It was in the hands of Justin Hoskin whether Club stalwarts and premiership players Trent Goodrem and Kyle Jenner were going to have a dream ending to their magnificent careers at Central District, and he delivered.
Playing against minor premier and hot flag favourite Woodville West Torrens at Elizabeth, in the final minor round game, Hoskin took a mark seconds before the final siren, with the Dogs two-points in arrears. He calmly went back and slotted the ‘goal of the game’ to steer Central to a famous victory.
In spite of the Eagles having three periods where they kicked at least three goals, to grab what appeared control of the game each time, the plucky Central District team continued to fight back, with that perseverance helping the Doggies over the line.
An early Eagles’ goal in the opening term was quickly answered by Hoskin’s first major of the game, after converting a good two-grab mark.
But then the minor premier took advantage of the wind assistance to boot the next three six-pointers, to lead by 16-points entering time on of the first quarter.
Hoskin then kicked his second goal, into time on, when he cleverly navigated a 45-degree angle from 35m out, which helped the Bulldogs close the gap to 10 points at the first break, 2.3 to 4.1.
An ugly punt goal to open the second term saw Hoskin boot his third, while five minutes later Jack Toner created something out of nothing with a wonderful snap, to put Central in front.
The Eagles then reversed the momentum to dominate play up to time on, with three goals, Hoskin nailing number four to finish the scoring of the first half, as the Bulldogs trailed by 10 points, 5.4 to 7.2.
It was a fired up Central after the long break, with an early run-in goal to Chris Olsson and an inside-out right foot snap from Jackson Kelly to put the Doggies ahead.
An upset looked possible as Central continued to attack, but a lack of conversion saw the lead out to just four points half way through the quarter.
Then the Eagles awoke from their slumber to nail the next four goals in quick succession, to build a 20-point break by lemons.
A surprise win looked on the cards early in the final stanza when Murray Stephenson took a solid mark on the outer side, 50m from goal, and played on and converted within 30 seconds of the last quarter starting.
But the Eagles soon answered to hold sway.
A purple patch between the 8-19 minute marks of the last term realised four goals to the Bulldogs – and the lead, which included Hoskin’s fifth, one from Darcy Pisani and a pair of Marcus Barreau specials.
The next few minutes was tense, with the game in the balance. The Eagles missed two shots before they nailed a major at the 22-minute mark, to re-take the lead.
In the home side’s final flurry forward, it looked like Barreau was possible going to end up with the final three Central goals of the season, but instead of blazing away he put the ball nicely for Hoskin, who marked 15m out. And after the final siren blew, he made certain of his sixth goal of the day.
Obviously for his match-winning effort, Hoskin took home BOG honours, but he had plenty of worthy team-mates, including Kyle Presbury, whose ferocious tackling was a feature, while Jackson Kelly and Jack Toner stood up strong in the heat of battle.
Jonathan Marsh played a courageous lone hand in ruck and Murray Stephenson, who also was playing his final match for the Club, was exceptional as a key marking forward.
After a 32-year association, Holden’s has retired as the major sponsor of the Central District Football Club. A parade of Holden cars did a lap of honour before the league game against the Eagles.
Best: Hoskin, Presbury, J. Kelly, T. Schiller, Toner, Stephenson, Boyd, Marsh.
Goals: Hoskin 6, Barreau 2, Toner, Olsson, J. Kelly, Stephenson, D. Pisani 1.
By Robert Laidlaw