DOGS TOUGH OUT ANOTHER WIN
By Robert Laidlaw
With just one fit man on the bench and facing a 16-point deficit at three quarter time, Central District showed plenty of courage to storm home in the final term to beat West Adelaide by 15 points in its SANFL clash at Richmond.
There is an added ingredient to the make up of how the Bulldogs have played in recent weeks compared to the rest of the season, as they are playing with some confidence and backing themselves in.
Throughout the game there was an expectation, built on the past fortnight of results, that it was just a matter of time before Central would burst the West bubble, and it happened, with the only five goals of the last quarter.
At lemons West led by that 16 points after kicking 4.1 to 1.3 in the third term, as the Bulldogs seemed to have frittered away any chance of winning, with a return of 6.10 to the home side’s 10.2.
But in that exciting final stanza it took less than 30 seconds for Troy Menzel to reduce the margin to 10 points with his quick goal.
Then at the four-minute mark a magnificent goal of the game snap by Justin Hoskin had all the momentum going Central’s way.
There was a sense of anticipation of when rather than if the Doggies would hit the front, with best on ground – and Central’s favourite for the best and fairest – Jarrod Schiller doing the dead with his major eight minutes in.
With West having battled hard all day – and staying in the game with super accurate kicking, with both behinds posters – there was no way the game was safe, yet.
For nine minutes neither side scored but Central was in front and time was starting to tick down.
Then a sensational long goal from Menzel’s left boot on the wrong side near the boundary – and his fourth of the game – gave the Doggies a little breathing space on the cusp of time on.
Sometimes it’s not the goalkicker who gets the accolades when a game is finally put to bed, as was the case when Nick Gillard drilled the sealer at the 21-minute mark, thanks to a sensational smother by Cooper Dahms 50m out, which forced the ball forward.
A run of five consecutive goals was halted late when a rushed behind scored the only point of the final term, to give Central a 11.11 to 10.2 victory, West unable to add to its three-quarter time score.
The first half was a ding dong affair, as the Doggies and West traded the lead six times, with Jarrod Schiller’s snap in the first quarter a highlight, as the Dogs trailed 3.4 to 4.0 at the first break.
In the second term Central kicked two goals – the first to Kyle Jenner after a clever kick on by Jonathon Marsh and the second a ‘special’ snap from Kyle Presbury – to lead by 12 points before West fought back to tie up scores by half time, 6.1 to 5.7.
But the second-rate third term was more than made up for by the courageous last term acts by a young Bulldog team that is playing with belief.
Trent Goodrem continued his good recent form and also showed plenty of leadership at crucial junctures of the game, while first-gamer Rhett Montgomerie had a solid debut in the backlines and looks a likely regular next season.
The Schiller brothers, Jarrod and Trent again were livewire ball-getters, and Menzel has been an important forward target – who could do with another tall offsider in the future.
This season Central has been hit with an unbelievably long list of injuries, with Presbury and Marcus Barreau looking doubtful for next week.
On the positive side, the Bulldogs have blooded 15 first gamers for the club this year, which is building some depth.
This Saturday Central host South Adelaide and can continue its winning run, while also making sure wooden spoon talk doesn’t enter any more conversations about the Bulldogs.
Another good reason to beat the Panthers is to help avoid the second worst home record in the club’s history.
In 1964 Central did not win a game – anywhere. No other season has seen less than two home victories, with the Dogs only having one win on home soil so far in 2019.
Best: J. Schiller, Menzel, Goodrem, T. Schiller, Jenner, Habel, Montgomerie.
Goals: Menzel 4, J. Schiller 2, Jenner, Presbury, Fort, Hoskin, Gillard 1.
|Central District||3.4 (22)||5.7 (37)||6.10 (40)||11.11 (77)|
|West Adelaide||4.0 (24)||6.1 (37)||10.2 (62)||10.2 (62)|