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Contenders or pretenders?

Saturday, 5th December, 2015

Jon Carrett has had plenty of game time this season. PICTURE: Michael Murphy Jon Carrett has had plenty of game time this season. PICTURE: Michael Murphy

By Square Leg

Central has again established themselves as the yardstick by which the other three sides have to measure their performances this season.

Based on this, West appears likely to provide their sternest opposition, if two close losses to the Magpies this season already mean anything.

If West can get close to Central, or perhaps even defeat the Magpies at the Alma Oval today, they will have gone a long way towards having proven that they are the real deal.

For some reason, there is always a question mark in the back of one’s mind about the legitimacy of West being rated the real deal.

Perhaps it is their lack of consistency with the bat on occasions that gives this impression but certainly over the last two weeks the West batting has looked very solid.

Clint Pearce has added another dimension to the middle order while Christian Minnett, Matt Everuss, Matt Handberg and Paul Attard have all enjoyed their moments with the willow.

The West bowling attack has been steady with Shaun Wilson showing the most penetration.

Up against a confident and in-form Central batting line-up, it will be crucial for the West bowlers to bowl good line and length today and maintain pressure. Early wickets will be the order of the day as the Central middle order and tail has yet to be placed under any real pressure this season.

Central’s middle order batsmen would probably not mind a couple of quick wickets as players such as Jarred Paull, Brett Hannon and Scott Shepherd have not had a great deal of opportunities to display their wares this season.

Cameron Wells and Jon Carrett have hogged the limelight for most of the season, although, I am sure their team mates are thinking the team thing and hope this continues today.

Central has a nice “mix” in its bowling which also contributes to it being a very formidable side. Brett Hannon and David O’Malley provide the new ball penetration while Scott Shepherd, Adam Armstrong and James Hale provide plenty of variety in spin options.

If the West batsmen can make a score of 200 or over against this attack today they deserve to be considered a premiership hope.

One must select Central to continue on their winning way in this game however, if West perform to their very best, this could be a very close contest.

A third close contest, or certainly a win to West, will prove that they are the real deal and are in with a genuine premiership chance, particularly given the fact that the Magpies are likely to lose a couple of key players after Christmas.

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