2012 Round 18 - Centrals vs Glenelg
BULLDOGS NOW SAFE
By Robert Laidlaw
Coming off its worse performance of the season, Central District rebounded for a comfortable 34-point victory against Glenelg in Saturday's SANFL clash at the Bay.
The win has ensured the Bulldogs of the double chance, and all but secured second spot at the end of the minor round.
Amazingly, Central has not lost to the Tigers in the past 14 clashes between the sides, with 13 victories and a draw at the Bay in 2009.
Through the first quarter the Dogs looked so much better than the previous week, but could not seem to convert that advantage on the scoreboard.
Two goals to James Gowans, one a beauty from the boundary, saw Central cling to a slender one point lead late in the period, with quick goals to Luke Habel and Jack Hannath giving the Dogs some space.
But then after a simple miss in the final minute, Glenelg rebounded to kick a major on the siren, to reduce Central's advantage to just eight points, 5-5 to 4-3.
The second term seemed to be a period of wasted opportunities, with the Dogs booting 1-6 to 1-1 through regulation time, with two late goals, Justin Hardy steering one through from a tight angle and James Boyd snapping truly, for an 8-11 to 5-4 lead at the long break.
Last month Central beat Glenelg at the Bay with the key period the second term, where Hardy booted five goals.
In an identical important push, the Dogs won the game with a 6-4 to 1-4 third quarter this time, and Hardy kicked four majors, one the goal of the game when he soccered a loose ball from what originally appeared an impossible angle close to the behind line.
The only disappointment of the day was the final quarter, where Glenelg kicked 5-1 to Central's 1-4, but the game was already in the bag.
Besides Hardy's great seven-goal game, which has catapulted him to the top of the league's goalkickers list, Jackson O'Brien relished his return with his best game for the club, as he complimented his normal tough-as-nails approach with a high-possession contribution.
Overall there were many good players for the Bulldogs, including Brayden O'Hara on the wing and on-ballers Kyle Jenner, Luke Habel, James Gowans, Trent Goodrem, James Boyd and Ryan Williams.
And in ruck, Jack Hannath was solid and again showed glimpses of his potential around the ground – especially as a dangerous option resting forward.
This week Central has a bye, followed by a home game against third-placed West Adelaide, which will be a good test leading into the final.
Central District 5.5 8.11 14.15 15.19 (109)
Glenelg 4.3 5.4 6.8 11.9 (75)
Best: Hardy, O'Hara, O'Brien, Jenner, Habel, J. Gowans, Hannath Williams.
Goals: Hardy 7, J. Gowans 2, Habel 2, Hannath, Jenner, Boyd, Goodrem.
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