COURAGEOUS DOGS FALL SHORT
Central District fought back against the odds before falling short in its SANFL round four clash at Elizabeth against Adelaide Crows reserves, eventually losing by 23-points.
Two men short and 26-points down at half time, it was a courageous Bulldogs side that fought back to actually have a chance to hit the front 10 minutes into the final quarter, before succumbing to Adelaide’s superior advantage in rotations.
It wasn’t a pretty opening, which in the end proved the major difference, as Adelaide scored five of the game’s first six goals, in the first 12 minutes of the first quarter – with AFL regular Billy Frampton nailing three early majors.
At the six-minute mark, Aiden Grace received a pass from Luke Habel, and took the grab in the forward pocket hard up against the boundary. His clever hook resulted in the goal of the day and punctuated Adelaide’s otherwise dominance of the early stages of the game.
In the period leading into time on of the first quarter, Central managed two goals, from Jackson Kelly and Grace, to cut the deficit to nine-points, but Adelaide went in to the break with a 6.0 to 3.3 advantage with the final major of the term.
After opening with a quick goal by Chris Olsson in the second quarter, the Doggies looked like they had righted the ship, but Frampton again exerted his presence on the game with the next two goals.
And after Thomas Graham pulled one back for Central 20 seconds before time on, Adelaide managed the next two goals – for 10 straight – before a couple of blotches on its copybook with two behinds, to lead 10.2 to 5.6 at the long break.
It looked bleak at half time, as the Doggies had lost two men and had to play catch-up footy to get back into the contest.
But with four consecutive goals, to a late Adelaide major, Central clawed back into the game, trailing by just nine points at lemons, 9.6 to 11.3.
Frampton had kicked Adelaide’s lone goal in the third term and also booted his seventh of the game in the first minute of the final quarter, to seemingly seal the deal for the Crows’ reserves.
Darcy Pisani booted a major at the four-minute mark to spark some hope for the Dogs, and then Grace kicked his fifth goal of the game a few minutes later to close the gap to just three points.
Grace had a long shot a few minutes later that would have put Central ahead for the first time but the shot faded, as did the Bulldogs fightback, as Adelaide utilised its ability to rotate players to run off the next seven scoring shot (4.3) to collect the points.
Late in the game Olsson booted the final goal to reduce the final margin to 23 points.
There was a lot to like about how the Bulldogs approached the game, especially after conceding five early goals, and playing short-handed.
Luke Habel was magnificent out of defense and set up numerous forward forays that resulted in goals. Justin Hoskin is back to his best form, while Jarrod Schiller celebrated his birthday with a top-class game.
Kyle Presbury continued his solid season form to date and may have earnt a State squad berth, while Dylan Weaver was industrious throughout the contest. As for Grace, a five-goal haul is always a welcome addition to the scoreline.
This week the Bulldogs travel to Richmond to play the red-hot West Adelaide, which accounted for Norwood on the weekend.
Goals: Grace 5, Olsson, Graham 2, J. Kelly, Grant, D. Pisani 1.
Best: Habel, Hoskin, Grace, J. Schiller, Presbury, Weaver.
By Robert Laidlaw