Gunnedah will face New England in the preliminary final after the Saints recorded another victory over the Bulldogs, in a wet major semi-final at Inverell on Saturday, to book a grand final spot.
Bulldog Andy Mack said the reigning premiers took only 18 players to Inverell, while the Saints had a full contingent of 22 – the score 8.10 (58) to 4.6 (30).
It was Gunnedah's second loss to the minor premiers in a fortnight – the first a 69-point, final-round defeat when the Bulldogs were also short of players.
At Wolseley Oval this weekend, Gunnedah will face a Nomads side who have won six straight games, including a two-point defeat of the Saints at Inverell on August 11 and an 85-point win over the Kangaroos in a knockout final on Saturday.
Commenting on the upcoming Nomads clash, Mack said: “We’ve beaten them before. There's no reason why we can’t beat them again. We’ve actually won a grand final against them.”
Against Inverell, Gunnedah kicked the only points in the first quarter – two behinds, with the Saints booting two majors and the Bulldogs kicking one major in the second quarter.
Ahead by six points heading into the third quarter, Inverell kicked away after booting another four majors, to lead 6.6 (42) to 2.5 (17) at the last break.
Both sides posted two goals in the final term.
Mack said: “I guess there’s not much to say, other than we had 18 blokes who gave their all.”
Michael Gould kicked three goals for Inverell, while Mark Ewington kicked two for Gunnedah.