Pubished on 12 September 2022

By David Nagel

It will forever be remembered as the day that drama came to Dalyston!

It took four quarters of football, and two periods of drama-filled extra time, for Phillip Island to climb off death-row and qualify for the West Gippsland grand final with an unbelievable two-point preliminary final victory over Warragul Industrials.

It took an after-the-siren goal from 18-year-old Orlando Kane-Gillard – in the second period of extra-time – for the Bulldogs to snatch the most amazing of victories, 7.12(54) to 7.10(52), over the broken-hearted Dusties.

Trailing by nine points at three-quarter time, goals to Dusties defenders Luke Walker and Matt Herbert were answered by Bulldogs forward Jesse Patullo, with the Bulldogs leading by a point with just 39 seconds left on the clock.

Dusties winger Bailey Beck had the chance to snatch victory, but his left-foot snap sailed through for a point, leaving scores tied after regulation time.

Confusion reigned-supreme for both camps, with coaches Beau Vernon and Harmit Singh entering and leaving the field on multiple occasions before both coaches were allowed to address their teams ahead of extra-time.

Two five-minute periods, plus what would prove to be crucial time-on, would be played.

A rushed behind to the Dusties was the only score in the first period of extra time, and a goal to Mason McGarrity, two minutes into the second, appeared to have the Dusties destined for a magnificent grand final appearance after working their way through from sixth place.

The Bulldogs were like a criminal on death-row, just waiting for the final siren to sound as six minutes ticked over on the clock.

Phillip Island star Cam Pedersen then won a stoppage clearance on wing/half-forward, with the ball finding itself in the arms of Kai McKenzie, who shanked his forward-50 entry.

The Sherrin tumbled end over end and onto the waiting chest of Kane-Gillard, who snatched the pill from the sky with six minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

Four seconds later, the siren sounded…the Doggies four points behind and with their season resting on one kick from 40-metres out from goal.

A perfectly struck set shot, sailed inches over the Dusties desperate defence, triggering grand final-like scenes as Bulldogs rushed onto the Dalyston Rec Reserve.

Despite several premierships as a coach, Phillip Island mentor Beau Vernon had the adrenaline pumping post-match.

“I’ve never experienced anything like that…it was almost unbelievable what took place,” Vernon said from a buzzing changeroom after the match.

“At the end of normal time we didn’t know what was going on, some umpires were telling us we were allowed on the ground, and others were telling us we weren’t, then after the first five minutes of the first period of extra time we thought the siren should have gone…there’s was just a lot going on.

“When I was playing at Phillip Island we had a kick after the siren in a prelim, and we missed it, so to experience this type of feeling, the joy, it’s something none of us will forget for a very long time.

“I’m over the moon and just so happy for our players.

“Everyone looks at us as a premiership side, but half our team hasn’t won a premiership before, and we really want to experience that for those boys that now get the opportunity to do that against Tooradin.

“I thought we were done; I thought the game was over.”

Vernon had mixed thoughts as Kane-Gillard lined up at goal.

“Orlando probably hasn’t been kicking them that sweetly in the second half of the year, he’s been kicking a lot of behinds, but on Thursday night he was hitting them flush and putting them straight through the middle,” Vernon said.

“I was just thinking whatever will be will be, but lucky for us it went through.”

Vernon was full of praise for a Dusties side that came within seconds of qualifying for the big dance.

“They’re a great side, they make you think the whole time and you have to be switched on against them or they’ll show you up, it’s as simple as that,” Vernon said.

“Credit to Harmit (Singh), they play a great brand of footy and would have been worthy grand finalists.

“I have much respect for them, but unfortunately only one of us could go through today.”

Phillip Island now take on Tooradin-Dalmore in the WGFNC grand final on Saturday, 10 September.



PHILLIP ISLAND                                 2.5          3.6          5.8          6.9(45)                  ET 7.12(54)

WARRAGUL INDUSTRIALS            3.1          4.3          4.5          6.9(45)                  ET 7.10(52)

Phillip Island Goals: Zak Vernon 2, Jesse Patullo 2, Orlando Kane Gillard, Billy Taylor, Max Blake.

Warragul Industrials Goals: Mason McGarrity 2, Luke Walker, Anthony Bruhn, Matthew Herbert, Jackson Mockett, Nic Visser.