Bombers blow Brothers off the park
THEY'RE going back-to-back. That was the view of most neutral supporters after the Hervey Bay Bombers asserted their premiership credentials with a downright scary display at N.E McLean Oval on Saturday.
After the reigning premiers handed Brothers Bulldogs a 23.17 (155) to 6.7 (43) preliminary final pounding, Saturday's AFL Wide Bay grand final at Frank Coulthard Oval will be a replay of last year's decider between the Bombers and Across The Waves.
The Bombers' splendid 112-point annihilation of the Bulldogs was the second biggest win this season.
The Bombers three-prong power forward attack of Brent Dean, Clint Ennis and Chris Verbeek had a field day, booting 16 goals between them.
Troy Ignatenko's men had the game won at quarter time after registering 8.6 (54) in the first term - the highest-scoring opening stanza by any team this season - and kept the Bulldogs scoreless.
"You've got to put your best foot forward every time you play finals because it's do or die and you don't want to start slow," Bombers player Ian Dunbar said after the match.
The third quarter was also brutal, with the Bombers piling on nine goals to none.
Dean continued his dream run since returning to senior footy a month ago, kicking five goals in the first half before going off with a knee complaint.
In his absence, another veteran Chris Verbeek joined the party racking up a season-best of eight goals, all coming in the second half.
While the Bulldogs staged a mini comeback in the second term, the rest of the one-sided affair was like a Bombers training run, with Brothers providing almost no opposition as the Bombers streamed down the ground in numbers.
Cameron Mackay and Dylan Ward won plenty of ball out of the middle, while Brad Richards and James Falkenberg used their exquisite kicking skills well and were given plenty of space by the disappointing Bulldogs.
Dean Stanley and Josh Gale also found the footy throughout the afternoon, while Dunbar was used sparingly in the middle, but proved a major threat up forward booting three goals in the third quarter and finished with four for the game.
With all eyes now on next week's grand final, the most intriguing question is which team has had the better preparation?
The Bombers have waltzed into the decider without any real contest, while Across The Waves have had a week off.
Having lost to the Eagles by a point in their last meeting, Dunbar said complacency would not be an issue.
"As soon as that siren goes, you are not even concerned about that game (against the Bulldogs) anymore," he said.
"The result is in the bag and we've already started thinking about next week."
BOMBERS 8.6 11.7 20.10 23.17 (155)
Goals: C. Verbeek 8, B. Dean 5, I. Dunbar 4, C. Ennis 3, D. Stanley 2, J. O'Connell
BULLDOGS 0.0 5.3 5.4 6.7 (43)
Goals: B. Doherty 2, B. Illingworth 2, S. Anderson , D. Keam