps having them there.
“Jenko got a heap of ball off the back-line and he was named our best player by the opposition.”
Oliver Neader, Aidan Rodstrom and Ian Spackman – father of 2017 Tony Gillies Medal-winner Jacob Spackman – also had their first games of the season.
Midfielder Jacob led the way for the home side with six majors in the 15.10 (100) to 6.12 (48) victory.
“A lot of the goals he kicks are coming out of the middle. We don’t have a big body forward target to hit so we rely on those goals,” George said.
Spackman has now kicked 10 goals in his past two games but George said it could have been more.
“He probably missed two or three from what I can remember. There was probably two goals he would have kicked normally,” George said of Saturday’s clash.
“He wasn’t having an off day or anything but he could have made it eight or nine. It goes to show how many shots on goal he had.”
The Bulldogs kept the Saints goalless in the first quarter before both teams kicked three majors each in the second term to see Gunnedah hold a 27-point buffer going into the major break.
Two more four-goal terms sewed up the win for the Dogs.
Along with Jacob Spackman, Mark Ewington (3) and Hayden Baker (2) scored multiple goals for Gunnedah while Gregg Falkenberg (3) was Inverell’s top goal-scorer.
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