It’s not exactly scientific, but a good barometer of how well Gunnedah are playing is the amount of times Bulldogs coach Sean Hayne drops the F-bomb.
In the first half against Werris Creek on Saturday it was being dropped more frequently than it has been in a while, as the in-form Bulldogs misfired against a fired up Magpies in a knockout final on an overcast and chilly day at Kitchener Park.
Passes were dropped. Passes missed the target. The energy level was down. Hayne dropped an F-bomb.
Down 18-8 at halftime, Gunnedah lifted in the second half to win 34-28 against a Magpies outfit who left nothing on the field and kept coming until the end. The Bulldogs booked a preliminary final spot, where they will play the loser of Sunday’s major preliminary final between the Roosters and the Bears at Kootingal.
GROUP 4 PRELIMINARY FINALS
MINOR PRELIMINARY FINALS
Saturday, Kitchener Park Gunnedah.
First grade: GUNNEDAH 34 (David Smith 2, Dylan Lake, Lachlan King, Aaron Donnelly, Sam Lumby, Marcus Hayne tries, Reece Jaeger 3gls) d WERRIS CREEK 28 (Jermain Walford 2, Cody Tickle 2, Jamie Bailey tries, Scott Berry 4gls)
Second grade: SOUTH WEST ROBINS 32 (Jarrod Knox 2, Ben Caldwell, Corey Hall, Nelson Smith, Ben Howarth tries, Smith 4gls) d BENDEMEER 20 (Jamarley Jerrard, Tyrill Knox, Adam Ruttley, Chris Leslie tries, Brad Flanders, Jai Cain gls)
Under 18: BOGGABRI 26 (Bailey Lennox 2, Michael Long, Hawken Durrant, Isaac Harris tries, Johnathan Crowe 3gls) d NARRABRI 20 (Clayton Bruce, Liam Doyle, Rodney Lamb, Jake Byrne tries, Harry Pattison 2gls)
Ladies League Tag Tier 1: DUNGOWAN 37 (Brianna Trickett 3, Jamie Blackler, Libby Welsh, Sarah Stackman, Erica Williams tries, Stackman 4gls) d BARRABA 4 (Shirika Nean try).
Ladies League Tag Tier 2: SOUTH WEST ROBINS 19 (Jacqueline Murphy 2, Jessica Beale, Jodi Howarth tries, Beale gl) d BENDEMEER 18 (Shakira Bundock, Dhalara Knox, Tarniece Berry tries, Jane Bevitt 3gls).
MAJOR PRELIMINARY FINALS
Sunday, Kootingal Oval
First grade: NORTH TAMWORTH 24 (Jake McManus 2, Zac Nigro, Jack Patterson tries, Jake McManus 4gls) d KOOTINGAL 16 (Mitchell Doring, Jordan Sharpe, Kyle Cochrane tries, Doring 2gls).
Second grade: BARRABA 64 (Ryan Hall 4, Blake Darlington 2, Doug Cover 2, Michael Rutherford 2, Keiran Darlington, Luke White, Josh Austin tries, Kris Halloran 4, Tristan Flower 3gls) d NORTH TAMWORTH 6 (Michael Hodges try, Nicholas Pascoe gl).
Under 18: DUNGOWAN 56 (Max Altus 3, Mitch Bowen 2, Alek Hall 2, Luke Howes, Cooper Harris tries, Lockie Smith 7, Altus gls) d NORTH TAMWORTH 10 (Lachlan Bone, Bailey Northey-Calder tries, Hudson Shaw gl)
Ladies League Tag Tier 1: NORTH TAMWORTH 45 (Kimberley Resch 2, Leica Le Brocq 2, Kate Ferguson 2 including 5pt try, Alexandra Rogers, Tiarn Bayliss tries, Amy Barraclough 5, Resch gls).
Ladies League Tag Tier 2: BOGGABRI 14 (Cassidy Morley, Emma Lyons, Maddie Giffen tries, Braie Devine gl) d WERRIS CREEK 11 (Montanna Allan 5pt try, Anna Smith tries, Casey Hatch gl).
NEXT WEEK FINALS (Saturday, August 31)
First grade: Kootingal v Gunnedah; Second grade: North Tamworth v South West Robins; Under 18: North Tamworth v Boggabri; Ladies League Tag Tier 1: Kootingal v Dungowan; Ladies League Tag Tier 2: Werris Creek v South West Robins.
Walcha produced a masterclass in finals footy to outgun Narrabri 54-5. Rams inside centre Pat Keen bagged a hat-trick and was one of five tryscorers for the home side as they ran in 41 points in the second half.
Pirates defeated Inverell 23-7 in second grade, while Gunnedah accounted for Narrabri 20-7 in the first-ever women’s final after the Blue Boars’ under-19s had prevailed over the Red Devils 38-12.
Robb College won their first first grade premiership since 2000 with a 41-25 win over Armidale.
AFL North West
The end scoreline was emphatic but it was two quarters in particular that made the difference for the New England Nomads against the Tamworth Kangaroos.
In an elimination final at Bellevue Oval on a cold Saturday afternoon where rain threatened all day but held off for the duration of the match, New England’s second and fourth quarters handed the home side a 22.12 (144) to 9.5 (59) victory.
Meanwhile, Inverell booked their spot in the grand final with a 8.10 (58) to 4.6 (30) victory over Gunnedah.
Northern Inland Premier League
Tamworth FC 3 d South Armidale 0
North Armidale 1 d Demon Knights 0
Oxley Vale Attunga 5 d North Companions 3
Tamworth FC 5 d South Armidale 1
North Armidale 1 drew Demon Knights 1
North Companions 2 d Oxley Vale Attunga 0