BULLDOGS BUILDING BRICK
With a solid outing against Port Adelaide at Elizabeth, in its round 10 SANFL clash, Central District played some of its best football of the season, although going down by 17 points – laying a good foundation for the second half of the season.
Until Port kicked the game’s final two majors in the time on period of the last quarter, the Bulldogs were in with a fighting chance to pinch the premiership points.
The early stages of the game were a struggle for Central, as Port booted the first two goals, and after Fraser Fort collected a free and converted nine minutes in, the Power reserves team managed another brace, to lead 4.0 to 1.1 going into time on of the first term.
Into time on Aiden Grace took a good contested mark and kicked truly, as the Dogs reduced the quarter time deficit to 10 points, trailing 2.2 to 4.0.
Early goals to each side to open the second term was the only return up to the 15-minute mark, with Port then managing three of the next four majors up to time on, to grab the biggest lead of the game, 21-points.
Then it happened, as Central lifted a cog to kick the next three majors and close the gap to four points.
First Billy Iles had a magnificent snap from 50m, followed by a goal-square scramble effort by debutant Isaiah Dudley, while Dudley’s handball set up Kyle Presbury for an electric goal of the game as the siren blew for half time.
Playing tough, committed football, the Bulldogs refused to give an inch in an absorbing goal-less third quarter, as Port increased its lead by two points, to lead 8.6 to 7.6 at lemons.
It took until the 10-minute mark of the final stanza for the first goal of the second half, which was kicked by Port, but Central answered quickly, through Oliver Shaw’s second major of the game.
Then a tense 10 minutes saw just a behind each, until Port kicked away with two majors in two minutes well into time on, to seal the deal.
The return of Justin Hoskin and Billy McCormack had a huge impact on the team, as Hoskin played a ripper out of defense and McCormack was that extra bigman the Dogs have been missing in his absence over the past month.
Rhett Montgomerie continued his good form of recent weeks, while Dylan Weaver and Billy Iles are developing into important and consistent contributors.
Dudley looks like another ‘missing piece’ needed to solve the ‘puzzle’ of converting close results into wins. His ‘pocket-rocket’ approach to the game had shades of Eddie Hocking about it.
It doesn’t get any easier this week, as Central travel down to Woodville for a clash against the reigning premiers, the Eagles.
Goals: Fort, Shaw 2, Grace, Iles, Dudley, Presbury 1.
Best: Hoskin, Presbury, Montgomerie, Weaver, Iles, J. Schiller.
By Robert Laidlaw