Bulldogs have plenty of bite left

The Gisborne Bulldogs' Bride Collings. (Supplied) 240554_01

By Oliver Lees

Gisborne Football Club has eyes set on a finals berth in division 1 of the women’s Essendon District Football League.

The Bulldogs, in their first season in the EDFL after migrating from the AFL Goldfields league, are sitting in fourth position on the ladder with four wins and two losses.

Bulldogs coach Jason Peak said after six matches his side has settled well into the competition.

“At this point we’re about the mark where we want to be,” Peak said.

“The change of league has been fantastic, the EDFL have been really supportive.

“They’ve been very welcoming in helping us out as well as organising regular coaches meetings, which I’ve really enjoyed.

“We’ve been graded really well and feel comfortable in this division.”

Peake added that Gisborne Football Club has a focus on welcoming away teams and will regularly host an afternoon tea after matches.

Before COVID-19 lockdown measures brought community sports to a halt, the Bulldogs had played in a handful of nail-biting contests.

In round 6, Bulldogs went down narrowly to second-placed Strathmore, 23 to 31.

But Peak said the round three and four wins were promising as his side got up against Pascoe Vale and Greenvale by a total of eight points across both contests.

Natalie Dowdy has been a star in front of goal, booting 16 goals for the season.

Meanwhile, Claire Bourdon has been the club’s most consistent contributor, appearing in the team’s best players list in each game.

“We’ve been talking a lot about how we can improve and we think we really need to start a bit better, make sure we don’t fall behind by three goals,” Peak said.

“We’re only percentage points behind Greenvale, who we’ve beaten, and just went down to Strathmore so we think we can go far.”

Classed as a regional side, the Bulldogs were able to train last Monday, unlike metropolitan clubs. But due to severe weather in the Macedon Ranges the club had to cancel training.

Peak said he was focusing on keeping the team connected through all the disruptions.

“The girls do a good job of driving the social side of things so I feel we’re doing our best,” he said. ’

Looking beyond the current season, the Bulldogs are hoping to increase female participation.

Peak said, so far this season his side has dealt with a high turnover rate as they’ve adopted a policy that aims to include as many as possible.

“We’ve taken the attitude that we don’t expect everyone to play every week,” he said.

“We’ve had about eight or so under-18s players in the senior side.

“Next year we would love to have two teams, so If everyone is interested please come down.

“If not now, then definitely next year.”