Pubished on 21 April 2022

By David Nagel

Everything is pretty much going according to script for Phillip Island after the premiership fancies scored a 60-point victory over Kilcunda-Bass at the Cowes Recreation Reserve on Saturday.

Winning has become a serious habit for the Bulldogs, with victories over Cora Lynn, Warragul Industrials, and now the Panthers, adding to a magnificent record in recent times.

How’s this for a great run of success.

Since the middle of 2018 – when the Bulldogs lost four of their first 10 games – they have now won 42 of their last 44 outings, with a draw against Cora Lynn in 2019, and a loss to Nar Nar Goon in round three last year the only times they haven’t opened the vocal chords post-match.

It’s a remarkable record and one that justifies the short-priced favouritism tag that they have worn proudly into the start of the season.

The Bulldogs have been workmanlike so far this year, almost as if they have another three or four gears to smoothly manoeuvre through before they hit full torque.

The Cora Lynn win was gritty in wet conditions, while the 30-point win against the Dusties was delivered after idling to the line in first gear.

The Dusties will take that 30-point loss after trailing by 48 points at the three-quarter time huddle.

And the Bulldogs were in cruise control again on the weekend, after shaking free of the plucky Panthers with a 5.5 to 0.1 third term.

The Bulldogs just slipped a gear and took off!

Some familiar faces littered the best-players list on the weekend, with Jaymie Youle, Mark Griffin, Cam Pedersen, Brendan Kimber and Zak Vernon absolute top-flight stars of the competition.

But it’s the inclusion of youngster Harry O’Brien that has given the Bulldogs some additional x-factor this year.

O’Brien is dripping with class and after failing to capitalise on some great chances in front of the big sticks against Cora Lynn, has now booted a total of five goals in his last two matches.

Vernon joined O’Brien with three goals each on the weekend while Youle, Daniel Pearce and Jack Papas chimed in with two each.

Panthers’ coach Lee Rowe won’t be overly disappointed with a 10-goal loss, although it could have got a lot messier if the Bulldogs had their kicking boots on.

Rowe is still learning about his group, and his group about itself, with several new players looking to familiarise each other with their game plan.

Marcus Baxter and Nathan Foote continue to hit the scoreboard for the Panthers, booting two each, while Jack Soroczynski, Cam McKenzie, Daniel Mock and youngster Ashden Grenness took things up to the Islanders.

After a week’s rest, Phillip Island hits the road to take on Garfield, while the Panthers will roll out the welcome mat for Nar Nar Goon.