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Dogs to get season back on track

Saturday, 14th May, 2016

Central will be hoping for big things from Ben Camilleri against the Dogs today. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel Central will be hoping for big things from Ben Camilleri against the Dogs today. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By Balldock

Round five of local football today will see North take on Central at League Headquarters with a fair bit at stake for both sides.

The last time they met was back in round two when the Magpies recorded a thrilling three-point win over the Bulldogs. 

Since that day the Bulldogs have failed to register a win while the Magpies have claimed the premiership points against West and now sit in second place on the ladder.

The Magpies today welcome back Damon Johnston and Patrick Nash but they do lose Keta Balchin and Louis Bannister. The Bulldogs have Jayden Kelly, Codie Howard, Nat Rayner and Fitzgerald returning.

If the Magpies can pull off another win it would go a long way to setting up the season with a two-game break on both the Robins and Bulldogs. Another loss for the Bulldogs and coach David Ruddock can ring Nathan Buckley for advice, but a win will put them back in the race.

Jackson McInnes proved a fortnight ago that he will be very handy in the Central forward half. While having the ability to take the big mark and kick goals he is more potent inside 50 with his ability to roam around that forward zone which can unsettle a defensive unit.

Now that the Magpies can use Beven and Nash inside the zone as well, it is looking a very competitive combination with the likes of Cox and Martin at ground level.

The Bulldogs will need top games from Ellis and Borlace in the key defensive roles while Garrick and McInnes will also play important parts. I wonder if we will see brother against brother during the course of the day?

North’s forward half has also been strengthened with Rayner lining up across half forward while Slater will continue to be the leading target inside 50.

Henderson, McConnell and Jones are all proven goalkickers and Howard brings a few options to the table when he goes forward.

The Magpies’ back half will be put to the test but on paper they look a formidable outfit with Rodda, White and Camilleri across half back as the first line of defence. If they can stand up and get support from Paull, Sullivan and Jenkin the Magpies will be right in this contest.

The use of the footy coming from defence will also go a long way in deciding the final outcome today for both sides.

The duel in the centre square has the most intrigue. The Magpies are starting with Heath, Harris and Johnston while the Bulldogs will go with Morgan, Beavan and Kelly.

The stoppages and clearances are going to be very important. The Magpies must stop the North trio’s influence on the contest while getting their hands on the footy at every opportunity. A lot will depend on the ruck contest with Carrott up against Browne. Both have a big role to play if their side is to collect the points.

There should be pretty good conditions for today’s game so expect both sides to play a hard-running, attacking style which could end up in a high scoring affair.

But the inclusion of Howard, Kelly and Rayner just gives North the advantage and that should be enough to get them over the line in a very good contest.

North by 17 points

Jubilee Oval  2.30pm
Head to Head - Central 1 - North 0
Last Start - Central  8.16 (64) d North 9.7 (61)

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