WHAT a magnificent day crowds were presented with for the traditional Easter clash between the Bulldogs and the Kilcunda-Bass Panthers for 2022.

Perfect conditions, ground in superb condition and the Kennel fully prepped for what promised to be a huge crowd.

Even more significant was the combination of the Easter and ANZAC Day event, with the moving ANZAC ceremony conducted by the RSL before the senior football and netball games. All seniors, reserves, coaches and officials showed their respect during the moving ceremony which culminated in the New Zealand and Australian national anthems.

Beginning the game in around 27C was certainly a novelty for all involved, and with an excellent 3000-odd crowd in, it was wonderful to see community sport well and truly back – something everyone was super excited to see!

Seniors

With a bunch of ins due to the Taylor-3 and Noosh Kane-Gillard away, the Phillip Island boys began with three first-gamers. Zac Walker and Jack Papas stepped up from Under 18s, and Hayden Smith having just graduated from the 2021 U18s. All three were to have an impact at varying times through the day.

An even start saw a competitive first quarter, with captain Youle leading the charge for the Bulldogs. The ball flowed from end to end, with both defences on top, and the Bulldogs defence led by Mark Griffin.

An escaping dog came onto the ground and insisted on working with the Bulldogs and upsetting Kilcunda-Bass’ thrusts into the forward line, much to the embarrassment of his owner, causing the game to halt.

Goals later in the quarter to Youle and then Harry O’Brien after some amazing footwork from first gamer Zac Walker, saw the

Bulldogs up by 12 at the first break.

The second quarter saw domination in the middle, with Cam Pedersen and Jaymie Youle bringing in the first-gamer Hayden Smith on one wing and Matt Jones on the other.

A great opportunity for another first-gamer Jack Papas saw his first goal in senior footy, with the entire team (and the ever-reliable runner Scott Huther) converging.

Daniel Pearce roaming the forward line showed class works at either end of the ground with his first goal.

The boys from Bass fought hard and a couple of goals ensured that the lead was held to 27 at the major break.

An on-field half-time break in the slightly cooler shaded location was taken, in amongst the on-field spectators, dogs, footies and an irate umpire who was well tired of asking spectators to move off the boundary for their own safety during play.

Two of the Bulldogs’ finest donned suitable attire and acted as boundary-riders for the rest of the game!

The third was all the Bulldogs. Harry O’Brien ran rings around his opponent, scoring almost at will, Jordy Patullo stepped up and Zac Vernon ran riot all over the ground. In the defence, Daniel Holmes and Tarquin McMillan combined well, with the Bulldogs extending their lead to 10 goals at the three-quarter time break. For the second week in a row, ice, towels and cold drinks were the rule at three-quarter time. To their credit, Kilcunda-Bass led the charge in the final stanza, outscoring the Bulldogs with a string of excellent goals working through the Bulldogs’ defence.

A late goal to Brendan Kimber saw the Bulldogs break through the 100-point barrier late in the game.