Bega Roosters to run all four grand finals

Brock Seabrook was a key strike option for the Bulldogs on Sunday, but the club is now out of finals after a loss to the Bega Roosters.
Brock Seabrook was a key strike option for the Bulldogs on Sunday, but the club is now out of finals after a loss to the Bega Roosters.

The Merimbula-Pambula Bulldogs are out of premiership running after going down to Bega in both the under 18s and first grade on Sunday.

The Roosters were met with a cold reception from one of the biggest crowds ever at Eden's George Brown Memorial Oval with most of those in attendance backing the Bulldogs for the result.

Following a heated finish to the reserve grade showdown, opening exchanges appeared almost timid, but both clubs ran through some good field position with neat football through the middle.

A bit of emotion ramped up fairly quickly though as a few bone-crunching and even lifting tackles found their way into play.

The Dogs had struck first with the Bulldogs attacking the fringes repeatedly where strike players Luke Rixon and Brock Seabrook both looked dangerous on the back of good work from middle men Grant Moon, Magnus Gillberg and Jack McGuire.

The Roosters didn't slump, but instead replied quickly through lock Ryan Apps.

As tension built the Dogs fired back at the Roosters with Corey Schafer running a neat line right of the posts from close range to score.

With Jake Mikula in fine form with the boot, the conversion was never in doubt and the Dogs led 12-6.

However, the Roosters again fired back in a level match-up when Apps locked in a double, surging through to score under the posts and lock it up at 12-12.

Brock Seabrook caught the Bega defence napping late in the half for the Dogs to lead 18-12, but the Roosters fired back in the second half to build momentum in their favour.

An early Scott Fuller try levelled the odds once more before Fuller dived through for his second out of dummy half after Todd Ingram was pulled up just shy of the line to lead 24-18.

The early points had given the Roosters momentum and, while the Bulldogs kept pressuring, fewer options presented themselves and the club quickly found itself on the defensive.

The Roosters had rallied around those early points and all but sealed the game when Josh Shepherdson found the try-line to get the jump 32-18.

A late consolation try to Adam Stone gave the Bulldogs some hope, but Fuller's third in the dying minutes of play sealed the result.

Earlier, the Bega 18s had been too much for the Bulldogs, winning 54-10.

A centrepiece for the Roosters had been the goal-kicking efforts of Clay Ellison who was flawless on the day, kicking 10 from 10 despite some stiff angles and a blustery cross-ground wind.

Jordan Gray-Balcomb and fullback Bryce Philipzen had both scored doubles for Bega, while Bailey Kebby and Kiar Twigg scored for the Dogs.

The result ends the Bulldogs' 2019 campaign and will see the Roosters advance to contest all four grand final matches in Bega this Sunday.