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West overcome Central in close game

Monday, 30th May, 2016

Ben Camilleri kicks Central into attack as Jarred Paull follows in support. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan Ben Camilleri kicks Central into attack as Jarred Paull follows in support. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan

By Tyler Hannigan

West took down Central by 3 points in a low-scoring, scrappy affair down at the Alma on Saturday afternoon. 

Both teams traded goals in the first term and went into the break all square at 2.1 each. 

Central’s Ben Camilleri took a good mark in the forward pocket late in the quarter but failed to make the distance, kicking into a wind that swirled and gusted all day.

The second quarter saw the Central midfield gain a sense of control but they couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard, managing just 2 goals and 5 behinds to West’s 2.1. The Robins should have had more opportunities at goal but their disposal going into their forward half was poor and made it easy for the Central half-backs to clean up and rebound. 

Going into the main break Central had a slender 4-point lead.

Central managed to nudge ahead in the third, kicking another two goals to West’s one but full credit to West’s midfield and back-line, they held firm to keep Central to just the 4 scoring shots in the quarter.

Going into the last, Central held a 12-point advantage but West hit back with two goals and a couple of points to snatch a 1-point lead as time ticked away in this absorbing contest. However, a Linden Cox goal grabbed the lead back for the Magpies heading into time-on.

With the clock passing 22 minutes, players, coaches and spectators knew there wasn’t much time to go, West goaled to grab back the lead and Central had it all to do. The Magpies had a chance late but couldn’t find the goals.

After the longest quarter of the game the siren sounded, much to the relief of those in red and black, to signal a hard-fought 3-point win to the Robins.

West coach (who also played on Saturday) Peter Larkins was happy with the win but maintains that they still have a long way to go.

“Obviously any win is a good win but it was more relief after the siren than anything today because we knew we hadn’t played at our best and made too many turnovers,” said Larkins, “but we were able to lift our effort around the contest and get the win and that’s very pleasing.”

While the game wasn’t littered with the best skills or the clean passages of play that one might expect from South or North, no one could fault the effort of both teams at the Alma. Players from both sides got stuck in and had a crack which made this a tight contest all day and one that spectators would have enjoyed for its old-fashioned style of play.

However, it also goes to show how far these two teams have to go to catch up to the Dogs and Roos if they are to stop this season from becoming a two-horse race yet again.

Ben McInerney, Josh Cieslik and Jordan Tonkin all kicked two for the Robins, while the Lance Whitnall-esque Sam Beven booted two for the Magpies.

West big man Matt Nelson was the best for the Robins, winning the ruck duel against Central’s John Carrett and impacting the game all over the ground. Nelson was probably the difference between the two sides in this game that was heavy on stoppages, with Nelson usually giving his rovers the first look at the ball. 

Brett Martin had another good day, being used further up the ground where his clean skills helped West in their transitions forward. Alan Mackiewicz continued his good form, the veteran being named amongst the Robins best.

Oh how the Magpies missed Ben Camilleri! The returning star was in everything and was duly named best on ground for Central. Camilleri’s ability to get to contest after contest and ball use on the outside is massively important to Central’s form.

Central supporters will be pleased to see the young duo Jason Masclet and James Bressanelli named in the best players. Both youngsters are becoming fixtures in this Magpies league side and that can only be good for the club in the long run as they get exposed to more A-grade football.

Central welcome the Bulldogs next week to their ‘home’ at the Alma while West host South at the Jubilee. Confusing times indeed!

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