Final margin flattered Bulldogs: Bennett

North Bendigo was beaten by Leitchville-Gunbower by 26 points on Saturday. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
North Bendigo was beaten by Leitchville-Gunbower by 26 points on Saturday. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

NORTH Bendigo coach Rob Bennett concedes their 26-point losing margin flattered the Bulldogs in Saturday’s Heathcote District league grand final against Leitchville-Gunbower.

The Bulldogs – playing in their fifth grand final in the past six years – were outplayed for much of the game by the slicker Bombers as they fell short in their bid to win a hat-trick of premierships for the first time in club history.

The Bulldogs, who trailed by as many as 40 points during the last term, were beaten 15.18 (108) to 12.10 (82) at Huntly in a game where they were outscored in all four quarters and constantly put under immense pressure by the impressive Bombers.

“They were far too good for us today,” Bennett said.

“They used the footy a lot better than us around the ground and going into their forward 50.

“They didn’t give us any time or space to steady up and hit a target and we just seemed to be under pressure every time we had the footy.

“Even though we were close at times, it just didn’t feel like we could get on top of them because they were playing so well.

“To be honest, to go down by 26 points probably flattered us, and it was just a sensational game by them.”

The grand final loss follows one of the most dominant home and away seasons in league history by the Bulldogs, highlighted by their monster percentage of 313.

“It’s disappointing with the way we’ve played throughout the year to not finish off today and get the reward,” Bennett said.

“If you’re not good enough, you’re not good enough and that was us today, but we’ll stick together.”

Despite the senior loss, the Bulldogs enjoyed premiership success earlier in the day with their reserves.