A powerful 12 goal display from ex-Docker Brett Peake was the highlight as Bunbury ended Collie’s season on a sour note with a 113 point victory at Payne Park.
The Bulldogs held second spot prior to the clash and were in good form. Collie, however, had experienced a regrettable season filled with injuries.
The Eagles, to everyone’s surprise, gained momentum and got the upper hand after the opening bouncedown.
They headed towards the forward 50 and set up Austin Kent to nab the game’s first goal.
Soon after, Collie waned as Bunbury’s all-star midfield picked up the pace.
Following Cameron Lamonaca’s first of two goals for the game, Peake capitalised on a lucky bounce before running towards an empty goalsquare and converting.
Collie lost its edge during the term, as Bunbury’s rising star Malik Davis slotted his first of five goals.
After Peake kicked his second, he was given a 50-metre penalty thanks to a late tackle from Collie’s Talan Michael. The star forward then slotted his fourth, putting his side in front by 31 points at quarter time.
Collie began the second term similarly to the first, as star player Joel Houghton booted his first of five goals.
Although Collie’s stars were in top form, Bunbury’s midfielders continually found free players up forward.
Fans erupted when Peake slotted his fifth, before Bradley Blake and Jesse Gribble converted Bunbury’s eighth and ninth goals.
The Eagles eventually broke through Bunbury’s backline, allowing Houghton to boot two more.
Eagles Blair Malatesta and Samuel Salmeri then found enough space to kick one each.
However, as the quarter drew to a close, Collie’s chances of a second-half comeback rapidly diminished.
Peake established himself as a Hayward Medal contender, kicking his sixth and seventh goals to move Bunbury into a 42 point lead by half time.
With the game as good as over by the start of the second half, interest switched from the scoreline to Peake’s tally. After the forward slotted his eighth, Lamonaca and Davis booted one each.
Goals to Kane Bumann and Davis extended Bunbury’s overwhelming margin to 68 points by three-quarter time.
Collie’s plan to bolster its backline faltered, as Bunbury once again went on the attack. Goals to Davis and Matt Martin were quickly followed up by Peake’s 10th and 11th.
Teammates swamped Peake after he kicked his 12th for the game and 61st for the home-and-away season.
That goal moved Peake to the top of the South West Football League’s goal-scorers list, edging out South Bunbury forward Leigh Kohlmann – who had kicked five the day before – by a single goal.
The crowd then erupted as Bunbury captain and lockdown defender Codey Hay slotted a well-timed snap kick during his 250th game.
The goal consigned the Eagles to their biggest loss of the season, as they trailled 26.14 (170) to 8.9 (57) as the final siren sounded.
The Eagles finished the season with six wins and 12 losses – their lowest win tally since they picked up five wins in 2015, which was also the last time the team missed out on playing finals.
Malatesta finished the season as the Eagles’ leading goal kicker with 31 majors, while Houghton’s bag of five against Bunbury brought his tally to 29, although he missed six games with a broken hand.
Just seven Eagles – Malatesta, Corey Gulvin, Jason Roney, Jayce Fontana, Mat Michael, Teale DeAngelis and captain Teke Vernon – played all 18 games.
Bunbury: B. Peake 12, M. Davis 5, J. Gribble 2, M. Martin 2, C. Lamonaca 2, C. Hay, B. Blake, K. Bumann.
Collie Eagles: J. Houghton 5, B. Malatesta, S. Salmeri, A. Kent.
Bunbury: B. Peake, T. Justins, T. Gray, M. Davis, B. Blake, T. Wood.
Collie Eagles: J. Houghton, T. Vernon, A. Bignell, K. Michalak, P. Rinder, L. Reuben.