Bathurst goes Back-to-Back with Giants and Bushrangers triumphs

Bathurst Bushrangers celebrate winning the 2020 Men's Tier 1 competition


The curtain closed on an interrupted, yet successful 2020 season following the Men’s Tier 1 Grand Final on September 26. The Men’s Tier 2 Grand Final kicked off proceedings with the Parkes Panthers the team celebrating as the final siren sounded. The Bathurst Giants then lifted the trophy following their Women’s Grand Final win however their clubmates were outclassed against their cross-town Bushrangers rivals in the only one-sided match of the day, the Men’s Tier 1 grade. For those who weren’t able to attend, we recap the day’s play.

Men’s Tier 2: Parkes Panthers 6.6-42 def Cowra Blues 4.11-35

It was a Mitch Stubberfield snap that sealed the game and settled the nerves late as the Panthers won their first premiership since 2001. Parkes came out of the gates strong, kicking the first four majors by midway in the second period. A James McCormack goal steadied the Blues’ ship but with the breeze they needed more than the 1.7 scored. As the players broke for half time, Parkes held a 25-13 lead but we were starting to see glimpses of the minor premiership winning Cowra side.

Parkes Panthers celebrate winning the 2020 AFL Central West Men’s Tier 2 Premiership

Back with the breeze, Parkes were unable to kick away, with only a Scott Newhouse goal scored for the term. Significantly, for the second quarter of the match, Parkes kept Cowra scoreless setting up a grandstand finish. A Kim Reid goal within the first two minutes set the tone for most of the final term. The ball stayed in Cowra’s attacking half for long periods of time and two more goals from Reid swung the momentum all Cowra’s way with seven minutes remaining. Cowra weren’t able to add any further goals to their score and the four-point deficit was the closest the Blues came to completing the comeback. Stubberfield’s goal with just four-minutes remaining wrestled back the ascendency and although Cowra fought again, they could only add three more behinds to their tally.

Final Score: Parkes Panthers 2.1-13, 4.1-25, 5.5-35, 6.6-42 def  Cowra Blues 0.0-0, 1.7-13, 1.7-13, 4.11-35
Goal kickers:
Panthers – Justin Kelly, Mitchell Stubberfield, Scott Newhouse, Joshua Avis, Jarryd Harrison, Damien Byrne (1)
Blues – Kim Reid (3), James McCormack (1)
Best on Ground – Isaac Bunge (Parkes Panthers)

Women’s: Bathurst Giants 3.1-19 def Dubbo Demons 0.2-2

As the wind grew stronger, the competition’s best team over the past three seasons took the field against the travelling Dubbo Demons. The Demons, buoyed by their strong performance in the previous week’s preliminary final were hoping to replicate their 2018 premiership win by upsetting the Giants. Scoring was tough and goals would be at a premium illustrated by only a solitary Giants behind being scored in the first term. In fact it took until the 10-minute mark of the second quarter before Elise Gullifer got the Giants rolling, extending the lead to seven points with the first goal of the game. Not much changed during the final five minutes of the half, and both sides went to the break still well in contention. At the half, the Giants led 1.1-7 to 0.0-0.

Bathurst Giants celebrating victory in the 2020 AFL Central West Women’s Grand Final

The contest remained fierce all throughout the third term, and as Dubbo pushed for the lead, the Giants defence stood tall. Another quarter came and went, the second for the match where neither side was able to goal. Although Dubbo closed the margin during the third, they desperately needed a major. 1.17-0.2-2 was the score as the teams were briefed for the final time of season 2020. Although the pundits love a high scoring match, this contest was hard-fought, pressure-driven, and still demonstrated throughout, the high quality of the women’s league in the Central West.

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The match stayed that way until the clock ticked into the final five minutes when a bit of Hailee Provest magic from the pocket kicked the Giants clear. With a two goal lead, and assisted by the strong breeze, Dubbo had their backs to the wall. Olivia Johnston sealed the contest two minutes later and as the Giants have done so regularly throughout the campaign, they found an extra gear when needed late, and cruised to the trophy.

Final Score: Bathurst Giants 0.1-1, 1.1-7, 1.1-7, 3.1-19 def Dubbo Demons 0.0-0, 0.0-0, 0.2-2, 0.2-2
Goal kickers:
Giants – Elise Gullifer, Hailee Provest, Olivia Johnstone (1)
Demons – nil
Best on Ground – Emily Warner (Dubbo Demons)

Men’s Tier 1: Bathurst Bushrangers 19.14-128 def Bathurst Giants 8.4-52

It was a great afternoon for Bushrangers fans as their Men’s Tier 1 side were crowned premiers for the second consecutive season. The Giants side playing in their first senior Grand Final, started swiftly with a goal-of-the-day contender from Sam Sloan getting the visitors on the board first. Charlie Flude ran hot early for the hosts, bookending a Pete Grundy major with two goals of his own. Within 5 minutes, a shootout was on the cards and the Bushrangers had momentum. Oscar Mann brought the Giants back within a kick with his first for the day, before a late four goals flourish gave the team in a teal a 33-point buffer at the first change.

Bathurst Bushrangers midfielder Bill Watterson has now been awarded Best on Ground in consecutive Grand Finals

The Giants needed a big second quarter kicking with the breeze and were able to stay with their opponents on the scoresheet kicking 3.1-19 apiece. For the Giants, Sloan and Mann both added their seconds whilst Cooper Brien also hit scoreboard. Harry Bowden, Jason Masclet and Grady Tapping found their range as the teams broke for half-time still 33-points apart.

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The third quarter was a carbon-copy of the first. Bushrangers had the breeze and piled on seven majors to one, with Matthew Archer the star of the show, booting four for the term. Grundy added two more to his tally whilst rising star James Smith added his second. Whilst the Giants hadn’t played poorly, the Bushrangers onslaught ended the contest heading into the final term with a commanding 64-point lead.

The Giants kick-started the final term with two goals in the opening three minutes, via Sloan and Brien. However, the minor premiers steadied, absorbed the pressure the Giants put on them and when Bill Watterson goaled five-minutes later, the celebrations had began. The rest of the match was an even contest, with neither side troubling the scores much. Sam Kennedy kicked the final major, and as the siren sounded, so to did the 2020 season, the Bushrangers running out 66-point winners.

Final Scores: Bathurst Bushrangers – 7.4-46, 10.5-65, 17.10-112, 19.14-128 def Bathurst Giants – 2.1-12, 5.2-32, 6.2-38, 8.4-52
Bushrangers – Matthew Archer (5), Peter Grundy (3), James Smith, Charlie Flude, Bill Watterson (2), Grady Tapping, Sam Kennedy, Andrew James, Jason Masclet, Harry Bowden (1)
Giants – Sam Sloan (3), Cooper Brien, Oscar Mann (2), Shaun Noyen (1)
Best on Ground – Bill Watterson (Bathurst Bushrangers)

Well done to all players, coaches, and volunteers for their efforts on Grand Final day. Thankyou to the Bathurst Bushrangers for hosting, and thankyou to all clubs for their hard work that has gone into making this season a reality.

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