PHILLIP Island has finished the home and away season in impressive fashion, defeating the reigning premiers Inverloch-Kongwak by 36-points and securing top spot on the West Gippsland ladder.
Football took a backseat on a day in which the local Phillip Island community, along with both the Phillip Island and Inverloch Kongwak football netball clubs united for the White Ribbon Walk in honour of Sam Fraser.
IK were a game clear on top of ladder at the start of the day but come the final siren they had slipped to fourth place thanks to a rampaging Bulldogs line up.
In an unprecedented end to the home and away season, four sides finished on the same number of wins, but the superior percentage of the Bulldogs ensured they finished on top.
The game itself was played under threatening clouds and a howling wind.
It was a finals like atmosphere with a large crowd filling the ground and both teams battling tooth and nail for the all-important four points.
It was a hot footy early on as the top two sides were desperate to make a statement early.
The Island had the aid of a strong breeze but struggled to hit the scoreboard in the opening half of the quarter.
That was until a brilliant pass from Brendan Kimber hit in-form forward Jack Taylor and the Dogs had found range.
Goals to Jimmy Taylor and Zak Vernon set up a handy 23-point lead at the first break.
After being held scoreless in the first term, IK was hoping to make the most of a strong breeze to the scoreboard end but it was the home side who stole the initiative with Jimmy Taylor kicking his second courtesy of a tidy pass from Hayden Bruce.
The home side was full of legs and when Bruce and Vernon each goaled, the Islanders were in full control with the first six goals of the game.
IK snuck one late in the shadows of half time to give them some belief heading into the main break, but the home town Bulldogs were on a mission.
The Island knew that although they had the breeze, the reigning premiers were not going to lay down.
The Bulldogs came out the hungrier with the first four goals of the quarter courtesy of Aaron Edwards, Jimmy Taylor (two) and Brendan Kimber.
But what would have pleased coach Beau Vernon the most would have been the smother from Alex Officer to stop a certain IK goal.
The final term was a real scrap with both teams out on their feet.
The Islanders was happy to make it a congested affair after doing the hard work earlier in the game.
After securing their second victory over the reigning premier this season, the Islanders have earned a week off and will return the following Saturday in their second semi-final against the winner of Nar Nar Goon and Koo Wee Rup.
Bulldogs claim top spot