Inverloch-Kongwak’s Harley Orpin looks to get boot to ball in a congested centre stoppage during a fast-flowing Under 18s match against Phillip Island on Saturday, ultimately won in convincing style by the Islanders who sit a game clear on top of the ladder. m372418

THERE had been an air of confidence coming out of Phillip Island in the past few weeks, as players began to return from injury and consistency was growing.
Now the Bulldogs have sent a message to the West Gippsland competition as they defeated the reigning premiers Inverloch Kongwak by 24 points on Saturday, breaking the Sea Eagles’ 18-game winning streak.
After being held goalless in the first quarter, the Bulldogs started slowly as the Sea Eagles added the first three majors.
But the Island never shied away from the challenge and answered right back in the second quarter.
The 22-point quarter time lead was quickly trimmed when some fantastic work from the backline sent Jack Taylor into attack for their first major.
The quarter belonged to the Island with Taylor running hot with three goals and a late miracle goal by Nick Higginson from the boundary gave the Bulldogs an eight-point lead at half time.
The win was even more remarkable given the Island were down to only one rotation on the bench from midway through the second term.
But the reigning champs were never going to roll over, clawing their way back to within one point until Jarrod Witnish set up Zak Vernon to break the deadlock mid-way through the quarter.
Taylor kicked his fourth, Vernon his second and the Bulldogs took a 26-point lead heading into the last.
The last quarter opened with a disallowed goal to the Island but that did little to stop the momentum of the game.
A huge collision on the wing almost saw the valuable Vernon down but not out as he willed himself on to set up Alex Redmond for the sealer.
A huge away win for the Bulldogs who will have a few sore bodies this week.
Jack Taylor was superb in his best game for the Island along with speedster Zak Vernon and Will Van Diemen.
The task doesn’t get any easier for the Bulldogs as they take on the in-form Koo Wee Rup side, while the Sea Eagles square off against Cora Lynn.