Grubbers to host first Bridge Battle of 2022
THE next chapter of the region’s fiercest rivalry will be written this Saturday with the Barwon Heads Seagulls making the short walk to Ray Menzies Oval for a highly anticipated return of the Battle of the Bridge.
Ocean Grove hosts the first of two clashes against its neighbours at Shell Road Recreation Reserve and will seek to get its season back on tracking winning just one of the eight opening games.
Grubbers head coach Pete Davey said the context around this weekend’s matchup is a lot different to last year given Ocean Grove is the side struggling this time around.
“This game is certainly one the guys will get up for and they’re all excited to be a part of it,” Davey said.
“In terms of attendance this time around, if you look at what happened in Barwon Heads last year, I’d hope the contest would bring a few neutral observers across to have a look. But right now, being 1-7, we’re just focusing on winning a game of footy.”
It has been 239 days since the Gulls and the Grubbers were scheduled to dance in the BFL finals last season, but the blockbuster game didn’t become a reality following the abrupt end to the 2021 season due to COVID-19.
Since then, Barwon Heads has inserted Daniel Donati as its new head coach, who has heard nothing but positives about the historical rivalry in the lead-up to his first Bridge game.
“This game is something that is definitely spoken about by supporters, volunteers and certainly by the players, ever since I first walked through the doors to be honest,” Donati said.
“Ocean Grove’s ladder position doesn’t reflect who they are as a team at the moment, they’ve remained in the contest during most games, so we know it’s going to be a tough game.
“We’ll be focusing on the basics, bringing our pressure like we do every week and try to sustain it for as long we can.”
Marquee Seagulls forward Nathan Brown was ruled out of last weekend’s game against Portarlington with concussion, but Donati is confident to have his star goal-kicker back in the line-up this week.