Bulldogs sing Saints’ praise after warring win over Suns
IN THE colours of the old Kingaroy Bulldogs, the South Burnett Saints stirred the memories of past glories for Heath Kassulke.
Kassulke watched from the sidelines at Lyle Vidler Oval as the Saints clashed with the Chinchilla Suns in a nail-biter.
Among other Bulldogs players who are now solid mates, Kassulke sipped on a stubby and reminisced about the years he used to play.
"I'd love to be a part of it again," he said.
"I'd put on the jersey for the B-grade.
"(But) I'm here to help from the sidelines today."
In respect of the club's history, the Saints donned Bulldog jerseys as part of Heritage Day, the third of its kind.
Kassulke felt honoured to be involved in the day.
"That's what it's all about," he said.
"We did the same when we were younger, encouraging the younger generations."
Kassulke used to play in the 1990s through to 2001 where the grand final marked his final game.
The game finished his career in the sport on a high.
"In 2001 we won the grand final after 16 years, so since 85 to 2001 we had gone without a flag," Kassulke said.
As much as Kassulke would have liked to stay in the sport, a knee injury prevented him from carrying on in the next season.
In the days he did play he said the club was a lot bigger, with two senior teams.
But he believes the Saints are not too far off having the same as popularity grows.
Another similarity Kassulke said crossed over to the past was the same dogged nature of the South Burnett teams.
"We never gave up until the final siren," he said.
Kassulke was impressed to see this grit and determination continue on with the current set of players, who beat the Suns 17.5.107-11.7.73.
Saints president and player Daniel Clacy said it was always going to be a close game as the Suns play with a similar ferocity.
"It wasn't an easy start. They (the Suns) came out firing but so did we," he said.
The Saints were able to build a slight lead with five majors over the Suns' three, only for the Suns to equalise in the second quarter.
With the Saints undefeated this season, Clacy said it was good to play a heated game in front of the old Bulldog players.
"We've had quite a few easy wins in the past, so it's always nice to play someone who goes hard from the start," he said.
Saints coach Steve Humbler said the conditions and atmosphere fired up his team.
"It was a good atmosphere. We really enjoyed playing out there and the conditions were just perfect," he said.
Humbler said the hard yards put in right from the pre-season put the Saints in good stead for the rest of the season.
But he said the Saints remained cautious despite not having lost a game.
"The win (on Sunday) cemented our spot on top of the table," Humbler said.
"So hopefully we can get a home final."
If the Saints were able to lock in a home ground final, it would follow on from last season.