North too strong
Monday, 7th April, 2014
By By Ethan James
The Bulldogs young brigade stood tall to help the club to a 53-point win over West in the opening round of AFL on Saturday.
Fielding six debutants and a host of youngsters, there was plenty of talk that the under strengthed defending premiers would be ripe for the picking.
But the home side were never really troubled in a match that they lead from start to finish.
Ahead by 26-points at halftime, a third-quarter surge from the home side saw them pull out to a 51-15 advantage.
They went on with the job in the final 20 minutes to run away 10.15 (75) to 2.10 (22) winners.
Jayden Kelly notched his first win as skipper and said the club’s move to blood youngsters in the Lightning Cup helped prepare them for A Grade footy.
“The whole team got together and had a crack,” he said in the sheds after the match.
“A lot of the under eighteen kids just put their head over the ball and were as tough as woodpecker lips.
“They were really out to prove that they deserved their spot in the side.”
After a pre-season that has by his own admission left the side a little underdone, Kelly said the ‘Dogs dug deep.’
“There was a lot of cramping towards the end but we probably surprised ourselves with how we finished the game,” he said.
“But it’s just round one, there is a long way to go.”
North coach Mark Pitt said the leaderships from the senior playing group was crucial.
Brett Johnson, Tobias Hack and Kelly all kicked two goals and provided the cool touches when the pressure was applied.
“The older blokes gave us the direction and guidance,” Pitt said.
“Our intensity and pressure on the inside was excellent and we didn’t leave anything in the tank.”
Dylan Harris found plenty of space, while Kale Grundy proved an influential link from the midfield to the forward line.
West coach Dale Tonkin was disappointed with his side’s showing and commented that his side needed to get into gear.
“It was just their (North’s) relentless pressure and desire to compete for the footy,” he said.
It took the Robins until the third quarter to post the first goal through Brett Martin but their momentum was only brief with Johnson goaling back-to-back.
In his first appearance in a Bulldogs’ guernsey, Scott Mateer finished off the game with his first goal.
North meet fellow opening round winners Central at the Jubilee Oval next weekend, while West play South on their home turf at Alma Oval.
North 10.15 (75)
Goals: Jayden Kelly 2, Tobias Hack 2, Brett Johnson 2, Cohen Bates, Quinton Beavan, Brad Mannion, Scott Mateer
West 2. 10 (22)
Goals: Brett Martin, Chad Ryan