Showcasing a blistering brand of fast run-on football, Mullewa smashed Towns by 102 points at their home ground on Saturday.
The massive loss was catastrophic for the Bulldogs, cutting their percentage to 161.1 — now only marginally in front of the Saints’ 155.4, with both sides deadlocked on 32 points.
Having three games in hand against the bottom two sides, Mullewa now shape as frontrunners to grab the vital double-chance in the finals — totally justifying the chants that broke out among their steadfast faithful as they ran rampant in the last term.
The Saints had winners all over the ground but none were better than David Little’s striking eight-goal performance out of full forward, Godfrey Curley’s run off half-back and Troy Taylor’s pace across half-forward.
For such an important game Towns were severely undermanned, losing seven players from last week’s winning combination, but diminutive Greg Cross stood tall with a gigantic effort out of the centre where his clearance work at stoppages was exceptional.
The Saints opened the game in superb touch but were reeled back by Towns midway through the term, with Cross and Jackson Hunt providing the midfield spark.
At quarter-time, Mullewa coach Revis Ryder urged his charges to lift their work-rate and re-create the run that gave them such potency in the opening minutes.
They responded in dynamic fashion with big Ryan Egan marking strongly in front of goal to boot four for the term as the Saints started to cut holes in the Towns’ defence.
Mullewa entered the long break holding a 30-point advantage, then busted the game wide open after half-time, outscoring their tiring opposition by 72 points.
Ryder was understandably pleased with the effort, especially their willingness to work together for team-oriented goals.
“The boys started off a bit slowly, but once they got into it and began looking for each other and backing each other up it panned out pretty well,” he said.
“When we run hard forward we get the rewards but then on occasions we get a bit lazy and don’t push back hard enough. Opposition sides then kick over our lines and catch us out on the rebound. But we spoke about that and after quarter-time the boys lifted their game and got right on top. I was very happy with that turnaround.”
Obviously very disappointed with the lack-lustre showing, Towns coach Ian Taylor remained stoic and said they would concentrate on bouncing back after next week’s break when they play Northampton.
“The first half was quite pleasing — we were focusing on the contested ball and our statistics showed we were fairly even,” he said.
“But in the second half we were run down by a lot stronger and bigger side.”