Bulldogs to fire up for past players
Saturday, 3rd August, 2013
By By Balldock
North host Central today at League Headquarters in what is a special day for the Bulldogs and their dynamic centreman, Brett Johnson.
Johnson will play his 300th game today and in doing so he will join an elite group of nine who have already achieved the feat. Johnson has been a model of consistency over the journey and I expect the same quality today.
Meanwhile the Magpies have had a year they would rather forget. After the perfect start their season has been riddled with injuries and unavailability, and with just two wins to date it is their worst year since 2007.
But with nothing to lose, could the Magpies become the year’s big party crasher? Or has their season finished and they are content to simply turn up for the next four rounds?
This a game the Bulldogs are expected to win and tighten their grip on the minor premiership with three rounds remaining after today.
They have named some big guns and with Perkins and Hack playing the key forwards roles the Bulldogs look fairly potent in attack. Hack in particular has been a standout in recent weeks with 14 goals in the last five rounds.
The Bulldogs will also play Henderson and Billings inside forward 50, both are dangerous around goal and it gives the Bulldogs extra options when going forward.
The Magpies will rely on Quinn, Gilby, Muscat and Jenkin to do the bulk of the defending today. Quinn has had some good contests throughout the year and again he will relish the challenge.
North again have been strengthened by the return of Dempster, and he will look to stabilize the North back half along with Napier, Garrick and Borlace.
The big question is whether the Magpies kick a big enough score to cause an upset. We will see Lawrence and Beven changing up forward as the Magpies look to have a small forward half.
A lot of responsibility will fall on Morrison, Hunt, Bressanelli and Cox to create scoring chances when the Magpies go inside forward 50 and the midfield must also stand up and keep the ball in their half and apply pressure.
Both sides look to be a little depleted in the centre of the ground and that should even the contest up.
The Bulldogs have not named the first ruck combination. Will it be Rayner or Brown, or will it be someone else? Is Kelly available or Ruddock? we just have to wait until 2.30pm today to find out.
What we do know is that the 300 gamer Johnson will start in the middle, the Magpies will possibly start with Heath and I would like to see either
McClure or Randall in the square as both are hard at it and will give the Magpies an honest contest.
The Magpies have named a very extended bench today with some also named in the reserves. The final make up is still unknown and again 2.30pm will give us the full story.
The Bulldogs should win this encounter and make it five straight against the Magpies in 2013.
North by 24 points