2012 Round 24 Centrals vs North
WILL THE REAL DOGS STAND UP?
By Robert Laidlaw
For three quarters of Saturday's final SANFL minor round game against North Adelaide at Elizabeth, Central District played like paupers, but showed some fight in the last term, after the result was all but over.
If the way the Bulldogs played in the first three quarters is repeated in the finals, it will probably be a straight sets exit.
But if the momentum of the final stanza is built on, Central is still a chance of qualifying for its 13th consecutive grand final.
It's the uncertainty of what the Doggies bring that is the worry, as there is no doubt the ability is there, but in the second half of the season there have been too many below par performances to go into the finals with the same confidence as the past decade.
There are excuses, but that is not the Central way. Hopefully there will be none for the rest of the year.
North was a team fighting for its finals life, and played that way. The Bulldogs were unsettled with five changes, including long-term injured players, Alan Obst, Andrew Hayes and Thomas Dunne coming in.
Obst was made to work hard as the go-to-forward, often competing against two opponents, which was a real test for him, and he looked to have stood up and could be a valuable player in the finals. The other two will be better for the run.
The game itself was a low point in the club's season, as North dictated terms for the first three quarters, without hardly a whimper out of the Dogs.
A highlight was probably James Gowans snap for the goal of the game at the 18 minute mark of the second term – the team's first.
After three consecutive goals, North led 14-8 to 5-9 at the 10 minute mark of the final term, and then it was all Central, with six majors, the final four by Justin Hardy.
How the Bulldogs respond next Sunday, when it plays West Adelaide at Football Park in the qualifying final, is the next big question.
Hopefully a dedicated 21 men will wear the red, white and blue with pride, like the club traditionally has over the past 12 seasons.
North Adelaide 3.4 6.4 11.8 14.9 (93)
Central District 0.2 2.5 4.9 11.10 (76)
Best: Goodrem, Habel, Schiller, Collier, Hannath,
Goals: Hardy 4, C. Gowans 2, J. Gowans, Menzel, Obst, Goodrem, Schiller.