SWFL 2022: Two-point win over Busselton enough for Harvey Bulls to earn first SWFL finals berth in five years
With the odds stacked against them, the Harvey Bulls have managed to rise to the occasion and book their first SWFL finals berth in five years after holding off Busselton Magpies by just two points in a thrilling contest.
There were scenes of jubilation among the Harvey contingent at Sir Stewart Bovell Park on Saturday in what was a crucial match for the Bulls as they continued their fight to keep their finals dream alive.
From the first bounce, both Busselton and Harvey were quick to put the pressure on each other although the Bulls managed to break through and drive the ball forward.
After only managing a minor score to begin, Busselton seized the opportunity with Jed Kemp booting the first goal of the match.
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Keen to make a swift response, the Bulls quickly drove the ball forward from the centre once again with Michael Bennell kicking the Bulls’ first major.
In the midst of both teams fighting hard to put the pressure on one another, Busselton managed to keep composed and build up a lead with goals from Josh Hewett and Jackson Arbon putting them in front.
A late goal from Brad Holmes saw the Bulls fight back to trail by one straight kick at quarter time.
The Bulls managed another fast start early in the second goal with Tyson Powell bringing the scores level early with a goal.
As Busselton looked to make a response, Harvey made it all the more difficult with plenty of pressure across the back line and midfield until Bailey Sanford charged through for a goal to take back the lead for the Magpies.
With the contest picking up intensity, a minor score and an eventual goal via Lloyd Beever helped put the Bulls back in front with both teams fighting hard.
A late goal from Powell saw the Bulls extend their lead late with a Busselton minor score sealing the margin at seven points at half time.
Following the main break, Busselton were quick to make an attempt for a comeback while Harvey continued fighting hard to maintain their small lead.
Tensions began to bubble with plenty of hard tackles and a push to Harley Bennell by Hewett resulting in a Harvey free kick.
But the Bulls were unable to capitalise on the free kick with Busselton making an interception at the goal square and Brandon Hooton Eyden going on to boot a goal to bring the scores level.
While Holmes put the Bulls back in front with a second goal, Dylan Chatley came off the field in pain with a suspected ankle injury.
A second goal via Arbon brought the scores level once again with both teams on 6.3 (39) at three-quarter time to set up a sudden death showdown for the final term.
With Thomas Wood and Ben Ganzer battling it out in the ruck, the final term brought about an intense contest.
Bennell continued to prove himself as an asset across the half-back line with plenty of intercept marks while the brutal physicality saw Busselton’s Jason Fish come off the field clutching his arm and Jed Schaler get a badly timed cramp right after marking the ball.
A third goal from Powell saw the Bulls back in front once again, leaving Busselton scrambling to fight back.
Despite making plenty of opportunities for themselves, Busselton’s kicking accuracy seemed to crumble under the pressure with a number of behinds scored.
Although the Magpies managed to come agonisingly close to swooping in on the win, Harvey held on to win 7.4 (46) to 6.8 (44).
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