Playing the undefeated Glenelg at the Bay was always going to be a tough challenge for Central District, but the battling Bulldogs put on a brave face in round 17 of the SANFL.
The final margin of 54-points was significant. But it was only a six-goals-to-one second term that really but Central behind the eightball.
Yes, there were skill errors, and yes, the Bulldogs were out-muscled and out-worked by Glenelg. But a good foundation is being laid for coming seasons, with a perky resolve, which can be infectious when the chips are down and the Doggies keep battling.
Through the first half of the opening term it looked like the Tigers by how much, as they did all the attacking but blotted their copybook with some ordinary goalkicking, with just three majors from seven scoring shots.
Then a piece of magic gave hope to the Central faithful, as Ethan East kicked the goal of the game with an over his head snap.
Unfortunately Glenelg had the answer, before Harry Grant made it two straight for the Bulldogs, which saw Central trail by 17-points at the first break, 2.0 to 4.5.
A great goal from captain Jarrod Schiller, where he barged through to kick truly, was the only highlight in the second term for the visitors, as the Tigers banged on 6.1 to all but seal the result, with a 10.6 to 3.1 advantage at the long break.
With a magnificent set shot from close in on the boundary in the forward pocket by Aiden Grace, it gave the Bulldogs a good opening to the second half, but the home side added the next two goals to extend its lead further.
Then a clever pass to Grant from Kyle Presbury saw the youngster kick a long goal, which was a result of the fight Central was exerting.
But a pair of late majors to Glenelg opened the lead out to 59-points by lemons.
Through the final term the Doggies kicked its highest final quarter score of the season with 5.3, to actually outscore the premiership favourites, as they managed ‘just’ 4.4.
Justin Hoskin converted two free kicks for majors early in the final stanza, and after Luke Habel booted a nice running goal, Marcus Barreau kicked one after a good mark and another on a high-quality snap.
There were good signs in patches all over the field from the Bulldogs, with Jarrod Schiller, Presbury and Grant the standouts for consistency. Grace again worked hard up font. And the question is, how good would he have been this season with better delivery into the forward 50m arc?
This Saturday Central District host the Adelaide Crows reserves at Elizabeth.
Goals: Grant, Hoskin, Barreau 2, East, J. Schiller, Grace, Habel 1.
Best: J. Schiller, Presbury, Grant, Grace, Hoskin, Barreau.
By Robert Laidlaw