A dominant fourth quarter performance from Busselton Magpies captain Aidan Fraser secured a win for the home-side against Bunbury in Saturday’s twilight game.
Busselton hosted the higher placed Bunbury but went into the match with momentum on their side, compared to Bunbury – who were recovering from a shellacking at the hands of the Eaton Boomers in Round 10.
Bunbury opened the game’s scoring with a point but it was a timely soccer from Pie Bailey Sanford that set-up big man Steve Cameron for the first goal of the match.
Both teams were ferocious in their pursuit of the contested ball and this feeling wouldn’t simmer down during the match.
Eventually, after much back-and-forth and hard bumps, the ball ended up in Bunbury’s forward 50 in the hands of star Brett Peake.
Peake didn’t waste the opportunity and slotted it home for a goal.
Busselton dominated the centre clearances for most of the game. After Peake’s goal, the Magpies responded by getting it down to their goal end.
Cameron took a wide sliding mark on the wing. His big kick sailed across the face of goal and landed in the hands of Jed Kemp.
Kemp made no mistake of it and booted a responding goal.
Later in the first, Peake had another attempt at goal but the Pies defense managed to clear the crumbs before the Bulldogs could pounce.
Another close call in Bunbury’s 50 was saved by Magpie Brodie Howell, who beat out a Bulldog forward in a foot race and cleared the football into the safety of the midfield.
The hard fought first quarter went to the Pies with 3.0 (18) to 2.1 (13) and set the tone for the remainder of the game.
In the second, Bulldog Jesse Gribble opened the scoring after the Magpies were caught holding the ball.
The Pies answered with Matt Welburn putting ball to boot quickly after a tap from the bounce.
Although it was a dominant quarter from the Pies, the Bulldogs remained in touch throughout.
Busselton looked certain to score another major when a soaring kick covered much of the ground and fell into the path of Kemp.
Kemp was inside 50 alone and had more time than he realised. What should have been an easy goal was a disappointing behind for the home team.
Peake managed to keep the Dogs in it with a goal but another beautiful clearance movement from the Pies resulted in a major.
Sanford filtered the ball to Jackson Arbon who sent it in the direction of Cameron, who backed himself from about 40 metres out and added another goal to his name.
Next to score was Fraser, who entered the scoring after Reegan Mrsich sent the ball forward from half back.
Fraser was taken high and took advantage of the free kick by scoring his first and stretching the margin to 6.1 (37) to 3.2 (20) at the major break.
The third quarter saw a huge momentum swing in favour of the visitors.
After half-time, Bunbury came out guns blazing and scored an early goal.
The only score Busselton managed for the term was a point from Fraser.
Peake put on a show when he read the flight of ball better than his opponents and hung behind the pack to run into an open goal.
A dismal quarter was made worse when the Pies gave away a free kick, which became a 50 metre penalty just as the siren sounded.
Bulldog Brad Blake had it easy when he was put 15 metre out directly in front of goal. His score gave Bunbury a five point lead going into the final term.
Busselton needed a big finish and Fraser took it upon himself to step up to the plate.
He opened the quarter with a goal and followed up with a second only minutes later.
He marked everything that came his way and had three goals in the final quarter, and five for the match.
Goals from Bulldogs Braiden Mcmullen and Dylan Partridge weren’t enough to catch the Pies in their six-goal final term blitz.
A huge goal from outside 50 for Mrsich and another goal from Kemp was enough to hold off the visitors and seal the win.
In the end, the Magpies had a well-deserved victory, winning 12.9 (81) to the Bulldogs’ 8.11 (59).