Donnybrook Football Club’s league side fell to South West Football League reigning premiers South Bunbury Tigers in their round two Dr Ern Manea Memorial Cup clash.
Playing their first home game at VC Mitchell Park for the 2017 season, the crowd roared when their club came out onto the field on Sunday.
The Dale Alcock pre-season carnival saw the Dons deliver a 10.5.65 to 4.3.27 victory over the Tigers at home.
Dons players Samual Lowrie, Jacob Green and Kieran Hug kicked through the posts to give their side momentum.
Two goals to South Bunbury kept the game close, but Donnybrook held out to lead 4.1.25 to 2.3.15 at quarter time. Teams played possession-fuelled football early in the second quarter, sticking close to the centre and boundary line.
Both sides traded shots on goal, flying through the point posts or out on the full. South Bunbury soon fired back with a four goal to one haul to lead 6.4.40 to 5.2.32 at half time.
Leigh Kohlmann and Sebastian Dixon capitalised on the Tigers’ increased possession and chances on goal. Multiple marks in their forward 50 set up comfortable set shots.
Increased smothers and tackles from South Bunbury’s backline kept Donnybrook at bay.
Donnybrook coach Julian Burgess rallied his team to play more courageous football in the second half.
The Dons and Tigers continued their tug-of-war style of play in the centre of the ground, with several clearance chances spilling out for throw-ins.
Green kicked the opening goal of the third quarter off the ground to put Donnybrook within 22 points.
South Bunbury piled on four unanswered goals to extend the gap to 10.7.67 to 6.3.39 at the final break.
The Tigers’ team coordination and fast, effective passing developed their high number of shots on goal.
Despite keeping in the ball in their forward 50, Donnybrook failed to capitalise early in the fourth quarter.
Heated tensions saw both teams break into a scuffle and give away multiple free kicks.
Each side scored two goals in the fourth quarter, with the Tigers running out 12.7.79 to 8.3.51 winners at the final siren.
Tigers’ player Dale Wilkinson was named Man of the Match and received the game ball.
Donnybrook will stay at home for their round three clash with Bunbury on Sunday, April 30.