By Robert Laidlaw
It was a hugely disappointing loss to North Adelaide by 28 points in Saturday’s SANFL home clash, with Central District now looking down the barrel at its second worst season in history.
A victory against the bottom-placed Roosters would have steered Central out of the danger zone of claiming its third ever wooden spoon, while the loss was the eighth on the trot for the beleaguered Dogs, the worst since 1991.
Another loss against Sturt this week would see Central create its fourth longest losing sequence – behind 1970 (10), 1966 (13) and 1964 (20 – with another loss to open 1965 making it 21).
With just two wins this year the Dogs need at least two further victories from the final six games to equal the club’s second worst total of four, which occurred three times in the 1960s – behind just the 1964 win-less inaugural campaign.
The game against North was in the balance right up to half way through the final quarter, with the Roosters booting four consecutive goals to put the result out of Central’s reach, although Justin Hoskin kicked the final major of the game to give him five for the day.
North opened the match with the first two goals, before a bit of magic put the Doggies on the board at the eight-minute mark.
Dylan Weaver took a grab at centre half forward and kicked towards the goalsquare, where first-gamer Damon Robinson cleverly palmed the ball down into Troy Menzel’s path, who gathered and snapped a left foot goal of the game.
But North booted the next three majors to seem in control, with another exciting passage of play setting up Central’s second goal of the match – Travis Schiller handballed to Hoskin, who passed to Kyle Jenner and ran through to receive the ball back, dummied, then nailed the major.
After another North goal, the Bulldogs got on a roll with the next three six-pointers, before the Roosters finished on top for the term with two late majors to lead 8.3 to 5.1 at the first break.
If any particular period of the game can be highlighted where Central struggled to take advantage of any ascendancy, it was the second quarter, with a return of 2.7 to 2.1 while favoured by the breeze, to trail by 14 points at half time.
Unfortunately, the three negative areas that have haunted the Bulldogs this season – skill errors, turnovers and inaccurate shooting for goal – were prominent in the first half and played a major part in the final result.
Yet one impressive aspect about Central this season has been the tenacity of the young players to respond, and respond they did in the third quarter, as the Dogs outscored North by nine points into the wind, to only trail by five points at lemons.
But after two wayward shots early in the final stanza, Central had to wait until late into time on for its only major of the period – after North had nailed five goals to put the result to bed.
Where would the Bulldogs have been this season without the fab four of Jarrod Schiller, Travis Schiller, Hoskin and Menzel, a quartet who regularly finish high in the best players, and again led the way against North.
Now if Central can respond and avoid adding to any history for the wrong reasons, a surprise win over Sturt at home this Saturday will give the players and supporters some heart in what has been announced as coach Roy Laird’s final season at the helm.
Best: Hoskin, T. Schiller, J. Schiller, Menzel, Jy. Neagle, Jenner, Burton.
Goals: Hoskin 5, Menzel 2, Jenner, Falkenberg, Dahms, Fort 1.
|Central District||5.1 (31)||7.8 (50)||10.11 (71)||11.13 (79)|
|North Adelaide||8.3 (51)||10.4 (64)||12.4 (76)||17.5 (107)|