It will be a replay of the 2016 decider when defending premiers Dubbo FC take on Macquarie United in Sunday’s Dubbo and District Soccer first grade men’s grand final.
The Bulls edged out the South Dubbo Wanderers at the weekend to claim their place in the decider, in what coach Jason Schink described as “probably the quickest game we’ve been involved in since the old premier league days”.
The Bulls struck the first blow through Alex Richardson but it wasn’t long before the Wanderers capitalised on some loose marking to equalise.
A Gareth Williams header put the Bulls back in front before South Dubbo’s Connor Crain struck a “beautiful shot” from about 30 yards out to tie the scores up again.
The scores remained level and the game looked destined to go to extra time. Then Scott Fox received the ball from 40 yards out.
The Bulls captain ran the ball past defenders left, right and centre before firing a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
It was a relief for the reigning premiers, who were missing key players Nathan Daniels and Jonty Busch. In another blow, defender Brock Brierley left the field after 35 minutes with a groin injury, forcing a reshuffle of the back line.
“It was a pretty gutsy effort, considering we had to use a few second graders who had already played 90 minutes of their own semi final,” Schink said.
But the likes of Brody Austin and Mussy Albadre stepped up to the top grade to help secure the win.
It was also a case of experience trumping youth, with Schink applauding the Bulls’ ability to stay in the game against a more sprightly Wanderers side.
“We stayed in the battle,” Schink said.
“[Wanderers] are full of running beans but the boys just kept turning up and we took our chances, which we didn’t do against Macquarie.”
The Bulls will now look to firm up their one-on-one defence ahead of Sunday’s grand final against Macquarie United.
The Bulls will have something to prove, after going down to the sky blues in a 6-1 semi-final romp.
“Our man for man defence was a bit off and we definitely need to do a job on Evan Goodstat if we want to win on Sunday,” Schink said.
“He tore us to pieces in the semi.”
The Bulls will be without Kobe Rapley for Sunday decider, but Daniels will return to the side. Busch and Brierley were “50-50”, Schink said.