Roos shake off feisty Robins
Monday, 27th May, 2013
In what turned out to be a tough tussle South have stamped their finals’ credentials with a 42-point win over West.
At the first break it looked bleak for the Robins as South led by 31 points and West appeared to be second rate and slow.
Fortunately for the red and black supporters their team matched the Roos goal for goal after quarter time with both sides kicking eight goals apiece for the remainder of the match.
The difference was that South had more run and spread from the centre and more options in attack.
On the back of recent injuries to two of his key players, Michael Wesley and Jordan Holmes, a positive has emerged for South coach Peter Johns.
He has been forced to move Luke Jones into the midfield and Mitchell Henderson into the ruck. Both have proven to be winners.
The ground play of Jones and the fast tracked development of Henderson have opened a window into the future for the Roos.
“Luke likes it in and under,” said Johns. “He has got more time in the middle since Mickey Wesley has been injured.
“As for Mitch, I am more than happy with him. At the start of the year I wanted to play him out of a forward pocket and off the bench but with the injuries I have been forced to move him into the ruck and he has taken to it like a duck to water.”
While Henderson lowered his colours to Matt Nelson in the centre square duels, his mobility and run was invaluable around the ground and he finished with three goals.
The youngster now has booted 11 goals in his last three matches and is quickly becoming an important cog in John’s side.
Even allowing for the West fight-back after quarter time, it was a game that South never looked like losing.
South were on top in the middle as Jordan Johns collected 31 touches and Todd Davidson, a ball of energy, racked up over 20 disposals.
The cameo was provided by veteran Billy Dolan who picked up 20 quality possessions and showed he is far from a spent force in local football.
The Roos were challenged at times as Nelson gave his West teammates a good look at the ball and Jono Naden starred and was close to best on ground before succumbing to a knock in the last quarter.
In fact, a number of West players answered the challenge from coach Dale Tonkin as he swung the team around seeking a spark.
The growth of Riley McInnes as a player is obvious as he seemed to be everywhere and has the dash to cut holes in the opposition. Shane Dalby is a real swing player in the old fashioned utility mode and Nick Agius was desperate in the back pocket.
The evergreen Chad Ryan, whether playing across half back or running through the centre, again stood up for his club.
After the long break Tonkin moved Kickett up the ground to get him into the game and swung Cynan Smith from Centre Half Forward to Centre Half Back; both worked and both players lifted in the second half.
The third quarter started well for West with Zanette and Martin kicking goals and cutting the margin to 25 points. Suddenly the Robins were in with a sniff.
The faint hope quickly evaporated as Davidson, Boland and Marcus O’Brien replied to ensure the match was back on safe ground.
In the final they again matched each other goal for goal but if South had kicked straighter the final margin may have been more than 42 points. The Roos booted 2-7 to West’s 2-1.
In the finish it was an entertaining clash with both coaches no doubt taking plenty from it.
I must give credit to the South backline. Cohen Caldwell and Jacob Peters had their best games for the year while Phil Neal set up many attacking moves with his football nous and handball.
Up the other end the ground it was another South veteran, Dustin Stephens, whose efforts would have delighted coach Johns.
The smooth-moving Stephens gave a polished performance booting two goals and being instrumental in several others.
With Dale Tonkin away this week, Paul Attard will take training and the coaching reins as the Robins look ahead to their next game against Central.
As Attard prepares for this week the West executive are preparing for 2014.
They met with coach Tonkin yesterday over coffee to start planning for next year.
After three years at the helm, Tonkin has made it clear he will not continue for another season so the hunt for a replacement has started.
Next week the match of the day will be at Alma Oval where North takes on the Roos and West play Central at Jubilee Oval.
Final Scores: South 13-17 (95) West 8-5 (53)
South - Luke Jones, Mitchell Henderson, Jordan Johns, Cohen Caldwell, Todd Davidson, Phil Neal, Dustin Stephens, Jacob Peters, Tyson Boland.
West - Chad Ryan, Matt Nelson, Jono Naden, Riley McInnes, Shane Dalby, Nick Agius, Cohen Pettitt.
South - Mitchell Henderson 3, Dustin Stephens 2, Marcus O’Brien 2, Jordan Johns, Michael Vlatko, Todd Davidson, Luke Lines, Ryan Davis, Tyson Boland.
West - Shane Dalby 3, Brett Martin, Darren Zanette, Liam King, Peter McKenzie, Rylie McInnes.
Reserve: West 12-11 (83) South 5-8 (38 )
Women’s: South 6-11 (47) West 0.0