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Dogs to secure top spot

Saturday, 17th August, 2013

By By Balldock

The penultimate round of local football today will see the Bulldogs taking on the Robins at League Headquarters in a contest the Bulldogs just have to win if they are to officially claim the 2013 minor premiership.

It is also a game that the Robins would dearly love to win - a big scalp or two before the finals would have their confidence on the rise before their finals campaign begins.

And what makes this game more interesting is that both sides have made numerous changes with the Bulldogs making seven and the Robins ten.

What it does is open the door for someone if they are good enough to grab their chance with the finals looming.

While the Bulldogs will start favorites it is not without some danger.

North’s forward half has been pretty good all season and again today they must get on top early and take their chances.

Hack and Perkins are the two key forwards and marking targets. They must dominate in the air while the likes of Mannion, Henderson and Tiziani must do their thing at ground level.

The Bulldogs are yet to kick 20-plus goals in a game and with the firepower they are gathering up forward it may be time to click but today’s job won’t be easy with the Robins back half looking pretty good.

Teelow and Blore are lining up in the key defensive roles while Naden, Rosewarne and McInnes will rebound from half back.

The Robins have plenty of avenues to goal. Dalby is the important ingredient across half forward and if he can get on top and make a statement it could well open the door for the Robins.

Kickett is not named up forward but he could really stretch the Bulldogs’ back half along with proven goalkickers Tonkin, King and Thomas Kickett.

The Bulldogs, while playing a little shorter in defence, have been pretty good with Pressler, Garrick and Richards leading the way. Today they will need big games from Fenton and Borlace who will be in the key defensive roles.

Once again, some important match-ups which could determine the outcome.

Both sides like to run and carry the footy with an impressive running game and each will endeavor to play that style today, so the duels in the middle again are ultra important.

The Bulldogs will start with Johnson, Kelly and Caldwell in the square with Howard to rotate through the centre. This combination is the backbone of the Bulldogs and if they are allowed to get on top then it’s game over.

For this not to happen the Robins must apply the pressure from the outset with Ryan, King and Kickett with McInnes and Kickett to roam through the middle at given stages through the game.

Again pressure and use of the footy will be paramount in the centre square battles and at the stoppages clean possession will give a side quick ball movement and the advantage going forward.

The ruck duel is also shaping up as an important duel; can either ruckman get a clear advantage? At times they might but in the end they could well nullify each other which, in a strange way, is also interesting.

Across the middle the Bulldogs have named Beaven and Dempster. Beaven will start on a wing and should provide some run and carry but Dempster will probably go down back from the first bounce.

The Robins will go with Harris who is finding some form at the right time and Agius who is playing for a preliminary spot and that should be his motivation.

Come 5pm I think the Bulldogs will have done enough to take the points over a determined West. North by 17 points

Jubilee Oval 2.30pm
Head to Head: North 3, West 2
Last Start: North 13.14 (92) West 8.4 (52)
Form Guide: North WWWL, West WLLW

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