2012 Round 20 Centrals vs West Adelaide
OUT OF CHARACTER DOGS
By Robert Laidlaw
On Saturdays' performance against West Adelaide, Central District will not by a factor in this season's finals, if that's the type of game it continues with.
Over the past decade or so, the Bulldogs have been full of surprises for supporters – pleasant surprises. But not against West at Elizabeth on Saturday, in a 31-point loss – the first at the ground to the Bloods since 1999.
The first quarter was error-riddled, as both sides played sub-standard footy, Central paying the price with some wayward kicking to trail 1-5 to 4-1.
In what was an otherwise dour period, West won the game with two short bursts in the second term, which realised six match-winning goals.
Central managed the first major of the quarter, before the Bloods kicked three goals in four minutes from the 11 minute mark.
Then after another Bulldog goal, West managed another trifecta of majors in four minutes through the time-on period.
Trailing 3-6 to 10-5 at half time, it would take a miracle for Central to get back into the game, especially based on what it offered up to that point.
The Dogs struggled as a cohesive defensive unit, had no real forward structure, and was smashed at the stoppages.
James Boyd and Luke Habel were collecting plenty of 50-50 touches, Brayden O'Hara picked up possessions in a sweeping role, and Justin Hardy had two goals. That was about it.
Central matched the Bloods through the first 20 minutes of the third term, with two majors each, then into time-on Hardy kicked the goal of the game, which was a clever left foot dribbler near the boundary, which dissected the big sticks.
Although the margin had been reduced to 33-points at lemons, the Dogs needed at least a couple more majors in the period if it was going to come home with a wet sail, so there was only pride left to play for.
West made the result a certainty with the first goal of the final stanza, then after Hardy booted his fifth major of the game, the Bloods peppered the goals for a return of 2-4 to lead by 49-points half way through the period.
Although the result was in the bag, Central actually showed some spirit to boot the game's final three majors, one each to the twins, James and Chris Gowans, and the final by captain Paul Thomas.
There wasn't a lot to take out of the game, but Thomas' second half effort was getting back to his best, which is a good sign, while a handful of injury returnees made their mark in the reserves solid victory.
This week the Bulldogs travel to Noarlunga to face South Adelaide, and have a chance to start the ball rolling towards finals with a win – or risk creating further questions with another sub-standard performance.
West Adelaide 4.1 10.5 12.6 15.11 (101)
Central District 1.5 3.6 6.9 10.10 (70)
Best: Boyd, Hardy, Habel, O'Hara, Thomas.
Goals: Hardy 5, J. Westhoff, O'Hara, C. Gowans, J. Gowans, Thomas.
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