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Dogs lacking bite

Saturday, 19th May, 2012

BIG GAME: Matt Garrick will need to step up in the absence of Codie Howard and Jayden Kelly. BIG GAME: Matt Garrick will need to step up in the absence of Codie Howard and Jayden Kelly.

West must capitalise

By Balldock

The undefeated Bulldogs will host the Robins today at League Headquarters in a contest that promises to be enthralling. 

North go into this game fresh from their best performance of the year and their confidence at a season high. The Robins have played well in patches and without much luck. They will be desperate to play a consistent four quarters to give themselves a chance of an upset.

Things have been made a little easier for the Robins with the omission of Kelly and Howard from the North side. You would have to think that it will give the Robins a real opportunity in the middle of the ground and at the stoppages.

North will start Burton, Garrick and Johnson in the square while the Robins will start with Milne, Agius and Blore. The move of Blore in to the middle is a great one because he has the ability to inspire his teammates and it all adds to the theatre that should unfold today. 

The Robins have regained Zanette this week and his experience across half back will be a huge bonus. Christos was very good last week and along with Teelow, Naden and Conway the West back line looks pretty good.

The Bulldogs also welcome back Dempster to their back half. He should again play important role.

For me it is the North forward half that holds the key. McInnes in the square is due for a big game and it could be today that he turns it on. Clare has done nothing wrong since his return and you know what you can expect from Henderson and Billings up forward. All provide scoring options and are capable of multiple goals.

The Robins’ forward six also looks impressive with Smith showing some good signs last week across half forward. If he can get his hands on the footy the Robins will be well on their way.

A lot will depend on Martin, Kickett and Dalby who must perform for the full four quarters and when things get tough, work even harder.

The Robins last upset the Bulldogs in round 10 last year and without Kelly and Howard it is a real opportunity for them to again cause an upset.

North have covered the losses pretty well but they are far from full strength and I reckon the Robins can sense a win. It will be a real test for both sides today and a contest that should not be missed.

In the end I think the Bulldogs have what it takes to make it 15 on the trot and keep their unbeaten run intact.

NORTH by 17 points
Jubilee Oval 2.30pm
Head to Head: North 1, West 0
Last start: North 15.16 (106) West 9.7 (61) 
Last three weeks: North WWW, West LLL
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