2012 Round 21 Centrals vs South Adelaide
ACCURATE DOGS GAIN RESPECT
By Robert Laidlaw
In one of the club's most accurate returns, Central District kicked an amazing 23 goals and just two behinds in beating South Adelaide at Noarlunga in Saturday's SANFL clash – by 49 points.
The Bulldogs started the game with a behind in the first minute, then half way through the third term after 11 straight goals, kicked a second point, before finishing with 12 more majors.
It brought memories back from 2003, when the Bulldogs booted 16 goals in the last quarter against North Adelaide without a miss for a total of 32-5.
Central's lowest tally for points is two, which has been done three times now – 9-2 against Sturt in 1966 in a 10 goals loss, and 15-2 against Norwood's 15-16 in 1988.
And only once have the Dogs kicked three points and at least 10 goals, with 13-3 against the Eagles in 1998.
Saturday's effort gained Central some respect, as it was continually put under pressure but managed to control proceedings whenever challenged.
The Bulldogs started the game with two early goals – a good scouting effort from Brayden O'Hara and Trent Goodrem's toe-poke in the goal square – but still trailed 2-1 to 3-2 at quarter time.
A seven goal second term put the Dogs in control, although South was fighting hard to stay in the contest – Justin Hardy marking strongly and booting three majors – for a 9-1 to 7-4 lead at half time.
With two goals in four minutes, Central threatened to break the game open at the start of the third quarter, but the Panthers kicked three of the next four majors to reduce the margin to seven points at the final break.
Then it seemed like a cakewalk, as the Dogs managed four majors in five minutes to start the final term, Williams kicking two in a minute, the second the goal of the game when the ball came out of the middle after his first, and he let loose with a huge punt from 60m.
But South then played its best footy of the game, scoring four goals in seven minutes to close the margin back to seven points at the 14 minute mark.
The contrast of emotions, of going from a certain victory to a possible defeat through the final half of the last quarter, was put to rest when a rampaging Central kicked the final seven goal of the game, including a beauty from first-gamer Josh Wilson.
Wilson, at 29-years-old, is the oldest 'pure' rookie to debut for the Bulldogs, beating Will James, who was two months shy of his 29th birthday in 2000 when he played his first league game.
Hardy booted seven goals for 52 this season, to lead the Ken Farmer ladder by nine majors, with three rounds remaining, although Central only has two more games.
Goodrem played his best game of the year, and has hit some good form at the right time of the season, while James Boyd and Brad Symes continued their outstanding 2012 form.
This week the Bulldogs host Sturt, before a bye, then another home game to finish the minor round, against North Adelaide, with a date against West in the qualifying final already set.
Central District 2.1 9.1 12.2 23.2 (140)
South Adelaide 3.2 7.4 10.7 14.7 (91)
Best: Goodrem, Hardy, Boyd, Symes, O'Hara, Williams, Prior, C. Gowans.
Goals: Hardy 7, C. Gowans 2, M. Westhoff 2, Sansbury 2, Habel 2, Williams 2, O'Hara, Goodrem, Menzel, Marschall, Boyd, Wilson.