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Last chance for Robins

Saturday, 3rd June, 2017

Ben McInerney plays game number 150 today. PICTURE: Andrew Gosling Ben McInerney plays game number 150 today. PICTURE: Andrew Gosling

By Tyler Hannigan

Today is the start of AFL Broken Hill’s split round as West take on Central at the Jubilee Oval in what is a make or break clash for the Robins.

Now winless from eight games, West are two games behind Central in the race for third place and the last finals spot. A loss here would almost end their season with only three more games against the Magpies to come and they’d need to win all of them by big margins or hope to steal a game against North or South.

After a disappointing last two weeks, Central needs to regain that winning feeling today against a West team that they’ve beaten twice before. While they are in prime position to play finals, they can almost make a certainty of it today.

Ben McInerney will play game number 150 today for West. The hard-nosed veteran has often been a ‘Mr. Fix It’ for the club, playing down back, up forward and at times through the middle over his 13-year career for the Robins. 

Despite a major injury to his back in 2008, McInerney has soldiered on and has been loyal to his club since debuting in A Grade as a 16 year old. He played in West’s losing grand final side of 2007. 


Last time they met:

CENTRAL: 18.11- 119 def WEST: 11.5- 71

In the recent clash between these two sides it was the Lionel Brown show as Central’s livewire small forward kicked nine goals. Brent Christie also kicked five from the midfield as well as having a heap of the ball and was the Magpies’ best.

West were able to restore some respectability in the final term of that game, kicking six goals to four, but the damage was done in the first three as Central kicked 149 to West’s 5.5.

Josh Cieslik kicked four goals for the Robins while defenders Greg Conway and Judd Carpenter were among their best.


Recent form:

Central (last five): LLWLL

Following that win against West, Central had a big chance to take it up to a South side missing players such as Jordan Johns, Cody Schorn, Jordan Holmes and the Gepp brothers but were completely outplayed by 73 points. They backed that up with another poor loss to North, going down by 87 at the Jube.


West’s miserable season continued with consecutive 100-point thumping’s by North and South. Both teams were able to clear 150 points with Ethan Slater kicking six goals in North’s win while Nick Agius bobbed up for five goals as South won by 127 points. 


Ins and Outs: 

In: P. Reincke, Z.White, M. Muscat, A. Killeen
Out: P. Christie, B. Christie, R. Curtis, J. Moran, J. Wingfield
Defenders Patrick Reincke, Zayden White and Matt Muscat all return to Central’s lineup while Andrew Killeen makes his debut for the club.
Brent Christie is a big out for Central as he was best on ground last time these sides met. His brother Paul joins him on the sidelines as does reliable defender Rhian Curtis. Ruckman James Moran misses out and Jaylon Wingfield will serve a one game suspension. 

In: N. Kickett, T. Kickett, B. Harvey, L. Bell, C. Rosewarn, K. Behr, L. King, J. Trengove, C. Smith
Out: D. Morgan, D. Cowan, A. Garry, J. Burke, D. Blight, M. Everuss, C. Pearce
West coach Phil Bell has swung the changes for this game bringing in nine players with an extended bench. Among the inclusions are Tom and Nathan Kickett, Liam King and Lachie Bell who has not played since round five against South.
Youngsters Jack Burke, Darcy Blight and Dwayne Morgan, as well as Alan 
Garry, Dylan Cowan, Max Everuss and Clint Pearce all drop out from last week’s team.  


Key players:

Tom Kickett (West)- Kickett returns to the West lineup today and is key to any hopes they have of victory. He’s able to be damaging through the middle and can push forward to score goals. Kickett is also capable of playing that role across halfback but for West to really compete today he’ll need to play where he can do the most damage.

Jon Carrett (Central)- Central’s ruckman Carrett will need to be at his best today as he takes on the premier big man of the competition in West’s Matt Nelson. With James Moran missing, Carrett will do almost all of the ruck work. If Carrett can at least break even with Nelson then Central’s midfielders should be able to control the clearances. 


What we can expect:

With this almost being West’s last shot for finals in 2017, expect them to throw everything at the Magpies. King, Bell and Tom Kickett are big inclusions while Central has some big omissions giving the Robins a chance.

Central aren’t quite under the same pressure but they’ll still be desperate to win and pretty much sure up a finals spot. After two poor performances, Central’s coaching staff will want a big response from their team today.

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