Magpies win battle
Tuesday, 27th April, 2010
(By CED) It was a battle that epitomised the Anzac spirit. Two football clubs gave absolutely everything in a game that reached the highest standards, but in the end Central had just a little bit too much class and fitness for North to run out winners by 8 points.
This absorbing contest at Jubilee Oval was rated by North Coach David Ruddock as the best game he had seen in five years. Trailing by 17 points at three quarter time, the Magpies lifted in the final term. Led by inspirational skipper Justin Heath they ran away from North whose heavy legs caused some crucial turnovers, which led to goals and ultimately the game. The match started in ideal conditions. Both clubs had a change each; Power out for the Magpies, Lawrence in, while at North they lost Oldsen, who was a late omission. He was replaced by Richards. The Bulldogs won the toss and aided by a 2-3 goal breeze opted to kick to the Country Energy end. Both sides had some key match ups. North had Napier on Perkins, Dempster on Gepp. The Magpies went with Carapellotti at full back on Billings, McInnes across half forward and Lawrence in the ruck against Pat White. The first 10 minutes belonged to the Bulldogs as they controlled the ball around the mid-field. An early free kick to Billings saw him goal within 60 seconds of the match starting. This was followed quickly by another to Henderson. From this point on Central gained control and with better disposal set up goals to McClure, Jamie Berg and Keenan. The first Magpie major came as a result of some great work by wingman Mick Anderson, who beat three North opponents. At this stage the Central backline was on top. Brenton Zannette and Harry Cumming were marking everything that came their way. They were aided by some poor kicking from North. The second quarter started in much the same way as the first one finished. Poor disposal from North allowed Mannion to goal before Dylan Stuart, playing against his old club, kicked a brilliant running goal for the Bulldogs. When Henderson kicked his second soon after North were hanging in. True to script the Magpies responded. Cox won the ball out of the centre, passed to Jamie Berg, who sealed his second, then the key forwards for Central came to life. Gepp booted two and Perkins one to give the Magpies a comfortable 27 point lead at half time. During the break North Coach David Ruddock urged his team to eradicate the skill errors and lift their intensity. What was about to unfold in the next 30 minutes would show Ruddock his players were listening. The third quarter started with Gepp goaling from a free kick. Central out by 33 points. Some good play from Grundy to Tonkin cut the margin back and when Henderson booted his third after a brilliant transition of play from full back North had a sniff. Not to be outdone, Jackson McInnes with a wonderful solo effort got the ball to Ben Perkins who goaled. From this point on the game changed. Whatever the combination of reasons, the Bulldogs slammed on seven unanswered goals in a dazzling display of run-on Football. The move of Kale Grundy into the ruck enabled midfielders in Burton, Kelly, Howard and Johnson to run riot. Henderson and Stuart were electric in the forward line, kicking three goals each and Khan kicked a contender for goal of the year. In the last 90 seconds of the quarter North booted three goals, two of those from poor discipline from the Central defenders which cost them 50 metre penalties. The last goal came with 11 seconds left to play when Henderson showed why he is nicknamed the "Wiz". He tore up the turf to boot a trademark goal. During this carnage Central Captain Justin Heath was left sitting on the bench watching it all unfold. He was rested for 15 crucial minutes during the quarter. The last quarter started with Central moving Camilleri on to a wing and Justin Heath was back on the ground and lined up in the centre square. It was obvious from the start the Magpies meant business and whether it was the state of the game or the freshness in his legs, Heath was unstoppable. He pumped the ball to Jamie Keenan, who marked and goaled. The Bulldogs looked out on their feet and costly misses to Grundy and Billings gave Central hope. The backline wearing black and white were desperate and daring and threw themselves at every contest. With the quarter at the 15 minute mark North midfielder Dylan Stuart won a hard contested ball in front of the grandstand and was awarded a free kick. Barely able to stand due to exhaustion he decided to centre the ball. Heath marked it, kicked it to Gepp, who goaled, and Central were back in town. Only minutes later Garrick, who had played well across half back for North, kicked out of defence straight to Cox. He gladly accepted the pass and kicked straight to put Central in front by 2 points. With players from both teams clearly struggling, Jayden Kelly found some run but could only register a minor score. Twenty five minutes gone and we had a one point game. With the clock ticking down it became a game of attrition and once again it was Heath who was the man of the moment, picking up kicks at will. When Keenan marked and kicked his third goal you could sense North was a spent force. When the siren sounded a few minutes later Keenan had the ball in his hands. He had a shot for goal after the siren but kicked a point; Central home by 8 points in a thriller. As players from both teams showed true sportsmanship in acknowledging each other after the game, Justin Heath and Central coach Des Hinton gladly accepted the Carasel Jewellers Cup. Spectators from both sides stood and showed their appreciation for a wonderful game of football. We had all witnessed a truly epic contest. Picking best players is hard because there were so many. Heath won the game for his team and is a great captain. Mannion was brilliant, particularly when the game was there to be won. Zanette across half back was in great touch as was Camilleri and Cumming. Keenan in the forward 50 is a real target. Cox came to life in the last quarter. Gepp booted four goals and performed his usual bag of party tricks. Lawrence was a welcome inclusion in the ruck and the athletic McInnes was impressive. For North their midfield was their strength. Howard, Johnson, Burton and Kelly were great. Henderson and Stuart up forward were brilliant at times. White and Grundy showed plenty, as did Hack across half back, and a mention to Napier who had a tough job on Ben Perkins. Best players - \Central: J Heath, B Mannion, B Zanette, J Keenan, B Camilleri, W Gepp, L Cox, J McInnes, H Cumming; North: C Howard, W Burton, B Johnson, J Kelly, A Henderson, K Grundy, T Hack, P White. Goalkickers - Central: W Gepp 4, J Keenan 3, J Berg 2, B Perkins 2, L Cox 1, J McClure 1, B Mannion 1; North: A Henderson 6, D Stuart 4, M Khan 1, J Tonkin 1, C Billings 1. Injuries - Central: None; North: J Cumming, shoulder.
Central 3.4 8.5 10.7 14.10 (94) North 2.0 4.2 13.6 13.8 (86)