Local Footy: Late Paringa goal extends Bulldogs’ premiership drought

By Nick Kossatch

Paringa won a nail-biting Independent Football League grand final against gallant Wunkar by six points at Moorook Oval on Saturday when forward Anthony Lippis drilled truly after the final siren.

It was one of the great grand finals in which the Bulldogs came so close to breaking their 33-year premiership drought.

There were nerves aplenty in the first term and the Swans’ Chris Gardner read the ball off the pack to post the game’s first goal.

Jonathon Wood provided plenty of drive off half-back for Paringa but Wunkar guns Howard Duthie Medallist Daniel Evans and ruckman Shane Schulz easily were on top of their opponents.

Young Bulldog, Nathan Brown, capitalised on an errant kick-out to level the scores.

The pressure was intense with fierce tackles and wonderful smothers.

Of those was Jason Goodes’ smothering Paringa’s Tristan Jackson’s kick that ended with a goal to Daniel Evans.

The Swan’s held a five-point lead following a Lippis-aided major to the impressive Craig Baxter.

The game’s intensity lifted in the second quarter that produced 12 goals – seven of which were kicked by Paringa.

A desperate touch on the goal line by Swan defender John Clohesy prevented a certain Wunkar major to Adrian Lovegrove.

Burly Paringa forward Dean ‘The Fridge’ Hill and the clever-leading Stephen Lehmann both booted two goals.

It was not before the committed Bulldogs kicked a trio of goals that was started by the rampant Daniel Evans’ second major.

Their lead was momentary because Shannon Hissey spotted Lehmann, who was again free on the boundary.

‘Lehmo’s’ neat goal swung the momentun the Swan’s way.

The decider was getting away from the Bulldogs and again Lehmann involved himself teaming with Lippis that set Gardner up for his second goal and an 18-point half time advantage.

One sensed the class players of Paringa were to blow Wunkar apart but they showed iron-willed resilience in the third quarter.

Schulz began the third stanza at centre half forward.

It was a move that had to be made if Wunkar had any chance.

The Swans extended their lead to 25 points after Lippis’ second goal from a free and Lehmann’s ability to break free from his opponent was rewarded with two more goals to his tally.

The Dogs began to challenge sparked by Harley Bennell’s two goals and when Schulz long-bomb made their defecit just eight points – Wunkar sniffed victory.

They had to encounter the ‘L’ factor – Paringa’s Lehmann and Lippis.

The final quarter was of frenetic proportions and both teams went goal-for-goal.

Goodes and Nick Allen joined Daniel Evans and Schulz to inspire Wunkar.

Daniel’s brother Lincoln put the Bullies a point ahead but shortly after a 25-metre penalty allowed Jonathon Wood to truly convert.

Both sides gave it all in this epic in front of a massive crowd.

Hill’s reflex handball ended with a floating goal and sixth to that man Lehmann.

It was preluded by Schulz’s third goal.

Lovegrove’s slick handball to a running Huddleston put Wunkar ahead again.

They perhaps could have been over a goal in front but not for Paringa player-coach Aarod Westley’s tackle on Bennell, who was running goal-ward on the club-side wing.

The turnover culminated with Lippis slotting his third but Wunkar were not denied yet again.

Daniel Evans booted his fourth and it appeared the Bulldogs were the more disciplined but Paringa rolled the dice one more time.

Swan skipper Andrew Lloyd was pushed in the back at half forward but he took it upon himself to kick a goal.

His kick avoided a pack and bounced through to level the score.

Wunkar had a final forward foray when Huddleston found Lincoln Evans but his kick failed to find Josh Lawrence whose rushed kick sprayed wide.

The Swans’ urgently worked the ball forward with Hissey’s probing kick within Lippis’ reach.

The tall forward was awarded a free kick from high contact and then the siren sounded.

‘Lippy’ raised his arms in the air as the ball sailed through sealing a grand grand final for Paringa.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: Wunkar’s Daniel Evans desperation in the last quarter. He won the hard ball and then fed a handball to Scott Huddleston who made no mistake and put the Bulldogs six-points ahead.

Paringa’s captain courageous Andrew Lloyd goal in the last term from 50 metres bounced through after the pack misjudged the flight of the ball. The goal tied the scores.

Anthony Lippis was awarded a free kick after high contact was made on him. The siren then sounded with the scoreboard reading that Paringa had lead narrowly. In fact the scores were level. ‘Lippy’s’ major sealed the Bulldogs’ fate by six points.

TURNING POINT: Swan’s player-coach Aarod Westley’s tackle on Harley Bennell in the last quarter after he had threatened to break free and boot the ball deep into Wunkar’s attack. It ended at the other end, with a goal to Lippis, after linking play via Jonathon Wood and Shannon Hissey.

BEST ON GROUND: Howard Duthie medallist Daniel Evans – undoubtedly. He almost single-handedly, with four goals, won the game for the Bulldogs. He was simply magnificent and controlled the centre square.

Ruck-forward Shane Schulz was a pillar of marking strength for Wunkar with his aerial supremacy and his ground play was first class.

Paringa’s ‘Jono’ Wood and six-goal hero Stephen Lehmann played important roles.

Brendan King’s effort in shutting down Wunkar scoring linch-pin, Sean ‘Gonzo’ Gray, went a long way in deciding the match.

About Nicholas Kossatch

Tall and intelligent and athletically built who calls a spade a spade. Love sports writing and sending letters and texts to the editor about AFL and the Port Adelaide Power – win, lose or draw. I do not sit on the fence.

Soon to be 40! I play basketball and over 35’s supers football. Have played amateur footy and a bit of cricket and basketball when living in Adelaide. Do some writing for the Murray Pioneer,

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