Coach’s ‘pure joy’ at Bulldogs win

SIX second-half goals from Wodonga coach Ben Hollands helped the Bulldogs break through for their first win of the season with a 20-point upset of Corowa-Rutherglen at John Flower Oval on Saturday.

Hollands, who will retire at the end of the season, turned the game on its head after the finals-bound Roos led by 20 points at half-time.

The former SANFL ace, who drifted forward after spending the first half in the midfield, pulled out his bag of tricks in the second half on the back of some strong work from John Pratt and Tyrone Price further up the ground.

After a string of near misses in recent weeks, Hollands was understandably full of emotion following the victory.

“For me, it was just pure joy,” Hollands said.

“Not relief, or anything, but just joy.

“It’s very pleasing and very satisfying.

“Not just for the players, but the entire club.

“The families and supporters finally got some reward for persistence because we’ve had to tough it out, at times.”

A seven-goal third quarter from the Bulldogs was what proved the difference.

Hollands kicked four goals in that term alone.

The Wodonga coach said he felt like his side was always in the contest.

“We were actually playing pretty well and felt like we were well and truly in the game,” Hollands said.

“We just took our chances a bit better in the second half.

“Nobody dropped the bundle, which was pleasing, because we’ve been in that position before and not finished it off.”

Dylan Beattie, Bob Russell, Zach Jones and Sam Maher also performed strongly to help get the Dogs over the line.

Al Austin was clearly Corowa-Rutherglen’s best, booting three goals in another surprise showing up forward. Roos coach Bryce Campbell also performed strongly in defeat.

Hollands, who hasn’t given up on avoiding the wooden spoon, said the Bulldogs were eyeing off back-to-back wins against Myrtleford this week.

“We’ve had a taste and now we want a bit more of it,” he said.

“It feels pretty bloody good.”