Saturday, 20th May, 2017
By Tyler Hannigan
South suffered a rare loss last week and will be eager to return to the winners list while Central will want to continue their form after a comfortable win over West.
South were undone by the Bulldogs pressure and attack at the ball, leading to a 35 point loss, their first since North defeated them in the 2016 grand final. Coincidentally, North also beat the Roos at this time last year by roughly the same margin, however, that came at the Jubilee Oval.
The Roos have some big names missing from their team today as Cody Schorn, Wade Gepp, Jordan Holmes, Jordan Johns and Jake Peters are absent from last weekend’s team.
Harley Cannard and Luke Lines have been given a run in the reserves.
They do welcome back skipper Michael Westley who hasn’t played in several weeks thanks to a hamstring injury while youngsters Tyler McKenzie and Jye Smith also come in. Reliable reserves players Tyson Boland and Jack Bird also get their chance in the League side today.
It was the Lionel Brown show at the Jube as the lively Central forward kicked nine goals in their 48-point win against the Robins. Brent Christie also starred with five goals from the midfield where he also racked up a ton of possessions.
The Magpies have named in form juniors Josh Hanford and Jackson Page while senior players Jaylon Wingfield and Matt Muscat return to the side as do Logan Elliot and James Bressanelli.
They do have some key outs with Zayden White, Robbie Bates and Jay Carapellotti missing while juniors Harry Campbell and Sinele King have been given a rest.
The last time these two sides met, South ran out 85-point winners. Matt Reavill kicked five goals and Marc Purcell was best on ground. Central skipper Matt Sullivan kicked three of his team’s four goals.
Despite playing well last week against West, Central will know they’ll need to lift their game again to compete with South even with the Roos missing some key players. They have the team to do it boasting good midfield depth with the likes of Brent Christie, Matt Sullivan, Jason Masclet, Linden Cox, Justin Heath and Dylan Stuart.
In the forward half, much rests on the shoulders of Brown who is a brilliant one-on-one player but is unlikely to get the space that he did last week. He’ll be ably supported by Paul Christie and Jake Crozier.
South’s normally impressive forward line has been weakened significantly with Cody Schorn missing out. Dylan Browne and Reavill will be asked to do the majority of the scoring with the support of Connor Washbrook and Todd Davidson. Davidson will also rotate through the centre.
The Roos will be hurting from last week and coach Craig Thomas is sure to have them fired up. Whether they can overcome the loss of Schorn, Johns, Holmes etc. will be the real question.
This presents Central with their best opportunity in a long time against South. They have a strong team named, are riding a swing of momentum and a win here would be massive for the club. Even an honourable loss would have a big upside.
With a fine day expected, this promises to be an intriguing matchup which has not generally been the case when these two sides meet.