IT WASN’T PRETTY
There was so much not to like about Central District’s 32-point loss to Norwood at Elizabeth in the SANFL round six clash – it was ugly.
Besides the Bulldogs skill errors and continued contested marking woes – just three to Norwood’s 17 – the game was telecast at a later time slot, with the last quarter difficult to watch clearly because of the impending darkness, while the umpires left many Central supporters disillusioned.
It’s about adjusting. The Bulldogs defensive discipline in marking contests improved in the later stages of the game, and with more experience under pressure, it should see some of the obvious skills improve over time.
As for the umpiring, besides some unfathomable decisions against the home side, Central did not help itself with some undisciplined reactions to some frees – and there will not be too many TV games for the Dogs this season.
The wet weather also made the ground a little more difficult to play on, which did impact some of the skills, yet Norwood was able to adjust easier to the conditions, which at the end of the day was why the Redlegs won the game of footy.
An incredible return of five straight goals in the fist term set Norwood up, in spite of Central dominating in possessions and forward entries, as the Bulldogs only managed 2.5, to trail by 14 points at the first break.
It was frustrating to watch, as Central had numerous opportunities to score but persistence did not pay dividends for the home side, while the Redlegs seemed to score a goal each time they went forward.
When Ethan East slotted a goal early in the second term, it looked like the Doggies were starting to get untracked. But the period became frustrating, as Norwood scored a major on the cusp of time on, followed by two further late ones, to go 8.4 to 3.6 up at half time.
How deflating that was for the home side and their supporters, as in reality Central had outplayed the visitors all around the ground except where it counted, on the scoreboard, with the 28-point margin not reflecting the Bulldogs efforts.
As expected, the umpires received a roasting as they ran down the race for the long break, but that was only a small part of the story, as frustration from the players also was partly to blame.
When Tom Graham took a goalsquare mark and converted in the first minute of the second half, the Dogs again looked capable of getting back into the match, but two quick replies from Norwood took the air out of the balloon.
Then a piece of Central magic at the 11-minute mark could have been the spark that was needed to right the ship.
There was a pack forming near the Dogs’ goalsquare, before Kyle Presbury electrified the home crowd, as he gathered a loose ball in the middle of the pack and snapped the goal of the game, over his shoulder!
The next 10 minutes was goal-less, with neither side managing to break through until into time on, where both teams kicked a major, to see Central trail by 29-points at lemons, 6.7 to 11.6.
For the third consecutive quarter the Bulldogs opened the final term with the first goal, when Connor McLean booted a long major three minutes in.
Eight minutes later it looked like the home side would really be back in the game, and just 16-points in arrears. Aiden Grace ran away from his opponent and handballed to East, who ran 11 steps into an open goal and smashed the ball through.
But alas, one of the men in green decided East, in taking 11 steps, had travelled over the 15m limit, and called him for running too far, in spite of no Norwood opponent being within cooee!
This deflating moment was pounced on by Norwood, which scored the next two goals to wrap up the result – the second also after a questionable free.
It was a tough loss for sure, but it definitely isn’t because of a lack of endeavour. The players look committed to playing for the club, and with experience, there is no doubt success will come and the Doggies will start winning games.
Jarrod Schiller was solid and led by example all game, Darcy Pisani played arguable his best game for the Club and has been consistently good this season, while Travis Schiller and Justin Hoskin were important contributors.
A special mention for ruckman Jonathan Marsh, who has lifted his game to another level this year, with his competitiveness around the park and tackling at ground level standout attributes.
This week the Bulldogs have a bye with the state game, followed by a clash with Sturt at Unley on May 22.
Goals: Grace, T. Schiller, East, Graham, Presbury, D. Pisani, McLean 1.
Best: J. Schiller, D. Pisani, Hoskin, T. Schiller, Marsh, Presbury.
By Robert Laidlaw