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Experienced Dogs slay tough Robins

Monday, 2nd September, 2019

North’s Ethan Slater attempts to get a handball out as West’s Nathan Greenshields and Heath Harris tackle. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson North’s Ethan Slater attempts to get a handball out as West’s Nathan Greenshields and Heath Harris tackle. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

The Bulldogs proved their worth in Saturday’s preliminary final with a 26-point win over the Robins to progress to the grand final. 

The game began full of energy and intensity and it stayed that way until the final siren sounded. West controlled the ball for the majority of the first quarter, with many forward 50 entries, but inaccuracy cost them an extensive early lead. 

The Robins had kicked seven behinds before the Turner brothers’ joint effort got them their first major in the 17th minute, when Rourke took a contested mark and kicked short to Cohen whose set shot went through for a goal.

North were quick to respond with goals to Shane Dalby and Ethan Slater kicking their first for the afternoon, but West led by four points at the end of the opening term. 

The Bulldogs were straight into the action in the second quarter, with Slater scoring his second goal within the first two minutes. A quarter of tough body contact and inaccuracy for both sides saw a lot of back and forth up the ground, before Codie Howard kicked a goal in the 12th minute which saw North lead by 11 points at the main break.

West were determined to remain in the game and halfway through the third quarter they stepped up to do just that, through a goal to Liam King after an unselfish handball from Daniel Milne atop the goal square.

The Robins accuracy in front of goal had improved with one to Ty Andrews, and King for his second.

But North responded rapidly, a fast run of play from the centre saw Anthony Henderson kick his first. The scores were 39 points apiece at the final break of the afternoon, the game essentially restarting in the fourth quarter.

North’s experience became evident in the last quarter, with their quick clearances and calm control of the ball.

Dalby kicked his second goal in the first minute, but West’s determination didn’t waver.

Halfway through the quarter Henderson slotted his second to further extend Norths lead. Slater kicked truly as the siren sounded to see the Bulldogs run out winners in a wholehearted encounter. 

West co-coach Chris Jones said the team’s efforts were commendable but they didn’t do enough to get over the line.

“We are very disappointed with the outcome, but North were just too good on the day,” he said.

“We played below our best and North stepped up to play good finals footy.”

North coach Codie Howard said they were expecting a tough contest from West and that’s what they got, but he couldn’t be prouder of his team’s efforts. 

“It was a tough contest which we knew West were going to bring, they’ve been huge this year and it’s a credit to Rudds (David Ruddock), Jonesy (Chris Jones) and all the players, new and old, that they’ve got out there,” said Howard.

“We knew it was going to be tough but very, very proud of our boys, holding their composure and what they could do today.”

Howard said their previous appearances in finals football helped them to win today.

“I think experience playing finals but also a few older heads that when the pressure is on, they rise to the top with their skill and decision-making, and they were able to set-up everyone else.”

The preparation for the grand final will consist of getting themselves ready both physically and mentally.

“Recovery is going to be a big one because it was a tough game, so that’s what this week will mainly be focusing on, just to keep our skills sharp and getting the bodies right for next week.”

Howard believes his team definitely has what it takes to beat South in next week’s grand final.

“We’ve had two different styles that we want to play, one against West and one against South, because they are two completely different sides, so we trust in the game style that we’ve got for next week.”

Howard is very much looking forward to next weekend; he said it is his favourite time of year.

In the under 13s competition South defeated West 93 to 18 and in the under 15s South defeated West by one point, 34 to 33. In the Women’s South defeated North 21 to 7 and in Reserves West defeated North, 76 to 37.

All winning teams from Saturday’s preliminary finals have earned their spot in the grand finals this coming Saturday at the Jubilee Oval. 

 

SCOREBOARD

NORTH  2.0  4.6  5.9  9.11 (65)  def  WEST  1.10  1.13  4.15  4.15 (39)

GOALS

North: S. Dalby 3, E. Slater 3, A. Henderson 2, C. Howard

West: L. King 2, C. Turner, T. Andrews

BEST

North: T. McInnes, J. Kelly, B. Johnson, E. Slater, S. Dalby, M. Garrick

West: M. Andruszkiewicz, T. Rowe, R. Turner, M. Westley, D. Milne

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