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Dogs too strong

Saturday, 30th May, 2015

By Balldock

Last start losers will face off today at League Headquarters when the Robins do battle with the Bulldogs.

Both sides will go into this clash decimated by injury or unavailability of some senior players. The Robins have been forced to make nine changes while the Bulldogs have made seven changes.

The Robins will go into this game with a inexperienced forward half with the exception of Matten who has played as a small forward for the majority of his career.

The Robins will start Henry and Cieslik in the key forward posts and while it is a big ask for this youngsters, it will give the club the chance to see what they are capable of and for the players to show what they can do as the Robins look to rebuild for the future, alongside the key position players, the Robins will look to Attard, Bishop and Sheargold to do the bulk of the ground work and to hit the scoreboard.

It will be all about taking your chances today for the young Robins.

While not at full strength, the Bulldogs back half still looks pretty good for this game with the huge bonus of the inclusion of Dempster, along with Borlace, Garrick and Ragenovich, the Bulldogs look to have enough talent down back to restrict the Robins.

Across the middle of the ground the contest looks to be even with Martin on one side up against Gillespie while North’s will run Slater on the other wing up against Raven.

This will be a interesting line and it will come down to who will work harder and give their side some run and carry from half back to half forward.

Expect Slater to also drift forward given the chance, while in the middle North will go with Kelly who should have too much experience for Cowan.

Again it will depend on how much footy Kelly can get hold off that will determine how much footy the North forwards can expect.

For Robins to cause an upset today, they must restrict the Bulldogs up forward and to do that they will need big games from Harris who was excellent last week in Adelaide, and Conway who has been pretty consistent in 2015.

They will also look to Tonkin and Davey, who is named in the key defensive post, and the Grose brothers to give their opponents no space to work in.

They must also be confident enough to run the ball out and start forward thrusts from the defensive half with the emphases on clean good disposal .

Any turnovers coming from half back could let the Bulldogs in with Dalby, McConnell and Reynolds capable of seizing any chance given.

I would expect a lot of footy to go through Dalby today as he will be the tall target inside forward 50 for the Bulldogs.

The ruck contests in the middle and around the ground should again have a big bearing on the outcome with Nelson up against Rayner one of the game’s real highlights.

McInnes and Howell will give the Robins plenty of pace from the stoppages, just how much space they will be afforded will depend on Vella and Johnson with Johnson being the important player for North as he shares the ball so well from the stoppages.

Mighty hard for me to pick the Robins today with so many players missing and while the Bulldogs are in a similar position, I just feel the Bulldogs have enough experience and class to get them over the line today.

I don’t think it will be a runaway win with so much inclement weather hanging around and the ball expected to spend a lot of time on the ground, I think the Bulldogs by 22 points.

The Robins have averaged just under six goals a game in the opening six rounds and I just cant see where they are going to get multiple goals from today.

Jubilee Oval: 2.30pm
Head to Head: North 2 - West 0
Last Start: North 17.10=112 def West 11.5=71
North: INS - S. Dalby, J. McConnell, K. Ellis, M. Dempster, J. Vella, C. Bates, J. Jones. Outs - A. Pettitt, A. Henderson, C. Howard, I. Cumming, J. Watson, J. Harwood, A. Galea.
West: INS - S. Matten, A. Henry, M. Attard, J. Bishop, J. Grose, J, Tonkin, R. McInnes,  T. Andrews, D. Toigo. OUTS - C.Pearce, J. Carpenter, D. Hocking, B. Perkins, C. Rosewarn, T. Kickett,  D. Milne, M. Shorrock, C. Evans.

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