Tempers flare as Robins surprise the Bulldogs
Monday, 21st May, 2012
The success-starved Robins caused the upset of the season on Saturday when they out-pressured, out-muscled and outplayed the previously unbeaten Bulldogs to record a 17-point victory.
The Robins set up the win in the opening term kicking 5.4 while keeping the Bulldogs scoreless. Their intensity around each contest was ferocious and the pressure they applied was just too much for the Bulldogs.
They were first to the ball and they had numbers around the ball in support and the one per centers just blew the Bulldogs away. North just couldn’t get their hands on the footy and when they did they had nowhere to go.
In fact, the Bulldogs had just one inside 50 entry for the game’s first 20 minutes - that’s how dominant the Robins were.
In the end North was that frustrated that the odd spot fire flared with both sides flexing their muscles.
The Robins played like a side undefeated and they wanted to stay that way.
The writing was on the wall early for North. The bounce of the ball wasn’t going their way and the Robins wanted to win and they showed a determination that will carry them forward for the remainder of the season.
North’s frustration showed throughout the afternoon, giving away nine 50 metre penalties with three resulting in goals.
The Robins hit the ground running in the opening term with three majors inside the first 10 minutes. With their confidence rising by the minute they continued to assert their authority and when McInerney increased the margin to 27 points patrons knew it was the Robins’ day.
Late in the term Kickett registered his third for the term and the Robins would take a very handy 34-point lead into the first break.
The second term began with North finally finding some rhythm. With three unanswered goals they reduced the margin to 18 points but they hadn’t really taken away the Robins’ ascendancy.
At this stage West lost Martin with a shoulder injury and he was taken away in an ambulance. They needed to steady and they did with Pettitt and Kickett both converting opportunities. It was enough to give the Robins a 30-point half time lead.
North received the perfect start to the second half when Wes Burton goaled inside two minutes but it did little to inspire the Bulldogs as the game was played from defence to defence with neither side able to gain clean possession.
Midway through the term the Robins were able to again break free for Milne to goal. The contest was still intense but the scoring had dried up with both sides making errors under pressure.
The Robins had to wait until time on in the third term for their next when McInnes kicked his first to give them a 39-point lead going into the last break.
The final term started with the Robins attacking early and they were finally rewarded when Kickett slotted through his fifth for the afternoon. It gave West an incredible 46-point lead which they fully deserved.
As much as the Bulldogs tried they just couldn’t break the Robins’ resolve. At this point the game was held up for 20-plus minutes when North lost Brendon Martin to injury. He was also taken away in an ambulance.
After the restart it was the Bulldogs who recovered the best and they attacked the northern goal. They managed to kick the next 4.5 and reduce the margin to 17 points but it was never going to be enough.
The Robins had claimed their second win for the season and breathed new life back into their campaign.
The next few weeks will tell us whether the Robins have turned the corner to become a real contender. The Bulldogs would think that hypothetically the first quarter was their downfall.