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Premiers reign

Monday, 15th April, 2013

South’s Todd Davidson takes on Anthony Henderson South’s Todd Davidson takes on Anthony Henderson

By Smashy Nashy

North's Anthony "Whiz" Henderson turned on a Master Class exhibition at the Jube on Saturday with a five goal second half performance that saw the Bulldogs home by 28 points against South.

The reigning premiers were tested by the Roos before eventually winning 11.8 (74) to 6.10 (46).

The Grand Final replay was a dour affair to half time with North leading 2.4 (16) to South 2.3 (15). Sixty minutes of footy for four goals was the result of some great pressure footy, but also some terrible butchering of the Sherrin.

To half time Jarrod Ruddock was BOG, whilst Matt Dempster was the rock in defence. Midfielders Brett Johnson and Jayden Kelly were solid and Quinton Beavan was everywhere. Henderson also won plenty of the ball, but mainly playing a midfield role.

North also quickly discovered Ben Perkins is the "real deal" at full forward with two first half goals, from limited chances as the ball seesawed between half back lines.

For the Roos Jordan Staker across half back, Dylan Browne at CHF and Jordan Johns in the middle were flying the Roo flag the highest. The scratching of Heath Caldwell was hurting big time.

The second half brought the cream to the top and third quarter goals (and celebrations) to Henderson at the 9, 16 and 27 minute mark, plus setting one up for Perkins in the fifth minute had the lead out to 12 points heading into the last. The third quarter produced a better brand of footy with several memorable goals: a long range bomb from Michael Westley, a freakish snap from Tyson Boland after a South passage of ball movement off
half back from Marcus O'Brien, Westley and Browne. Browne's 45 metre set shot also split the centre.

North's back six took control in the third quarter led by Matt Garrick, Dempster and Jake Napier, whilst Kelly was providing great drive resting off half back. For the Roos, Phil Neal looked at home deep in defence, his reading of the play excellent, and disposal even better.

Alongside him Casey Paul was solid and Arlen Bird was going OK in the air with Perkins, but struggling on the lead.

The final quarter was there for the taking for the Roos if the predicted fitness advantage was factual. It wasn't and the Bulldogs banged on four goals
to one with the "Whiz" nailing goals after two and eight minutes to quieten the South grandstand.

Beavan was on the end of a 55 metre pass from Perkins to goal from 40 and BJ fittingly dobbed the sealer.

The Bulldogs' ball use after half time was far superior and with Codie Howard BOG in the Reserves Friday night (he was working Saturday) Coach Mark Pitt would have been a happy man Saturday night. Perkins is a 50 plus goal forward, as is the Whiz, and around the footy North still have plenty of class with Kelly, Ruddock, BJ, Beavan and Blake Clare, whilst Brad Mannion was a tad rusty earlier after the best part of two years out of the game, but ultimately is a rep player.

For the Roos, on reflection 12 changes in the off season was way too many and Coach Peter Johns will have a soul searching week pondering where the goals are going to come from in 2013.

A return of just 6.10 is never going to be enough to win or please the loyal fans who crave for highlights. They were collectively honest but lacked direction ahead of centre. A rare South Reserves defeat also suggests the depth of past years may also be lacking. Mitchell Henderson showed glimpses of promise for a 16 year old, whilst I rate Luke Lines very highly for his tenacious attack on the footy!

What we learnt from Round 1: 2013 season is going to be a rollercoaster year with both Central and West playing brilliant running footy, and both having a big strong ruckman. Mine rosters, injuries and attitude will be key factors, and at the moment, September action beckons for all four Clubs, as does the wooden spoon!

TOP 3 *** A Henderson ** J Johns * Q. Beavan

North: Goalkickers: Henderson 5, Perkins 3, Beavan 2, Johnston 1 Best Players: Henderson, Beavan, Ruddock, Kelly, Garrick, Dempster, Napier

South: Goalkickers: Boland 2, Westley, D Stephens, Browne, J Johns Best Players: Johns, Westley, Neal, Browne, Staker, Davidson, Paul

Final Scores: North 11.8 (74) defeated South 6.10 (46)

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