2012 Round 2 - Central vs Norwood
BULLDOGS LEFT IN THE DARK
By Robert Laidlaw
Central District started the 2012 SANFL season off on the wrong foot, going down to Norwood under lights at Elizabeth in round two by 20 points – only its second loss in a home night game.
With five first-gamers the Bulldogs entered the contest with only 11 players from their previous match, the 2011 grand final, but the 'new-look' team remained in the contest until late in the game.
In spite of trailing for the majority of the game, after kicking the first goal of the last term through Chris Gowans, Dogs' defender Yves Sibenaler could have reduced the margin to just seven points two minutes later, but missed a simple shot from straight in front.
That was the last score for Central, as the Redlegs defence took too many crucial marks tantalising close to the Dogs' goals over the remaining 15 minutes, and also nailed a major against the run of play.
Earlier Norwood peppered the goals in the game's first 10 minutes for a return of just four behinds, with Matt Claughton booting the match's first major with his first kick in league footy at the 16 minute mark of the first quarter, to give Central the lead.
The Redlegs responded with two quick goals, but a pair of six-pointers from Jacob Templeton, the first a 'goal of the game' snap, and another from Scott Dutschke on the quarter time siren, saw the Dogs lead 4-0 to 2-5 at the first break.
Central was lucky to be in front, as the visitors dominated the play through the first period but could not convert enough of their good play, with the Dogs time-on work proving the difference.
It was the second term where Norwood laid the blue-print of its victory, booting the only four goals of the period to go into the long break with a handy 6-8 to 4-2 lead.
With the first goal of the third term Norwood opened up a 24-point advantage – the biggest of the game, before a wonderful snap from Eddie Sansbury and a trademark Chris Gowans' major reduced the margin to 12 points.
But the Redlegs steadied to go into the final break with an 8-10 to 6-3 advantage, before Central's failed fightback attempt in the final stanza.
Jack Hannath won the ruck duels, while the likes of James Boyd, Brad Symes, Paul Thomas and Chris Gowans had plenty of the pill around the stoppages, but the failure of a functioning forward line sabotaged the Dogs' efforts to kick a winning score.
And while Central has a reputation for kicking time-on goals – with three after the 20 minute mark of the first term, which went for 28 minutes – the final three quarters all failed to reach the 25 minute mark, cutting out plenty of the Dogs 'money-time.'
The main reason for the 'chewing up' of time was in Norwood's ploy to hold the ball and play kick and catch out of defence, which frustrated Central supporters but proved beneficial in the Redlegs ability to steady at important junctures of the game.
A long injury list was added to with Andrew Hayes dislocating his shoulder in the second term. Hopefully some players will start returning soon to help the Bulldogs get back on track.
Last season the Bulldogs began the season poorly as well, with a 10-goal plus thrashing at the hands of West Adelaide at Richmond, which is where Central play its next game, this Thursday under lights against the Bloods.
Norwood 2.5 6.8 8.10 9.12 (66)
Central District 4.0 4.2 6.3 7.4 (46)
Best: Boyd, Symes, Thomas, C. Gowans, Sansbury, Hannath.
Goals: Templeton 2, C. Gowans 2, Claughton, Dutschke, Sansbury.