After a season on the sidelines, Patrick Walker is making his mark at Wollongong Bulldogs.
Walker suffered a string of injury problems last year, but has emerged as an unlikely key forward target, having booted 18 goals in the opening three games, seven in the Dogs 14.17 (101) to 4.7 (31) victory over Northern Districts at Hollymount Park on Saturday.
Coach Lee Murray admitted he's never been sure of Walker's best position, having played everything from halfback flank to time in the ruck during his footy education.
But with a new-look Bulldogs unit finding their form this year, Walker has emerged as a key forward weapon in combination with Ethan Kimball.
"He just had a really bad run last year, so it's great to have him back," Murray said.
"He's just one of those players, who can handle a lot of different positions and it's just worked out well with him up forward.
"While he's not overly tall, he's got great mobility on the lead and a good pair of hands. Kicking them straight helps too."
The Bulldogs are now third on the ladder at 2-1, with Wollongong Lions unbeaten after four games and Figtree second at 3-1.
Daniel Perger kicked five and Nick Hay four in Figtree's 17.7 (109) to 9.5 (59) victory over Bomaderry on Saturday.
And in a further sign the top four could have an edge on the other three teams in the league again this year, the Lions thumped Shellharbour 25.14 (164) to 4.2 (26) at Myimbarr Oval.
Meanwhile, Wollongong Lions and Bomaderry ensured the three-way battle with Kiama at the top of the AFL South Coast Women's premier division continued with victories on Saturday.
Premiers the Tigers held the Wollongong Saints scoreless at Artie Smith Oval, with Katie Sargent booting five goals in a best-on-ground performance, as last year's Maddy Collier Medallist Sophie Phillips kicked four.
The Lions moved to 3-0 for the season after outclassing Shellharbour, who are playing in their first season in competition, having not been part of the inaugural season last year.
The Lions ran out 3.10 (28) to 0.2 (2) winners, Jacqueline Wilson kicked two goals and Samantha Walker one, with Jordan Van Der Voorde rated their best.
The Wollongong Bulldogs produced a dominant second half against Northern Districts, prevailing 5.16 (46) to 1.2 (8).
The Dogs led by seven at half-time, but kicked 4.8 to just one point to cruise to the win.
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