Bulldogs looking for form
Saturday, 23rd July, 2016
By Tyler Hannigan
North travels to the Alma Oval today looking to arrest a form slump that has seen them lose their last four consecutive games.
Since their round 9 win against West, North has been plagued by injuries and suspensions which have not allowed the Bulldogs to put their best side on the park. However, if the teams stay as named, North should put their strongest side on the park in weeks.
Recruit star Jayden Kelly returns after a spell on the sidelines with an injured shoulder and North’s spine looks as strong as ever with Jake Borlace and Shane Dalby named in the key posts down back, while the ever dangerous Ethan Slater and Anthony Henderson are sure to cause the Central backline plenty of headaches.
Central on the other hand are missing two of their best in Justin Heath and Ben Camilleri. Camilleri suffered a shoulder injury early last week and could be set for another 2-3 weeks out of action.
Other big outs for the Magpies include Heath Harris, Zayden White and Kyle Farcich.
Their absences place a heap of pressure on the back of Jason Masclet, James McClure and Linden Cox to help this young Magpies side compete.
Alex Page, Connor Martin and Louis Hann amongst a host of others come into the side. Hann plays his first league game this year after performing consistently in the reserves.
Patrick Reincke has been named at CHB for the Magpies but it’s unlikely that he starts there given his good form up forward. He managed just 1.4 last week, including some crucial misses in the final term, but 7 goals in his previous 2 starts before that should give the coaching staff enough faith to stick fat with the forward.
Matthew Sullivan is enjoying a fine year for Central in defence and will likely get the job on Henderson which will prove to be a key matchup for the game.
North will still be without stars Isaac Cumming, Codie Howard (injury) and Quinton Beavan (suspension) but they have the edge on Central when it comes to depth.
Youngsters Nash Mitchell and Connor Ellis come into the lineup, both of whom are in terrific form in the dominant North under 18s side.
With the Jones brothers on the wings, Tom Ragenovich and Tyler McInnes down back, and the aforementioned Slater up forward, the Dogs boast a wealth of elite young talent.
Central took the points last time these two met in a fiery encounter that saw North’s Beavan suspended for a total of seven games, leading to his deregistration. However that was overturned based on an administrative error leaving Beavan free to return for the finals series.
The round 9 matchup saw Central win by just 7 points although Kelly missed that game through injury and two of Central’s best on that day, Camilleri and Heath, are missing today and they simply do not have the depth to cover players of that quality.
All this points to a comfortable North win. Even without Howard and Beavan, they should be too good for an under-strength Central team.
Clear yet cool conditions are expected today with a fair breeze that could have an impact on proceedings.
North by 40 points.