POSITIVE SECOND HALF
After a disappointing first half, Central District saved face with an excellent second half at Prospect Oval, in its SANFL round 14 clash with North Adelaide. But still succumbed by 48 points.
It wasn’t that the Bulldogs were underperforming with their attack, as they managed five first half goals – about average this season – but to concede nine first quarter majors and 15 in the first half was well below par.
The Roosters were on fire though, as their big-body players dominated, especially out of the middle through the first half, while it seemed they could not miss any shots on goal, with a return of 15.1 – to Central’s 5.2.
Aiden Grace with three goals and Marcus Barreau with two kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Dogs, but it wasn’t enough to keep Central in the game.
Many Central supporters ‘retired’ to the bar with some actually leaving the ground in disgust, but those who did not return to watch the second half, they missed an opportunity to see what this young Bulldog group is made of.
The turn around in how Central applied themselves with a committed effort made the day worth it, as the team stopped becoming only accountable to themselves and started to work together, with pleasing results.
Some may say that North just put the cue in the rack, but the Roosters would have many memories of some famous Bulldog fightbacks in the past, and are still trying to earn a finals spot.
It started with Nick Gillard, who partly redeemed himself for a shocking missed opportunity straight in front of goals earlier in the game, when he slotted a tight shot from the boundary in the first three minutes of the third term.
Then, after a great mark – one of many – by Connor McLean and conversion five-minutes later, the Dogs were barking.
North then managed to wrest the momentum but failed to kick a goal, with a time on effort by Travis Schiller resulting in the goal of the game, after he gathered the ball on the wing, sprinted down the outer side, and, after three bounces, finished off superbly.
Holding the Rosters goal-less through the third quarter was a small win for the desperate Bulldogs, while managing three majors, as the margin was reduced to 42-points at lemons, with the projected annihilation avoided – as long as the commitment continued through the final stanza.
But a fired up North came bounding out after the break with three goals in just over four minutes, signaling another huge onslaught, but a composed Central side managed to get back on track.
Consecutive goals to McLean – the second after another spectacular mark – arrested the slide, and after another Rooster major, Harry Grant had the answer.
Two North majors, either side of entering time-on, seemed to again promise to blow the margin out – the Roosters booted five time-on goals in the first term – but Grace kicked his fourth goal of the game, and Kyle Presbury got involved and also booted the game’s final six-pointer.
Central’s score of 13.5 was one of its highest scores of the season – only once kicking more goals – its second half return of eight majors its best.
And although the Roosters 21.5 is the highest score against Central this season, North’s half time total of 15.1 has only been bettered twice over four quarters by any other side against the Dogs this year.
Travis Schiller was Central’s standout player, with his polished skills a highlight. Justin Hoskin, Grant and Jarrod Schiller were solid contributors, while Grace and McLean gave the Dogs a couple of effective targets up front.
This Saturday Central District host Sturt at the Ponderosa, in an important match-up to gauge how the Bulldogs respond to its first half capitulation to North Adelaide.
Goals: Grace 4, McLean 3, Barreau 2, Gillard, T. Schiller, Grant, Presbury 1.
Best: T. Schiller, Grace, Hoskin, Grant, J. Schiller, McLean.
By Robert Laidlaw