Arch rivals turn it on
Monday, 6th May, 2013
North has claimed top spot on the ladder with a hard-fought 12-point win over the Roos on Saturday.
The contest was virtually a game of two halves and missed opportunities.
The Roos won the toss and ran to the Essential Energy end in the opening term but it was the Bulldogs who started the better with the now fab four doing most of the damage.
After 10 minutes, North had an 11-point lead with goals to Henderson and Kelly. The Roos had to wait to midway through the term for their opener when Henderson marked and goaled.
The Bulldogs, with better use of the footy, found their key forward in Perkins who kicked his first. The reply was quick from the Roos when Browne goaled and the margin was five points.
At this stage Perkins was looking very dangerous up forward and with two straight goals, he gave the scoreboard some respectability and his side a 20-point lead.
While Perkins was keeping the South defenders on their toes, Henderson was having the same effect on the Bulldog defenders, and with his second for the term, he reduced the margin to 13
points at the first change.
The Bulldogs opened the second term aggressively as they attacked the northern goal. Goals to Howard and Henderson and the margin was out to 28 points.
At this stage the Roos forward entries were rare as the Bulldogs continued to attack the goal face. As the term headed towards timeon, North added two more goals through Caldwell and Kelly to race to a 41-point lead.
The Roos finally got some reward when Henderson kicked his third to get his side within 34 points at the long break.
It really could have been worse for the Roos as North bombed some golden chances in front of goal, kicking 4.7 for the term.
North's midfield was in great touch with Howard, Johnson, Caldwell and Kelly causing the bulk of the damage, while Purcell and Henderson were having a crack for the Roos.
The Roos needed a lift and the apprentice wizard stood up and gave his side the perfect start when he kicked his fourth for the afternoon.
You could now see and sense the Roos had lifted their workrate and intensity and while Howard goaled for North to restore the lead to 34 points, it was the Roos who were getting first to the contest and playing with confidence.
The Bulldogs were now under pressure and their field kicking from defence was terrible. In a sevenminute burst Sam Lines found space and time inside forward 50 and his three goals on the trot had the Roos within 10 points.
It was now game on.
The Bulldogs were able to steady the ship somewhat with goals to Kelly and Henderson, but Lines wasn't finished - he managed to kick his fourth for the term to get his side within 17 points at the last break.
The Roos could have been in front at the last break but they were too wasteful in front of goal when it counted.
The Bulldogs had the advantage of the 17-point lead going into the last term and it was a lead they would have to fight for.
The Roos opened the term as expected and after two minutes Boland gave the South supporters something to cheer about as he reduced the margin to 11 points.
The game was now played at a frantic pace with both sides aware of the consequences of defeat, and the Roos were coming hard.
When Henderson marked and goaled, the lead was just six points with nine minutes off the clock.
It became a tight seesawing affair with both defences working overtime as the desperation rose with every passing minute.
Almost 17 minutes into the term and Perkins gave the Bulldogs a little cushion with his fourth to restore the lead to 12 points.
The Roos weren't going away and they forced their way forward to find Luke Lines and his goal made it a six-point ball game with only minutes to go.
As the term drew to a close Henderson put the game out of reach of the Roos with his fourth goal and it was enough to give the Bulldogs a 12-point win over their arch rivals and take a step closer to claiming the Egan/ Schuster trophy.
The Roos were forced to play most of the second half with only two on the bench which makes their effort even better, but in the end it was the Bulldogs who walked away with the premiership points and top spot.