Westies two from two
Monday, 6th May, 2019
By Tyler Hannigan
West maintained their spot on top of the AFL Broken Hill League ladder after a convincing 39-point win over North on Saturday at the Jubilee Oval.
The win, West’s first against the Bulldogs since 2016, was built upon defensive pressure and structure that stifled North’s ball movement and held them to just two goals for the day.
Conditions on Saturday did play a role in the dour nature of the game with a strong breeze blowing to the scoreboard end of the ground although neither side really took advantage of it.
The Robins had first use of the breeze and while they got off to a fantastic start as Robert Bates snapped an early goal in his first League appearance for West since the 2016 season, they were forced to wait until the 20th minute for their second thanks to a Michael Westley bomb from outside fifty.
Both sides were poor when going inside their attacking fifties this quarter with West failing to lower their eyes and blazing away far too often while North entries were far too shallow and easily defended.
Trailing by 14 points at the first break was a good result for the Bulldogs who were now kicking with the wind to start the second term. Anthony Henderson slotted a nice goal to open North’s account but West took control from that point on.
The ball spent most of the second quarter in West’s forward half as their midfield dominated the stoppages and when North did gain possession, the Robins set up defensively very well to not allow the Dogs any space which meant they had to take risks and eventually led to turnovers.
North did manage a goal against the run of play as Henderson kicked his second of the term but it was a rare entry inside fifty for the team in blue and white.
Despite their perceived dominance, West didn’t make it count on the scoreboard where it matters most and kicked just four behinds for the term to lead by five points at halftime.
It was another hard-fought quarter to start the second half as West tried to take better advantage of the wind but again the North defence held up well, aided by some poor entries and inaccuracy by the Robins.
West young gun Brock Ellis kicked his side’s first goal for the term thanks to a shocking turnover by North in their defensive fifty and they would add another two later in the term.
Those goals included Westley’s second of the day following a fifty-metre penalty against Quinton Beavan after he made late contact with Westley in a marking contest at centre-half forward. A minor scuffle ensued with Beavan sent off with a yellow card.
Thomas Rowe added a goal after the three-quarter time siren to stretch West’s lead to 24 points at the final change but they needed to hold defensively against the breeze.
North had a couple of early chances in the final term that went begging and when Bailey Beattie kicked truly down the other end, the game was done.
The Robins added another couple of goals to Bates and Daniel Milne to cap off an impressive 39-point victory.
They won’t write soliloquies about this game but if you like defensive-minded football then you probably enjoyed this one.
Jayden White starred for the Robins, picking up a mountain of possessions and using it well throughout the day.
Rowe, Nathan Greenshields and Matt Nelson were the other main standouts for West.
North’s player-coach Codie Howard was his side’s best for the second week in a row and is playing terrific football as he approaches game 250 next week.
Beavan, Jayden Kelly and Mitch Reberger worked hard but failed to have their usual impact while junior Dan Kennedy impressed on debut.
The Bulldogs had no answer to West’s defensive structures and will need to rethink their approach in attack after scoring just two goals for the entire game.
They also lacked players that could break lines and will be hoping Tyler McInnes’ return is swift.
For West it was a proper four-quarter performance. They didn’t quite look as dangerous in attack without Cohen Turner in the side but their pressure and discipline was top class throughout the afternoon.
Their matchup against South next week shapes up to be an absolute cracker, something that hasn’t been said about a West-South game in close to a decade. North head to the Memorial Oval next Saturday to battle fellow winless team Central.
WEST: 2.2 2.6 5.9 8.10 (58)
NORTH: 0.0 2.1 2.3 2.7 (19)
West - M. Westley 2, R. Bates 2, D. Milne, T. Rowe, B. Ellis, B. Beattie
North - A. Henderson 2
West - J. White, T. Rowe, N. Greenshields, M. Nelson, T. Andrews, M. Westley
North - C. Howard, Q. Beavan, M. Reberger, M. Dempster, J. Kelly, M. Garrick