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Dogs take on SA

Wednesday, 13th July, 2016

North’s Tom Ragenovich, Tylor McInness and Ethan Slater competed at the SA Country Championships. PICTURE: Peter Argent North’s Tom Ragenovich, Tylor McInness and Ethan Slater competed at the SA Country Championships. PICTURE: Peter Argent

By Peter Argent

Three rising Bulldogs stars - Tylor McInness, Ethan Slater and Tom Ragenovich - have returned home, fresh from the rigours of representative footy.

The trio endured two plane flights - Broken Hill to Adelaide and a second from Adelaide to Port Lincoln - just to arrive at the 2016 South Australian Country Championships last weekend.  

Ragenovich played as a running half back, while McInnes and Slater were used in the midfield/half forward rotations. 

“I didn’t have huge expectations for the boys on this trip,” Coach Scott Brand explained.

“As we endeavour to build a competitive group over the next few years, it was important for them to experience this level of football.

“This trip allowed them to get into the system and get exposure to the rigours of this level of the game.”

The weekend in Port Lincoln was cold and bleak. 

On Saturday it was cold and gusty and then the winds blew from the east on Sunday, with up to 40-knot winds making conditions tough to score at the Port Lincoln Football League headquarters end of the ground. 

Northern Cities (a combination of Broken Hill, Mallee and Riverland leagues) started the tournament with a clash against Eastern Zone with a 9am start.

After a tight first half, the Northern Cities sides charged home to defeat Eastern in the first game of the championships by 28 points. 

Against the eventual championship winner, Murray South East in the second match on Saturday, the game was on the line at the break, but their opponents displayed more strength and composure to win by 26 points after kicking 3.9 to no score in the second stanza of this contest. 

On Sunday in the third versus fourth play off, the Northern Cities side endured kicking against a howling wind in the opening term and was 32 points down at quarter time. 

They kept Eyre Peninsula scoreless in the second term, but only managed two goals themselves, before the hosts put the game to bed in the third term, kicking 6.3 to nil. The final margin was nine goals. 

“It was a better result than 2015,” Brand said.

“Getting a first win gave us some confidence and I couldn’t fault the players endeavour over the carnival. 

“The oldest member of our group was 26 and we had 14 or 15 that were 22 and under. 

“We are trying to get a nucleus of a squad to build together like Murray South East or Southern has done over the past five years.”

Murray South East went on to win the championship for a second time, defeating Southern in the final by 11 points.

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