Bundoora overcame a 33-point deficit to inflict Heidelberg’s first defeat of the 2021 Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 season.
The Tigers looked headed for a 4-0 start to the new campaign after booting seven of the opening eight goals, to lead 47-14 midway through the second term.
However, the Bulls kicked the final two goals of the quarter to cut the deficit to 19 points at half time, before piling on 12 goals to three in the second half on their way to a 15.15 (105) to 10.9 (69) at Yulong Reserve.
Heidelberg entered the match without star midfielder Lachlan Wilson, who was a late exclusion, and the loss was further soured by hamstring injuries to key trio Matthew Smith, Nick Richards and Will Goss – all of whom didn’t feature after the main break.
The Tigers were certainly the better side in the opening half and were deserving of their early scoreboard advantage, however Bundoora did itself no favours – booting a wayward 3.11 to 7.6 to the main break.
The Bulls were able to rectify their issues in front of goal in the second half, kicking 12.4 in the final two quarters to waltz to their third-successive victory and solidify their place inside the top-five.
Speaking after the win, Bundoora coach Michael Ryan said he was impressed with his side’s response after falling behind early.
“I’m super proud of the group today,” Ryan said.
“(At half time) we probably thought the scoreboard didn’t reflect the game itself. What was hurting us was the last kick inside 50m.
“We were 1.8 at one stage and weren’t getting the reward for effort on the scoreboard. We came out really hard after half time and were able to get the validation for it on the scoreboard.”
Trailing by three goals at the main break, Ryan said a slight tinker with the midfield set-up allowed his side to gain the ascendency, with Nathan Thomas, Kain Proctor and Jai Burns all instrumental in swinging the game Bundoora’s way.
“It was probably about the guys being more balanced around the ball.” Ryan said.
“I felt as though too many guys were hunting the ball and then we were getting hurt on the spread.
“We felt that if we could get on top in the stoppages, we were going to give ourselves a good chance to kick a winning score.”
Bundoora was also well served by a host of its emerging young stars, with 2019 best and fairest Bailey Thompson, former Northern Knights captain Jackson Davies and debutant Jackson Bowne – who kicked two goals as the 23rd Player – all contributing heavily.
“We had 11 guys playing today who were 21 or under and twelve of those had played less than 10 games of senior footy,” Ryan said.
“We think we’re in a pretty good space at the moment with the guys coming through.
“We understand with young kids there’s going to be some inconsistency at times.
“What we are trying to do is not allow them to have bad days. They can have a bad moment, but don’t have a bad day.”
Final score: Bundoora 15.15 (105) def Heidelberg 10.9 (69)
Goal Kickers: S. Lloyd 4, J. Jorgensen 3, J. Bowne 2, A. Burns 2, J. King 2, B. Thompson, K. Proctor
Best Players: N. Thomas, D. Mitchell, B. Thompson, J. Davies, K. Proctor, J. Burns
Goal Kickers: J. Daniel 2, J. Minogue 2, A. Fable, S. Gilmore, M. Cecchin, N. Honey, S. Wright, T. Schnerring
Best Players: J. Daniel, B. Nikolovski, W. Drapac, J. Sutterby, K. Andrew, J. Minogue