Bombers hammer ATW to go back-to-back
THE Hervey Bay Bombers have gone back-to-back for the first time since their four-peat in 2002-2005 after demolishing Across The Waves 22.11 (143) to 9.10 (64) at Frank Coulthard Oval on Saturday.
The Bombers were always in control of the AFL Wide Bay decider, burying the minor premiers with an avalanche of goals in the second and third terms.
The Bombers had a setback before the first bounce when full-forward Brent Dean was ruled out after failing to recover from the knee injury he sustained in last week's preliminary final victory over Brothers Bulldogs.
Both teams got off to a fast start, but the Bombers were first to settle, making their move late in the opening term.
When the half-time siren sounded, the Bombers had booted 11 of the last 12 goals to open up a 54-point lead at the main break, leaving the Eagles looking rattled.
They continued the onslaught after half-time, booting the first four goals of the term before Ronald Blair momentarily stemmed the bleeding for ATW with his team's first major in more than a quarter.
In a match as one-sided as Saturday's Federal Election, it was Hervey Bay's pressure and big, strong midfielders who destroyed the Eagles, taking the ball out of the middle with ease.
The Bombers had major ball winners across the park, with Brad Richards explosive in the Bombers engine room, racking up 28 disposals to pick up the player of the match medal.
Midfielders Dylan Ward and Cameron Mackay were among the heroes for the Bombers, regularly pumping the ball inside their forward 50, but there was barely a bad Bomber on the day.
Without Dean, power forwards Clint Ennis and Chris Verbeek led the way with seven majors apiece.
Josh Gale took a couple of nice grabs, finishing with 18 disposals and two goals, while Tony Andrews, who missed last week's preliminary final with injury, also nabbed two majors.
The Bombers defensive effort was exemplary, holding the Eagles to their second lowest score this season, led by Mark Riley who was strong off halfback while veteran Johnny Neshoda put up a fight in defence.
Neshoda's career in senior footy ended on Saturday with another flag.
The only sour point from the game was last year's grand final hero, Ian Dunbar, was taken to hospital after leaving the field early in the third quarter holding his left shoulder.
The Bombers went close to sweeping the grand finals, taking the under-15, under-17 and seniors flag, but lost to Brothers Bulldogs in reserve grade.