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Bulldogs hard to beat

Saturday, 28th April, 2012

TOO SLICK: Brent Rose will be crucial in today’s midfield battle against North. TOO SLICK: Brent Rose will be crucial in today’s midfield battle against North.

By Balldock

North takes on West today at the Jubilee Oval with the Bulldogs looking to continue their unbeaten run.

Despite their unblemished record North were far from impressive last week, while the Robins are one and one from their opening two games and will be full of confidence after last week’s effort.

North have been forced to make seven changes which has really stretched the club’s depth. Out of today’s contest go McConnell, Beavan, Hack, Napier, Oldsen, Richards and Green. They have been replaced by Ruddock, Harwood, McCormack, Grossi, Martin, Zilliotto and Bugeja.

The Robins have made four changes for this clash with Ryan, McInnes, Grose and Pearce making way for McKunnie, Raven, Kickett and Zanette.

The Bulldogs will go into this game as the short-priced favorite only because of their undefeated status. With the ins and outs the Robins have closed the gap considerably which should give patrons an extremely close contest.

McInnes again finds himself at full forward and the key target, and he must take advantage of his height and be in front at all times.

The Robins will start Malthouse at full back but don’t be surprised if Zanette or Blore end up back there.

McCormack at half forward is the interesting move he must be prepared to run the width of the oval to create options for his side today. His opponent will be Smith who will have the height, so this is an important duel for both sides.

If the Robins can close down the supply coming through half forward that will be a huge bonus.

North will look to Henderson and Ruddock to get amongst the goals, and the Robins will look to Naden Harris and Zanette to be tight defensively while being prepared to run the ball into attack.

The contest in the middle really holds the key, with Nelson, Martin, Agius and Rose up against Raynor, Kelly, Howard and Johnson. Who would you select in your supercoach team?

The duel between Nelson and Raynor should be a beauty while the other six have to get as much of the footy as possible while still restricting their opponents influence over the game.

Rose is the midfielder for West who can hurt opponents with his pace and skill in using the ball, but Northís big three gives them a slight advantage.

The Robins need to win the forward battles and Teelow and Milne hold the key. Both are strong overhead and they must use their advantage over a shorter North back half.

With McInerney in pretty good form opportunities must be taken inside the forward 50, and North will rely on Dempster, Billings and Garrick to restrict the Robins and again the delivery from the middle of the ground will be so important.

The Robins will go into this contest full of confidence and a belief that they can topple the Bulldogs as they beat the reigning premier twice last year.

This is a game that is not out of reach for the Robins, but the Bulldogs will not want to drop a game and go back to the chasing pack.

Although it is only round three this is a important game for both clubs today, and I think North can extend their unbeaten run to 12 with a win today.

NORTH by 13 points

Jubilee Oval 2.30pm

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