Contest at Memorial
Saturday, 12th May, 2018
By Tyler Hannigan
An early season blockbuster sees North travel to the Memorial today to face Central with both sides missing some key personnel but eager to establish themselves in the competition.
Last time they met:
NORTH: 9.7 (61) def
CENTRAL: 6.6 (42)
These sides last met in a hard-fought preliminary final last season in which North won by 19 points. Ethan Slater and Anthony Henderson combined for five of North’s nine goals while Shane Dalby, who now plays for Central, was one of the Bulldogs’ best on ground.
Central made a strong start to 2018 with a 54-point win over West on ANZAC Day and were not disgraced in the loss to South last week, hanging with the defending premiers until halfway through the third quarter after which South turned it on and ran away to a big win.
Having started the season so poorly against South, North bounced back with an 82-point win over the Robins last weekend. Jayden Kelly kicked five goals while senior players Quinton Beavan and Eddie Morgan also played well.
Ins and Outs:
IN: D. Stuart, R. Curtis, P. Reincke, J. Joliffe, S. Hall, D. Solomon
OUT: B. Christie, J. Paull, H. Campbell, J. Cox, D. Mannion, B. Mannion
The Magpies are without Brent Christie who has started the year well playing almost exclusively as full forward. He’s joined on the sidelines by experienced players Jarred Paull and Brad Mannion, young gun Harry Campbell and promising rookies Jordan Cox and Darcy Mannion.
Dylan Stuart returns to the side while Rhian Curtis, Patrick Reincke, Sheldon Hall and Dareyan Solomon come in for their first League games of 2018. Josh Joliffe makes his League debut after a number of good performances in the reserves.
IN: B. Perkins, W. Edmunds, W. Headlam, T. Hack, A. Pettitt, J. Watson
OUT: J. Kelly, Z. Doyle, B. Clements, K. Moore, M. Dempster, A. Tidball
Reigning Lionel Johnston medallist Jayden Kelly headlines the outs for the Dogs having been called into the GWS Giants NEAFL team for today. Veteran defender Matt Dempster and Anthony Tidball are also out while new recruits Zach Doyle, Ben Clements and Kirwin Moore miss as well.
North regain some tall timber with Ayden Pettitt and Jedd Watson coming back in. Tobias Hack makes his first appearance in the League side this season, as do recruits Will Edmunds and Will Headlam.
The biggest inclusion though is that of Ben Perkins who last played football in Broken Hill back in 2016 for West. He’s previously had stints with Central and North, playing in premierships with both, and spent last season playing for East Wagga Kooringal in the Farrer Football League, kicking 23 goals from 12 games.
Shane Dalby - Central
The former Bulldog plays his first game against his old side today and will be keen to put in a good showing against his old mates, many of whom he played in the 2016 premiership with.
Dalby is a versatile utility player, capable of playing a key position at either end of the ground and has started 2018 in good form with four goals in two games and was amongst Central’s best last week.
Ethan Slater - North
Solid, quick and blessed with strong hands and a booming kick, Slater has all the tools to become one of the best players in Broken Hill. So far he’s shown flashes of brilliance but has yet to really transform into a consistent player for the Dogs.
Playing as a forward, Slater kicked 42 goals in North’s 2016 premiership year but that dropped to 32 in 2017 as he missed a number of games due to injury. When he’s on, he’s on but North will be looking for him to improve his consistently as he matures.
While North are missing some big guns, not least of which Kelly and Dempster, Central are also without many key players for this one. Not only are Christie, Mannion, Campbell and Paull out from last week, but Bayden Quinn and Linden Cox are still missing and I’m not sure whether Central have the depth to cover those outs.
Doyle in the midfield and Moore across halfback have been impressive to start the season and them being out isn’t ideal for the Bulldogs but being able to call in former premiership players Hack and Watson eases that blow. Doyle and Kelly’s absences also allow juniors Harry Trengove and Logan Berryman to potentially spend more time in the midfield.
The sides look fairly even across the field but North’s depth and big game players give them an edge. If they play well then they should get the points today.