At the 10-minute mark of the second term during Sunday’s reserves preliminary final, Harvey Bulls sharpshooter Trent Murdoch kicked a brilliant goal.
The Bulls were now 31 points up against South Bunbury at Hands Oval and full of confidence. Carlo Celisano’s side appeared to be on course for a second semifinal rematch against Augusta-Margaret River in the grand final.
Unfortunately for the visitors, this goal awoke the Tigers from their slumber and gave the Bulls faithful yet another bitter preliminary final experience.
Following Murdoch’s goal, South kicked eight of the last nine goals of the game, in one of the most remarkable comebacks witnessed in any grade of SWFL action this season.
With Reece Reynolds getting his hand on the ball at centre bounces, the Tigers were able to generate deep forward entries, given the improved supply their midfielders were receiving.
Three quick goals just prior to half-time put South within two goals at the interval, with Troy Bennell trimming it even further moments into the third term.
While much attention in the Bulls’ defence was being placed on South spearhead Morgan Lane, Bennell was able to use this to his advantage — and gee, did he make the visitors pay for it.
Aside from his goal giving the Tigers their first lead of the game at the 17-minute mark of the third quarter, Bennell’s flair and willingness to support his teammates under pressure was a real asset when the game was up for grabs.
Trailing by eight points at the final change, an inspirational checkside snap from Jordan Rakowski three minutes into the term put the Bulls back within striking distance, and for a fleeting moment, Bulls fans again dared to dream again about potential grand final plans.
However their bubble was burst a short time later by South Bunbury’s Craig Whyte, whose steadying goal was enough to keep the Tigers in front for good.