Gunnedah have pocketed their first silverware for the year taking out Saturday’s inaugural Crossroads Cup.
Hosted by the Narrabri Eagles, the pre-season tournament saw all six North West AFL clubs bar the New England Nomads lace up the boots.
The Bulldogs showed some promising signs ahead of their title defence, defeating the Tamworth Kangaroos by around four goals in the final to claim the silverware.
“That was our best game,” Bulldogs skipper Andrew George said.
He was admittedly a bit surprised by how well they performed with other sporting commitments seeing them send a depleted side.
“We probably didn’t expect to go that well.
“I think we only had seven guys out of our grand final side from last year and three of them actually started on the bench,” George said.
On top of that they only had 18 players for the day, and were down to 16 for the final after two players had to leave for work. That left them with only two subs with games played 14-a-side.
The Bulldogs began the day with a win over the Eagles 1 side. They then suffered a loss to the Roos before accounting for the combined Moree Suns/Tamworth Swans side to cement their place in the decider.
With the Nomads’ withdrawal the draw was reconfigured and the semi-finals disbanded for a straight grand final.
The usual suspects were prominent for the Bulldogs but it was some of the younger guys that particularly impressed George.
“We had a handful of new young guys, they all played really well,” he said.
“A couple of them might have played a game of school footy before. They all picked it up really quickly.”
He made specific mention of Zach Turnbull, Ryan Wheatland, Liam Novelly and Tom Maher. The latter is the younger brother of last years Rising Star Ben Maher.
Saturday was the Bulldogs only hit-out before the season kicks-off on April 7.
The Tamworth Roos and Moree Suns women also played on Saturday with the Roos taking the victory.
Roos newcomer Maddy Dadd made a big impression in her debut adjudged the best on ground.
Narrabri Eagles’ Benjamin Maddern was meanwhile named the mens mvp.