Magpies knocked off perch
Monday, 26th July, 2010
The Bulldogs caused a major upset on Saturday when they defeated the much fancied Central side in a classic encounter at League headquarters.
For the Magpies it was their first taste of defeat for the season and for North it was the first time in 2010 that they have put three wins together on the trot, and in front off some very happy old timers.
The Magpies again lost Ben Perkins before the game and he was replaced by Paterson.
North's 250 gamer, Jason Harwood, won the toss and elected to kick to the Country Energy end in the opening term with the aid of a slight breeze.
It didn't take them long to slip into gear with Burton kicking the opener inside the first 40 seconds and when Ruddock goaled minutes later the Bulldogs had the perfect start.
The Magpies had to wait until the 10-minute mark to get their first through Gepp. This game became a tight contest in the middle stages with neither side willing to take a gamble. It wasn't until the time-on period when North grabbed a handy lead after Watson kicked two unanswered goals.
The Bulldogs took a 22 point lead into the first change.
The second term started with the Bulldogs going on the attack early and they were rewarded when Kelly goaled to extend the lead to 28 points.
The Magpies needed something from their key forwards and Gepp responded with a great snap over his shoulder to reduce the lead to under 4 goals.
North, not to be denied, hit back with goals to Burton and Howard and the margin was out to 34 points.
That woke the Magpies up and they soon clicked into gear. Goals to Cullen and Power cut the lead to just 20 points.
The Magpies were now applying pressure on the slow North defenders and it was paying off as Camilleri goaled to make it a 14 point game.
Approaching halftime Keenan kicked Central's fifth for the term and the margin at the change was only 8 points.
The all important third term got under way with the Bulldogs dropping two men back into Central's forward half. This meant that Central had two men loose in North's forward half, especially important with North going with the breeze.
The Bulldogs got a gift early in the term when Fenton goaled to give his side a 15 point lead.
The game didn't rise to any great heights in the middle stages.
North would go forward and kick to the Central loose men, then the Magpies would go forward and kick it to the North loose men.
North's kicking with the breeze looked like they were defending a 15 point lead instead of attacking and increasing the margin.
As the term was drawing to a close Keenan stood up for the Magpies with two goals within a minute to make the margin just 3 points.
North had one last chance and McConnell gave his side some breathing space with his first. The Bulldogs went into the last change with a shaky 9 point lead.
It had come down to this - one more quarter.
Could the perfect record stay intact?
With the breeze at their tail would Central over-run the Bulldogs?
It looked likely inside the opening minutes when Keenan marked and goaled to reduce the margin to just three points.
Now how would the Bulldogs respond?
They responded in kind with a goal to Grundy at the 4-minute mark and the lead was again 9 points.
From that moment it became a slog with both sides giving their all and giving nothing away.
The Magpies had a fair bit of the footy in the latter stages, but four straight behinds would see their perfect season come undone with the Bulldogs hanging on to a 5 point lead and pulling off a memorable win.
Credit must go to both sides on a great contest.
Best Players - NORTH: J. Kelly, C. Howard, B. Johnson, J. Ruddock, C. Billings, D. Stuart; Central: B. Cullen, B. Camilleri, M. Anderson, J. Heath, K. Wilmore, B. Mannion.
Goalkickers - North: W. Burton 2, J.Watson 2, J. Ruddock 1, J. Kelly 1, C. Howard 1, M. Fenton 1, J. McConnell 1, K. Grundy 1; Central: J. Keenan 4, W. Gepp 2, B. Cullen 1, S. Power 1, B. Camilleri 1.
North 4.4 7.4 9.7 10.7 (67)
Central 1.0 6.2 8.4 9.8 (62)