THREE POINTS TO PONDER
It was not only a loss but a very disappointing loss in round five of the SANFL at Richmond.
And it was a loss that could have been avoided, as Central District was held goal-less in the second half, going down by 24-points to West Adelaide in a battle to avoid bottom spot on the ladder.
The game was evenly fought through the first half, with the Bulldogs holding the advantage, as it wasn’t headed up to that point, and seemed to always have an answer for a Westies forward attack.
Then for the first 12 minutes of the third term, Central dominated and looked like it was capable of setting up the win, as it incessantly attacked, going into its forward 50m multiple times to create numerous shots on goal.
But, a return of six behinds would come back to haunt the Dogs, in spite of leading by the biggest margin of the match to that stage, 17 points, as West switched momentum with the next seven scoring shots, for a return of three goals and four points.
Just before lemons Central had a chance to go into the final break with the lead, but only managed another behind, to trail 8.9 to 9.7.
Both sides had four scoring shots in the final term, West booting four straight goals, the Bulldogs managing four ‘crooked’ points!
Central went down 8.13 to 13.7, as it blew its second game of the season after leading at half time and being goal-less in the second half.
So, the three things to ponder? That second half inaccuracy, how can that be avoided?
Contested marking – the Dogs have been outpointed in the air all season, why not bring the ball to ground more in those situations?
And using more of the running game will help. Several times Jackson Kelly used his pace to leave the opposition flat-footed – could a game plan developing this type of strategy be worth a roll of the dice?
The contrast of the first half and the second for Central District was amazing, as the first two quarters were entertaining to watch, with the Bulldogs playing with some style and panache, to keep ahead of a determined opponent.
Marcus Barreau ‘got off the leash’ to kick the game’s first two goals, then after West managed its first major, Justin Hosking steered through a goal from a tight angle in the forward pocket, followed by Cooper Dahms’ snap, for goal of the game, as Central went 4.0 to 1-2 ahead.
West then booted the next two majors before Hosking pulled one back, but the Bloods had the final shot of the quarter with a six pointer, as the Bulldogs led 5.0 to 4.2 at the first break.
After Central opened the second term with a couple of points, West leveled proceedings with a goal. The Dogs answered through Chris Olsson, then the Bloods again kicked truly, but Aiden Grace had the response.
Then, just before the long break, Hosking laid out a clever pass to Brendan Dew, whose accurate kick put Central 8.2 to 6.3 up at half time.
The horror story of the second half was in complete contrast to the entertaining prologue.
Returning from injury Travis Schiller was magnificent, especially from the bottom of packs, where he ferreted the ball out to teammates to be the Doggies’ best.
The usual suspects, Hoskin, Kyle Presbury and Jarrad Schiller all played top games, while Fraser Fort was a welcome addition to the backline after returning from injury, and Jonathon Marsh was a workhorse in ruck.
This week the Bulldogs host the inconsistent Norwood, in an important game to earn back some respect – another second half fadeout must be avoided, while also working hard from the start.
Goals: Barreau, Hoskin 2, Dahms, Olsson, Grace, Dew 1.
Best: T. Schiller, Hoskin, Presbury, J. Schiller, Fort, Marsh.
By Robert Laidlaw