South bounce back
Monday, 28th May, 2012
Roos close the gap on ladder leaders
By Ben Sheffield
South have thrown the premiership race wide open, dominating North after quarter time and claiming a 47 point win at Alma Oval on Saturday.
The Roos kicked 13 of the 17 goals scored after quarter time, on the way to recording a 14.18 (102) to 8.7 (55) victory.
The damage could have been far worse, had South converted better, with a 32 scoring shot to 15 differential at full time.
Riley Schorn helped set up the win for South, kicking four goals, while Adam Philp chipped in with three goals of his own.
Also starring for the Roos were Simon O’Brien and Jordan Staker, who ran riot around the ground.
South began the match sluggishly, appearing to pick up where they left off from their disappointing loss against Central last week.
The Roos backline held up well, despite being under siege early, with Sheldon Hall in particular repelling a number of attacks.
By quarter time, South had fallen 17 points adrift and were lucky not to be further behind, after what appeared to be a close range Jackson McInnes goal was deemed a behind.
South awoke from their slumber in the second term, gaining control of the game, as they worked their way on top in the midfield.
The Roos’ midfield dominance was thanks largely to Wes Judd, whose shutdown job on Brett Johnson was extremely effective.
South closed to within three points of North early in the second term, but goals to Kelly and Billings against the flow of play gave North some breathing room.
Late in the quarter, Jackson McInnes was sent off under strange circumstances, for what was described as an open hand slap on Dylan Browne.
Initially, the umpire sent McInnes off under a yellow card, before retrospectively changing it to a red card.
There was a lot of confusion surrounding the incident, but the fact that McInnes was not reported leaves him free to play in this weekend’s combined game at AAMI Stadium.
South dominated much of the second term, but poor conversion cost them, with the Roos kicking 3.8 to 3.0 for the quarter and trailing by 9 points at the main break.
North virtually came to a standstill after half time, failing to score a goal in the third quarter, while South piled on four of their own.
The intensity of the match dropped noticeably, as the work rate of North’s players fell away.
Contest after contest, there were more Roos players around the ball and they won possession from stoppages with ease.
One of the few highlights for North in the third quarter, was the endeavour of Kayle Grossi, who continued to harass and pressure opponents relentlessly.
At the final change, North were only 14 points behind, but after such a disappointing third quarter, hopes of a comeback were slim.
South went into party mode in the final quarter, slamming through six goals to one and breaking the game open on the scoreboard.
In the fading light, South again wasted several regulation shots on goal, which saved North from a wipeout defeat.
Jayden Kelly was unquestionably North’s best player, with efforts from the Roos to tag him proving relatively ineffective.
Johnny Bugeja had a busy game as well, with his clean disposal a highlight in a match where the skill level lacked at times.
South had a couple of casualties from the win, with Ben Jones injuring a hamstring and Dylan Stuart getting a knock to the knee.
Stuart is expected to be available though for the Miner’s Cup match if selected.
Despite the loss being the second in a row for North, their coach, Karl Berryman, seemed relatively unconcerned that they were outrun in the second half.
“We’ve been running our games out, I don’t think we’re up to our full fitness and nor do I want to be.
There’s 10 or 11 games to go and we’ll be building up our fitness through the season,” he said.
Berryman believes that the two week break comes at a good time for the team.
“It gives us a chance to regroup, hopefully get some a few players back and get them together.
“We can have a bit of a team chat, see where we’re at and get a bit of honesty around the group,” Berryman said.
South coach, Robert Hickey, was pleased with the way his side finished the game.
“To be at the end of the game and still be able to run that hard and attack, it’s a credit to the guys,” he said.
The win, which pulls South to within a game of the ladder leaders North, meant a lot to Hickey.
“Today we stood up. We needed to,” he said.
Both sides now have a two week break, with the combined game this weekend and no games being played over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
South will play West at Alma Oval while North take on Central at Jubilee Oval, when hostilities resume on June 16th.