PHILLIP Island completely annihilated Koo Wee Rup in the West Gippsland senior grand final, holding the Demons to just three behinds for the entire game and running out 98-point premiers.
The main game easily had the worst of the conditions for the day, with rain and hail constant throughout.
Winning the toss, Bulldogs captain Brendan Kimber elected to kick with the wind to the town end of the ground and after a couple of early misses the Island were off to a perfect start when Jack Taylor threaded the opening goal.
The ball spent the entire quarter locked in the Bulldogs’ attacking half and it wasn’t long before a great snap by Jordan Patullo handed the Island their second.
The Bulldogs were dominating the clearances and it was thanks to the brilliant work of ruckman Nick Higginson who was able to jump all over the bigger bodied Demons ruckmen.
A good mark and quick play on by veteran Jimmy Taylor late in the quarter gave the island a third opening quarter goal and they led by 21-points at the first change.
But it was time to see what Koo Wee Rup could do with the wind and with dangerous forwards like Jason Wells and Anthony Giuliano, the Demons faithful expected some big things.
However, the Island defence had other ideas. Led by Matt Jackson and Leigh Warne the defensive unit refused to give their opponents an inch and with Mark Griffin providing great run and carry out of the backline it was exquisite to watch.
Aaron Edwards got his first of four goals with a beautiful shot from the boundary going straight through the big sticks.
Before long Edwards had another thanks to a brilliant pass from Jimmy Taylor and the Doggies were firing on all cylinders.
Ruckman Higginson was having a spell up forward when he marked about 35 metres out from goal and a silly late hit from Nathan Lieshout turned a half chance into a certainty with a 50-metre penalty.
The siren sounded not long after and Phillip Island went into half time riding a wave of momentum with a 44-point lead.
Jack Taylor kicked things off in the third term with a brilliant snap on the run to keep the show going for the Island, the Demons still yet to register a major score.
Hayden Bruce clunked a good mark considering the conditions close to goal and put it straight through, as party time seemed to be coming early for the Bulldogs.
A brilliant chase down tackle from Zak Vernon was paid advantage to the running Jimmy Taylor who slotted his second goal, followed by a small push and shove that resulted in a Demons’ free kick and fifty from the centre of the ground.
But even that couldn’t give the Demons their first major, as the Island cleared the kick in and Aaron Edwards slotted his third up the other end almost immediately.
Edwards got his fourth right on the brink three quarter time and with a 78-point lead, the Doggies faithful knew it was coming home.
Patullo slotted his second to kick off the final term, before Tim Miller had the chance to kick the Demons first and shanked it.
Jaymie Youle and Jarrod Witnish both got amongst the party at the end as the Doggies ran big 98-point winners.
Aaron Edwards was awarded best on the ground for his four goal performance.
Bulldogs upset season champs
PHILLIP Island was the only team to defeat Cora Lynn during the home and away season in 2018 and when the two met in Saturday’s Under 18 grand final, the Dogs did it again, running out 14-point winners.
The Cobras were brimming with confidence after easily accounting for the Bulldogs in the second semi-final and welcoming back some gun players from senior duties, but the spirited Island line up was raring to go on the big day.
The battle was on early with the Cobras trying to bully the Bulldogs out of the contest with some of their bigger bodied players, but the Island stood tall with Connor Thompson and Max Mattock throwing themselves on the ball.
A good mark from Billy Taylor inside the Island’s attacking 50 was turned into a certain goal when Brayden Weller collected Taylor late and sent him straight to the goal square.
The quarter time siren sounded soon after and the Bulldogs had managed to hold Cora Lynn scoreless despite kicking with the breeze and had a slim seven-point lead.
Nick Anderson started off the second term with a bang, launching back to back shots on goal but struggling to find the big sticks.
The Cobras had thrown an extra man behind the ball to try and combat the rampant Bulldogs attack, which worked for the most part.
The Island could only manage three behinds in the quarter, slightly stretching their lead to 10-points at the long break.
But Cora Lynn were first to strike in the third with a great piece of linking play ending with Chase Blackwood running into an open goal.
But again, a poor display of discipline by the Cobras’ Weller led to Daniel Bourke being rewarded with a 50-metre penalty and nailing the Bulldogs second goal.
Weller had now been responsible for both Bulldogs’ goals and would need to redeem himself if they were any chance of winning from here.
Cora Lynn rued some missed opportunities in the third term, kicking a nail biting six behinds before the siren sounded for three quarter time with the Bulldogs ahead by just five points.
As the final term wore on the Cobras grew more and more frustrated, giving way silly free kicks and missing the opportunity to take the game on.
Billy Thomas put the final nail in the coffin for the Doggies when he slotted his second goal of the day with a steady set shot and the upset was complete.
Connor Thompson was awarded the best on ground medal by the umpires for a terrific game in the midfield.