Monday, 20th May, 2013
In what turned out to be an entertaining clash at Memorial Oval the Roos stamped themselves as genuine finals contenders with a solid 33 point win over Central.
While South walked away with the win the time for soul searching has arrived for the Magpies.
After five rounds they have a solitary win in the bank and next week face top of the table North.
Whether they are around come September will depend largely on their ability to pick up a win in the next two weeks.
The biggest problem they face is their forward line; they lack big marking forwards capable of taking a pack mark and kicking a goal.
Their cause wasn’t helped on the weekend when key forward Alec Bray limped off with an ankle injury in the first quarter, which left the coaching staff with few options.
“Having a target up forward is something we have got to look for,” Central Assistant Coach, Anthony Elliott said post match.
“We will have to try a few blokes in different positions and hopefully one of them may stand out.”
As Central scour the surrounds of Memorial Oval for a tall marking forward perhaps they could ask South Coach Peter Johns for help.
After all, he has the best big man forward of centre in the competition.
The move of Dylan Browne from defence in 2012 to the forward lines in 2013 has been one of the real success stories of Johns’ coaching return.
On Saturday those who witnessed this game would surely agree as Browne in his dual role of ruck and key forward was easily the best player on the ground.
The South Coach needed no prompting about Browne’s game.
“He was fantastic, mate.”
The Roos were forced to use Browne and young star Mitchell Henderson in the ruck as first choice big men Holmes and Pettitt were out injured.
They not only got on top in the middle but when resting forward kicked 3 goals each. Henderson now has 8 goals from his last two games and has stamped himself as a player of the future.
By half time South did not look like losing but at various times Central showed they have plenty of ticker.
At quarter time it was the Magpies by 8 points thanks mainly to two super goals from Ben Camilleri. The downside was the injury to Bray and the sight of youngster Jack Roberts limping off.
The second quarter belonged to South as they took advantage of the slight 2-3 goal breeze blowing to the city end and booted 5 goals to Central’s solitary goal to hold a comfortable 20 point lead at the long break.
The injury curse also hit the Roos as a first quarter corky to Jordan Johns forced him from the field mid way through the second quarter. He tried to work it out at full forward but succumbed and headed for the bench.
When the teams emerged from the sheds to commence the third quarter it was a different look Central line up as their Coach Justin Heath reshuffled his side looking for that elusive spark to get them back in the match.
The moves included Brenton Zanette into the ruck, Sam Beven up forward, Zayden White to Centre Half Back and Heath and Camilleri in the middle.
These moves had some impact as the Magpies had their share of possession, but it was forward of centre where they again struggled.
Not so the Roos. When Browne marked strongly and goaled after some good lead up work by Tyson Boland, and Vlatko burst into the game with 2 stunning goals, it was almost game over.
At the last change it was South by 33 points and with the use of a faltering breeze it seemed a percentage booster was on the way for the red and whites.
When Browne stamped his best on ground credentials with his third goal early in the last quarter it seemed as if the footy gods had got it right, it was the Roos by 39 points and the faithful were in full cry.
It was then that Central showed they have plenty of heart.
With their inspirational coach Justin Heath throwing himself into everything the Pies lifted. Camilleri shrugged off the close attention of Luke Jones to set up a goal for Sowden and then kicked one himself and when Heath booted a major it was game on.
Even though Simon O’Brien kicked a steadier for South the black and whites were not going away as White and Balchin chimed in with goals to reduce the margin to 15 points.
All of a sudden it was anyone’s game and Central players such as Linden Cox, Jarred Paull and Lachlan Jenkin were up and about.
With the pressure on it was a series of centre clearances instigated by Browne that was to nail the Central coffin closed.
The athletic Luke Jones goaled and when Mitch Henderson burst in with 2 late ones of his own it was time to close the lid.
The final quarter saw 10 goals kicked with both teams sharing the honours.
One of the real highlights was the contest between Jones and Camilleri, the Central gun has had a great year and Jones was handed the job of spending an afternoon with him.
I gave points to Camilleri for quarters one and four and Jones for the other two. As a tag Jones did his job in quelling the regular output of Camilleri but the Magpie gun still managed to pick up some leather and finish with 3 goals.
Next week South host West at Alma Oval while Central travel to Jubilee Oval in a must win encounter against North.
Final Score: South 15.12 ( 102 ) defeated Central 10.9 (69)
South: Dylan Browne, Tyson Boland, Ryan Davis, Luke Jones, Mitchell Henderson, Arlen Bird, Casey Paull.
Central: Linden Cox, Justin Heath, Lachlan Jenkin, Bayden Quinn, Ben Camilleri, Jarred Paull, Brenton Zanette.
South: Dylan Browne 3, Mitchell Henderson 3, Michael Vlatko 2, Luke Jones 2, Simon O’Brien 1, Jordan Johns 1, Sam Lines 1, Dustin Stephens 1,Jordan Staker 1.
Central: Ben Camilleri 3, Justin Heath 2, Keta Balchin 1, Sam Beven 1, Alec Bray 1, Matt Sowden 1, Zayden White 1.
Reserve Grade: Central 11.8 (74) defeated South 9.2 (56)
Womens: Central 16-11 (107) defeated South 0.0