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Pies win thriller

Monday, 18th April, 2016

Central’s Damon Johnston and North’s Anthony Henderson contest for the loose ball. Central’s Damon Johnston and North’s Anthony Henderson contest for the loose ball.

By Patrick Reincke

Central secured their first win of the season on Saturday after fending off a fighting North to win an absolute thriller.

The Magpies were able to clench the four points in the dying embers of the game at Jubilee Oval after giving up the lead for the first time late in the last quarter.

Anthony Henderson kicked a clutch goal a few minutes into time on to give the Bulldogs the lead.

However, Central found a way forward and answered with a goal of their own to re-take the lead and seal victory.

The Pies drew first blood through James McClure and had their heads high to start off.

Justin Heath then slotted another and it was clear that the black and white were a lot sharper than last week’s performance.

Heath was a busy operator along half forward and was driving the ball to goal often.

North rallied and eventually got on the board through Ethan Slater but that was cancelled out by Linden Cox soon after.

Central controlled most of the play throughout the quarter and had North on the back foot.

At the first break, the Pies held a 16 point lead. It was more of the same in the second with Central surging forward.

However, two goals and seven behinds came from their efforts and that left North in the game.

In transition, Jason Masclet was a heavy ball-getter for Central and off half-back, Jarred Paull, Mat Muscat and Mat Sullivan worked hard to repel the Bulldogs.

After snagging his second, Cox entered the Central on-ball brigade and Jake Crozier headed up forward along with Brent Fennessey.

Trent Barraclough proved a vital defensive asset for North along with Jake Borlace. 

The pair hit their strides in the game’s latter half during the fight back.

At the major break, Central had failed to capitalise on their chances in front of goal and stood only 26 points in the clear.

Refreshed and ready for the second half, North came out wide awake while Central hit the wall.

A run of goals saw the Bulldogs get to within eight points during the quarter with Eddie Morgan, Harry Cudmore and Tyler Hicks all on target.

Anthony Henderson would’ve added to the tally if he hadn’t missed from four metres directly in front with no pressure on the run.

Morgan was finding the ball for North but faced a hard tag from Tom Johnson.

Needing a goal to balance the ship, Central got one through Masclet to hit back and lead by 16 at the final change.

The Bulldogs weren’t done with yet as they began to fight back once more.

The minutes appeared to slow as Central fought to survive.

Both sides locked horns in a fierce skirmish with North constantly attacking while Central defended.

Having rucked all day, Sam Beven continued to win taps for Central but North got the clearances.

Tyler McInnes scored a goal but that was given an immediate response with Heath getting his third.

Josh Jones then entered the game with back-to-back majors and now the margin sat at just two.

A behind made it three points as time on arrived.

Having led since the first few minutes of the first quarter, Central lost the lead after Henderson went back and slotted a crucial goal with just two minutes left.

With the Bulldogs now ahead by three, Central was facing a shattering defeat.

However, through the boot of new recruit Damon Johnston, the Pies managed to wrench back the lead back in the final minute.

A last minute clearance kick from a forward flank stoppage saw the ball fly into the North forward line one last time.

Ben Camilleri found himself in the right spot to take the game-saving grab and run out the final seconds.

Central’s win now puts them third and leaves North as the only side without a win after round two. 

The Pies now face a big challenge this Saturday against reigning premiers South at the first Alma Oval game of the year.

North will face a tough West outfit at the Jube.

Quarter1st2nd3rd4th

Central3.45.116.158.16 (64)

North1.02.35.59.7 (61)

BEST PLAYERS

North: E. Morgan, D. Harris, T. Barraclough, J. Borlace, T. McInnes, J. Jones

Central: D. Johnston, J. Masclet, T. Johnson, L. Cox, J. Paull, S. Beven

GOALKICKERS

North: E. Slater 2, J. Jones 2,
E. Morgan, T. McInnes T. Hicks, A. Henderson, H. Cudmore

Central: J. Heath 3, L. Cox 2, D. Johnston, J. McClure, J. Masclet

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