Must-win for Pies
Saturday, 16th July, 2016
By Tyler Hannigan
The Alma Oval host a mini final today when Central and West square off in a match that could prove to be the difference maker in the run to the finals.
After a last start win over North, a win would give West a two-game break on the Magpies, making it very tough for Central with just five rounds to go after today.
The Robins were put under the pump by an under-strength Bulldogs last week and gave up five unanswered goals in the second quarter before rallying in the second half to earn a dogged 13-point win.
Daniel Milne was influential all over the ground while Cohen Bates provided some real spark, especially when going forward. Brett Martin also kicked two goals in a low scoring game.
After a much-needed win against North in round 11 and a hard-fought loss at the hands of the elite South, Central come into this game looking like a much better team than the last time these two met.
Central stuck with South for all but a 15-to-20 minute spell in the third term in which South were able to get on top and build a match-winning lead.
Jason Masclet was one of Central’s best in that game and kicked three goals from the midfield in the last quarter as Central fought their way back to a respectable margin.
Justin Heath continued his terrific form, solidifying his reputation as one of Broken Hill’s best footballers of the last 10 years.
In their last meeting, West triumphed by 15 points at the Jubilee with Robbie Bates kicking five goals and ruckman Matt Nelson being named the best on ground for the Robins.
Central welcome back Ben Camilleri, who missed last week through work commitments and was best on ground for the Magpies when these teams last met. Keta Balchin, Paul Christie, James McClure and Damon Johnston are also among the inclusions with Balchin set to play his first game since round 4 and Christie his first since 2014.
Captain Jordan Tonkin is the big out this week for the Robins and they will need their experienced players to step up in his absence. Milne, Greg Conway and Liam King will be vital if they are to get over the line.
Late changes are always on the cards so they may not line up how as they were named in yesterday’s paper.
Incredibly tough to call this match as West have beaten Central in their last two meetings but Central have played much better over the last two rounds. The Magpies’ forward line and midfield look to have a slight edge over their West counterparts and that should be enough to get them the win.
Central by 12 points.