Dogs look good
Saturday, 14th June, 2014
Central host the Bulldogs at Memorial Oval today in what is a must-win game for the Magpies.
They currently sit in fourth place, four points from the third-placed Robins as we approach the half way mark of the season.
For the Bulldogs it is also a must-win if they have any aspirations for the minor premiership.
Both sides regain some experience for this clash with the Magpies making six changes while the Bulldogs have made five.
The home side welcome back Heath, Jenkin, Turner, Cox, Nash and Gilby and out go Lawrence, Masclet, Farcich, Schinckel, Ralph and Mitchell.
The Magpies have also included coach Brett Morris on a extended bench, while the Bulldogs have included Fenton, Mannion, Burton, Pressler and first gamer Lachlan Hobba with Napier, Harris, Clare, Bates and Ragenovich being omitted.
The Magpies go into this game with knowledge that their best is equal to the teams above them.
However, it is just a matter of producing it on a consistent level.
On paper they have a pretty good side with a solid spine and some quality outriders.
The Magpie back half contains plenty of quality with Beavan and Sullivan assigned to the two key defensive roles, while the experience of Paull, Zanette and Cox should only help their cause.
The talented Turner is also having a great first year.
Across the middle the Magpies have some real grunt with Bates, Christie and Heath all hardworking with the ability to go forward and kick goals as well.
This is evident with Bates kicking seven in his two outings to date.
The formula for Central is simple; kick more goals than the opposition.
The Magpie key forwards have to carry that burden today, Bray is the key target with 12 majors to his name but they will need to get Quinn and Jelbert to hit the scoreboard on a regular basis.
We know that Jenkin, Bressanelli and Martin are going to force a contest but they too must contribute on the scoreboard to add more pressure on their opponents.
Centrals will go with Carrett, Anderson and McClure in the middle all are excellent at winning the contested ball but they also must find some freedom and use the ball well going forward.
The Bulldogs are in a similar boat with a excellent spine and while they have a few juniors on the outskirts there is still plenty of talent to set up the Bulldogs going forward.
Their forward half looks pretty strong with Hack and Dalby playing the key attacking roles.
Dalby has been very good of late and again he will need to be on his bike again today to create space and scoring chances.
North will also look to the height of Barraclough and the talent of Howard up forward to kick a winning score while Mannion and Burton could well play important roles across half forward with some run and carry.
The match ups across the middle for North will probably change by kick off with Cumming and Hobba named on the wings with Kelly in the middle.
While Cumming has had a exciting start to his career and Hobba has kicked a swag of goals in the reserves, Kelly is the one the Magpies must stop around the middle.
The return of Fenton in the back half will add the extra height along with Dempster.
The Bulldogs will look to Borlace and Mateer to play a tight defensive role while looking to Reick and Ellis to give them some rebound from half back.
The Bulldogs first ruck combination in Rayner, Beavan and Johnson is also pretty impressive with Beavan and Johnson in good form going into this encounter.
Both sides have the capability of rotating players in many positions which make for a interesting game.
While it is a game the Magpies need to win a fact is that they haven’t beaten the Bulldogs since round 17 in 2012.
On that note, the Bulldogs should have too many guns for the Magpies and should take the points against a determined Central side.
North by 14 points