MUST RIDE MOMENTUM
By Robert Laidlaw
With a stunning last quarter, Central District fell just three points short of completing a miraculous comeback against Norwood at Elizabeth in round two.
Trailing 12.8 to 5.9 at three-quarter time, the Bulldogs played champagne footy to boot seven goals to one in the final stanza, and with seconds left in the contest, Murray Stephenson’s long roost from 45m out faded for a point, to rob Central of glory.
It’s important that Bulldogs coach Roy Laird bottles the formula that saw Central come alive – to kick more goals in the final quarter than it did in the first three terms, and more than last week’s effort against South – and ride the momentum into not only this week’s clash with West, but through the rest of the season.
While Norwood kicked the game’s first goal in the opening 90 seconds, the next 15 minutes was dominated by the Dogs, with Stephenson’s two goals sandwiched around Dylan Weaver’s six-pointer, for a handy 12-point lead.
But in time-on the Redlegs wrestled the initiative with three majors, to grab the lead 4.2 to 3.4, before booting the only five goals of the second term to go into the long break 9.3 to 3.6 ahead.
A fired up Central came out with a new resolve after half time, with goals to Nick Gillard and Jarrod Schiller, to close the gap to just 21-points, 10 minutes into the second half, but Norwood steadied to push ahead by 41 points at lemons.
Then it happened.
Stephenson caught a Redleg defender holding the ball and opened the first minute of the last quarter with a goal from the resulting free kick. A few minutes later, David Haydon marked 45m out and handballed to Justin Hoskin, who converted the goal of the game off one step.
In the first and third terms, the Doggies had started well but fell away, so supporters were not convinced that Central could get back into this game, especially against Norwood.
But the increased work-rate of the Bulldogs was having an affect on the field, although only a goal to Kyle Presbury resulted from the next 10 minutes of play, as Central had its chances but could not put scoreboard pressure on.
Then a pair of goals in 90 seconds – through Kyle Jenner and Hoskin – half way through the term saw the Doggies trail by just nine points, with supporters ‘lifting the roof off the grandstand’ in getting behind the home side.
Norwood booted a relieving goal leading into time on, and set up a defensive structure to shut the Bulldogs out.
But Gillard booted a major at the 24-minute mark, then Jenner managed another, and there was just four points in the game with a few minutes left, which finished when Stephenson’s rushed shot on goal went the wrong side of the goalpost.
Arguably the most improved player this season has been Presbury, who is relishing his midfield role and proved a capable partner at the stoppages for Trav Schiller – who also played a solid game.
Jarrod Schiller, Trent Goodrem, Justin Hoskin and Luke Habel are veterans of the side, and led from the front, while Stephenson is proving a thorn in opposition’s backlines with his marking strength.
There are a number of players waiting in the wings after good games in the reserves, which augurs well in building depth going forward.
This Saturday the Bulldogs host West Adelaide in a game Central need to ride the last quarter momentum from the Norwood game into.
Best: Presbury, J. Schiller, Goodrem, Hoskin, T. Schiller, Habel.
Goals: Stephenson 3, Hoskin, Jenner, Gillard 2, Presbury, Habel. J.Schiller 1
|Central District||3-4 (22)||3-6 (24)||5-9 (39)||12-14 (86)|
|Norwood||4-2 (26)||9-3 (57)||12-8 (80)||13-11 (89)|