Central holds on
Friday, 31st May, 2019
By Tyler Hannigan
Central picked up their second victory of 2019 on Wednesday night, holding on for a thrilling eight-point win over North.
The first term won’t make anyone’s highlight reel as it was very scrappy from both sides. Picking the ball up cleanly proved to be an issue throughout the night in greasy conditions.
Eventually, North were able to take control with Jaxon Cain kicking their first goal six minutes into the game and they locked the ball in their forward half which led to repeat inside fifty entries but nothing else on the scoreboard save for a few minor scores.
The Bulldogs led by eight points at quarter-time but extended that shortly after the restart as some nice build-up and a nice finish from Luke Hall led to their second goal. North again enjoyed the majority of the play but failed to make it count.
Central’s first goal of the night finally came with five minutes left in the second term as a Cooper Oates shot broke like a Nathan Lyon off-spinner and bounced through.
That goal set the Magpies on a late quarter run as an Austyn Page goal reduced the defecit to just two points before Kade Fennell, who booted four goals last week, kicked his first to put Central four points up at halftime.
North held clear advantages going forward with 15 inside fifties to Central’s nine and they led the clearances easily 12-7 including 5-2 out of the centre. The tackle count was pretty even with North leading 18-17.
Despite that statistical dominance by North, they’d kicked just 2.5 for the half and that ineffectiveness would come back and bite them after halftime.
Central looked to have picked up from where they left off before the break as Fennell booted his second goal within the opening minute of the third term but it was now the Pies’ turn to waste their opportunities.
They dominated the play with 11 inside fifties but like North, failed to make it count where it matters most, on the scoreboard.
It took almost eight minutes for North’s first foray into attack but they did make it count as Tarrant Lihou kicked truly and reduced Central’s lead to six points at the final change.
Once again it was Fennell who got Central off to the perfect start in the final term with his third goal of the game that gave Central some breathing room but North refused to lie down.
Back to back goals from Dan Kennedy and Kody Ellis tied the scores with a little over five minutes to play but Central did well to lock play in their attacking half.
A rushed behind gave the Magpies the lead with 3:30 remaining but even from the kick-in North couldn’t break out of defence and Central just kept pressing as the clock wound down. Daniel Ryan capped off the win with a clever soccer goal in the dying seconds to give Central an eight-point win.
Austyn Page was fantastic for the Pies in a game that suited his in-and-under style to a tee and he was well supported by Sinele King who is incredibly hard to bring down in a tackle. Will Campbell enjoyed another great game in defence and Fennell was again strong up forward.
For North, Jakarda Cini played his best game of the season and looked full of confidence having made his senior debut last weekend. Kennedy was North’s other standout with his clean skills on full display when others struggled. Jaxon Cain, Blake Gebhardt and Tarrant Lihou also contributed well.
Central led the inside fifties 27-21 and dominated that count in the second half, 18-6. The clearances slightly favoured the Bulldogs (18-17) but Central had the better of them out of the centre (8-6). As you’d expect in a scrappy game like this tackle numbers were up with North leading 36-31.
CENTRAL: 0.1 3.3 4.7 6.10 (46) def
NORTH: 1.3 2.5 3.7 5.8 (38)
Central - K. Fennell 3, D. Ryan, A. Page, C. Oates.
North - J. Cain, L. Hall, T. Lihou, D. Kennedy, K. Ellis.
Central - A. Page, S. King, W. Campbell, C. Oates, D. Ryan, K. Fennell.
North - J. Cini, D. Kennedy, J. Cain, B. Gebhardt, T. Lihou, L. Hall.