2012 Round 17 - Centrals vs Port Adelaide
WILL THE REAL BULLDOGS STAND UP
By Robert Laidlaw
Central District lost to Port Adelaide in the SANFL for the first time in six seasons on Saturday, at Alberton, going down by 59-points in one of the Bulldogs' worst displays in the 21st century.
Since its last loss to the Magpies, Central has played in six grand finals and won four premierships, but, after Saturday, Port look more likely to play off for the flag this year.
For this late in the season, it was a performance the Bulldogs will need to recover from quickly, or else the 'dynasty' is over.
There is no excuse for the performance, Central need to take a long hard look now, and respond immediately.
The Dogs record steak of 14 straight victories over Port Adelaide has now been set, as well as their six consecutive victories at Alberton.
It's a pity the Magpies record of 15 straight wins against the men from Elizabeth (1964-71) wasn't equalled.
After kicking the first three goals of the game, Port went from strength to strength, leading by 21 points at quarter time, 31 at the half and 40 at lemons.
Josh Waldhuter supplied one of the highlights for Central, when early in the second quarter he nailed a running shot from well outside the 50m arc for the goal of the day.
Not one Dogs player picked up at least 20 possession for the game, with Justin Hardy probably best, as he looked the side's only real forward threat, with some good marks and three goals, as well as doing some handy ruck-work.
Losing Trent Goodrem with soreness from training and Brad Symes to the Crows cost the side some bite around the packs, but it opened the door for others to put their hand up and earn a spot leading into the finals. Nobody stepped forward.
Some positives included Luke Barmby making his return from injury through the reserves and Brayden O'Hara's coming back into the league squad.
This Saturday Central travel to Glenelg, with a victory all but guaranteeing the double chance, while a loss will leave it vulnerable to the Tigers to grab the coveted spot.
Port Adelaide 5.4 9.5 12.10 16.14 (110)
Central District 2.1 4.4 6.6 7.9 (51)
Best: Hardy, Habel, Dutschke, O'Hara.
Goals: Hardy 3, Habel, Waldhuter, Boyd, Schiller.