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Magpies battle losing streak

Saturday, 25th May, 2013

By Balldock

As we enter round six all eyes will be on the Magpies today.

After opening the season with a terrific win over the Robins, Central have crumbled with four straight losses and if they cannot respond quickly a third straight wooden spoon could be their reward.

Today they are up against League leaders North at Headquarters and there is no better way to get your season back on track than to beat the best, and their best football is as good as any side in town but they must start producing it week in week out.

The Bulldogs will be no easy task. They are playing some very good football at the moment, with their confidence very high and a belief in their game. If they can maintain this level and the Magpies can answer the call to respond we should be in for a interesting contest. If not, they will be blown away.

Again the Bulldogs will go into the game without Perkins in the square but they do regain Billings and Oldsen who will start inside the forward 50 for.

Billings has been red hot in the Reserves, kicking 12 in two games. They will join Henderson, Hack and Clare up forward which will give the Bulldogs plenty of scoring options.

Central will look to counter the Bulldogs with Zanette and Quinn in the key defensive roles while using the pace of Jenkin, Carapelloti and Gilby while Paull will again be the steadying influence down back. A big task for the Central back six and a lot will depend on their efforts.

The return of Schinckel this week gives the Magpies a tall aiming point up front. His influence is vital. Sowden’s move up forward has been a success as he has been amongst the goals in every game this season.

Throw in Camilleri, Morrison and White and the Magpies’ forward half looks formidable but it needs to click together and make the most of its opportunities to put the pressure on the Bulldogs.

North will go with Napier and Borlace in the key defensive posts and they will be looking to Garrick, Beaven and Zac Borlace to keep the Magpies to a small score.

When you are up against arguably the city’s best midfield you need your best and the loss of Heath and Bullen this week is a huge blow to the Magpies. You would expect a lot will be asked of Randell, Roberts and McClure, while Camilleri, Berg and Cox can all rotate throw the middle at different stages.

They will all need to win their fair share of the footy and use it very well because North’s fab four are all in form and they will again be out to dominate their opponents from the outset.

Johnson is fast approaching the 300-game milestone. His form is as good as ever and with Caldwell, Howard and Kelly you can imagine that North will win plenty of the ball from the stoppages and from the middle of the ground.

You can also expect the Bulldogs to move the ball quickly to give their forwards every chance to post majors.

The ruck duel will also be very interesting with Beven up against Rayner. Both ruckmen have a crack at each contest. Throw in Lawrence for Central and Brown for North and the big man duel shapes up to be a beauty.

If the Bulldogs are allowed to have another 40-plus scoring opportunities then the Magpies will be in trouble. Accuracy is the only issue for the Bulldogs at the moment and if they can straighten up then a big score is expected.

The Magpies just have to work harder at every contest and put pressure on their opponents. They have proved they can play very good football but they must turn things around, starting today, or their season will be over with two thirds of the season to go.

Since the Magpies won the 2010 premiership they have had one draw, nine wins and 31 losses. It is time for the players to take some responsibility and respond.

We’re all hoping for a quality contest but in the end I think the Bulldogs will be too strong. North by 17 points, Jubilee Oval 2.30pm.

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