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Dogged victory

Monday, 10th September, 2012

North celebrate their thrilling come from behind premiership victory North celebrate their thrilling come from behind premiership victory

Bulldogs snatch win as South coach calls it quits

By Ben Sheffield and Balldock

North have claimed the 2012 premiership in a thriller at the Jubilee Oval on Saturday, snatching a three point victory, after trailing by 40 points
early in the third quarter.

In front of the biggest crowd to watch a local Grand Final in more than a decade, South received the perfect start when Jordan Staker goaled inside two minutes, with the lead extended minutes later when Drew Hardy converted to put them 12 points up.

The pace of the game was extreme, with South continually driving the ball inside the forward 50 and the extent of their dominance was evident, with 17 inside 50s to North's five in the opening term.

The second term opened with the same intensity as the first, with the tackling of both sides a feature.

South were playing the game on their terms, while North continually went inside the forward 50, with the Roos' back half of Browne, Paull and Bird keeping the Bulldogs at arms length.

Midway through the term, the game changed, with the Roos grabbing the upper hand when Ty Corey kicked two goals in quick succession to establish a 26 point lead.

North at this stage looked gone, as they had no answer to the Roos' running game and when Ben Jones goaled late in the term, establishing a 33 point lead, it looked to be game over for North. Alan Mackiewicz goaled inside the opening two minutes of the third term and the margin was out to 40 points, but then the game took a twist.

With Jayden Kelly leading the way, against all odds, North's slowly but surely clawed their way back.

Quinton Beaven scored to cut the margin to 34 points and when Kelly goaled from the pocket, the Bulldogs faithful became very vocal.

Rayner joined in, bringing the crowd to their feet with a beauty and North went in to the final break trailing by 20 points.

There were high expectations from both camps, but the Bulldogs opened the term in a hurry.

An early Bulldogs behind had the crowd buzzing, but seconds later it turned into a frenzy when Beaven goaled to reduce the margin to just 13 points.

Moments later, Anthony Henderson kicked his first and the margin was just seven points, with only three minutes having elapsed.

Seven minutes in and Jarrad Ruddock goaled from long range, culling the lead to a solitary point, before North again went long to the square, resulting in a Tom Billings mark and goal, which put North in front for the first time in the game.

South went forward from the restart and Justin Spratt received a free kick in the pocket.

From a tight angle, he turned the ball back for a great goal and the Roos stole the lead back, with a one point buffer.

North continued to attack and scored a behind to see scores locked up at 54 apiece.

South continued to work hard, but the Bulldogs had all the answers across half forward, with Billings, Beaven and Kelly taking telling marks.

North scratched around goals, registering several behinds, which kept the ball inside their forward half and gave South no clear exit towards their scoring area.

As the siren sounded, the Bulldogs had held on to pinch a Grand Final classic by 3 points, in what was undoubtedly the game of the season.

The AFL Medals for the best players were presented to North's Jayden Kelly and South's Dylan Browne.

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