South Bunbury will need to up their game if they are to challenge the other top sides in the South West Football League finals after narrowly defeating Busselton in Round 18.
South Bunbury have made a name for themselves this season by claiming matches by tight margins.
However, their win over Busselton needn’t and shouldn’t have been so close. It is the second game in two weeks where Busselton, who will not see action in September, have almost rolled a top four side. Last week, they came within nine points of minor premiers, Donnybrook.
The Tigers fired early in Saturday’s match at Sir Stewart Bovell Park.
A free kick against Jed Kemp was advanced 50 metres and Tiger Matthew Giacci drew first blood with a goal.
It was all South Bunbury in a dominant first quarter display.
Guy Piggott had a chance to add another for the visitors but missed. Their next opportunity fell into the hands of Jehb O'Donohue, who made no mistake and notched another for the Tigers.
There were moments of hope for the home-side after some stirring defence and a forward push resulted in the Tigers conceding a point to avoid a Busselton goal.
South Bunbury used this close call to spur another forward movement to forward Leigh Kohlmann. Kolmann would score two in quick succession, followed by another major from Craig Hutcheson.
Busselton’s wayward kicking was costly. Eventually they hit their target and Liam Creighton scored.
South Bunbury weren’t done, and Piggott threw salt on the wounded Magpies when he snapped a goal just prior to quarter time.
The Magpies limped into the first break with 1.3 (9), while the Tigers had 6.4 (40) to their name.
In the second, Busselton scored early and had another chance when Jason Fish benefited from a 50 metre penalty. He gave it off to Bailey Sanford who wasn’t able to convert the passage of play for a goal.
Piggott and Kolmann again caused grief for the Pies with a goal each. Tiger Martin Thompson then set up Hutcheson for his second.
Busselton big man Steve Cameron had a couple of misses across the goal face. Magpie Brody Plozza was able to secure a major so his side could take a slightly more respectable total into halftime.
South Bunbury was still in control, leading 9.6 (60) to 3.5 (23).
In the third, the tide began to turn but it wouldn’t be until the fourth when the Pies would really challenge the Tigers.
South Bunbury only managed to add one goal during the quarter, while Magpie Reegan Mrsich arrived in the game with two goals and a near miss.
At three quarter time, the Tigers were still leading comfortably, 10.11 (71) to 5.8 (38) and Busselton’s late charge would spook the premiership contenders.
A five goal final quarter from Busselton saw the side almost topple South Bunbury.
The Tigers had a chance early with Josh Padlie but it hit the post.
Sanford was everywhere around the ball but his two attempts on goal came up short. Creighton was able to boot his second for the match, and Mrsich bagged another two.
At this point, there was just eight points in it, when the Tigers were able to crum the ball from a contest in their forward pocket and score a goal. Busselton backman Thomas Begley claimed it was touched to no avail.
Sanford would excite the crowd again, but only managed a point. Then Fish stormed from the backline to score his second goal for the season.
The scores were now 10.12 (72) to 11.13 (79), with the Tigers in front by a skerrick.
Kohlmann, put the finishing touches on the South Bunbury win, kicking his fifth and giving his side a final score of 12.13 (85) to Busselton’s 10.12 (72).