Crunch time for Robins
Saturday, 19th May, 2018
By Tyler Hannigan
Despite it being only round four, today’s clash with Central at the Memorial Oval could be season-defining for West’s League side in 2018.
A win would keep them well in the hunt for third spot while a loss would put them in a tough position in this 15-round season.
Last time they met:
CENTRAL: 15.7 (97) def
WEST: 6.7 (43)
West and Central’s round one clash at the Jubilee Oval was competitive up until halftime with Central leading by only three goals but the Magpies kicked nine goals to three in the second half to win easily by 54 points. Brent Christie starred with seven goals and took out the ANZAC Day medal.
After a poor start last weekend against North, the Magpies stormed back to take the lead in the third term with five unanswered goals. Unfortunately they couldn’t maintain it and eventually lost by 21 points.
Opposite to Central, the Robins bounded out of the gates against South with four goals - three to Lachie Harvey - to one and a lead of 17 points at quarter-time. However, from then on it was business as usual for the Roos who piled on 12 goals while West could only managed six behinds to go down by 57 points.
Ins and Outs:
IN: J. Heath, L. Cox, K. Newmann, J. Moran, J. Paull
OUT: Z. White, L. Hann, J. Roberts, S. Hall, A. Page
Central get a heap of experience back with Justin Heath, Jarred Paull and Linden Cox all returning. James Moran comes in to strengthen the ruck and Kevin Newmann is included after recovering from an ankle injury sustained in round one.
Zayden White is the big out having barely missed a game for the Magpies over the past few seasons. Austyn Page, Sheldon Hall, Jack Roberts and Louis Hann have all dropped back to the reserves.
Daryean Solomon has been named in both the League and Reserves side which might mean a late change while curiously Jordan Cox, who played very well on ANZAC Day in the League side, has been selected in the reserves.
IN: J. Sutton, J. Turner, B. McInerney, T. Nicholson, E. Grose, B. King, B. Cieslik, C. Pascoe
OUT: B. Martin. T. Kickett, J. Trengove, A. Garry, C. Rosewarn, J. Cieslik, J. Meehan, M. Attard
Plenty of changes for the Robins with the experienced Ben McInerney and young gun Jayden Sutton back into the team along with Tim Nicholson, Brent King and Bryce Cieslik. Cody Pascoe makes his senior debut while Eathan Grose and Jerome Turner play their first League games of the season.
Former captain Brett Martin is out of the team as is senior player Tom Kickett while the in-form Jake Trengove misses through injury. Alan Garry, Callum Rosewarn, Josh Cieslik, Jordan Meehan and Mackenzie Attard are the other outs.
Robbie Bates - Central
Bates is in his second season with the Magpies having crossed from West. He’s a skilled medium-sized forward who can pinch hit through the middle with a solid frame and great goal sense.
While his skills and decision making can sometimes let him down, when it clicks Bates can take the game away from the opposition in a short space of time. He wasn’t at his best in 2017 but has started 2018 in much better form including three goals last weekend against North.
Jayden Sutton - West
Still a junior, Sutton is a pacey half-back flanker who can also spend time on the wing. While his skills are still developing at senior level, Sutton is not afraid to take the game on with his run and carry.
Sutton is one of West’s talented young guns along with Sage Hocking, Jake Trengove, Bailey Beattie and Brock Ellis who the club will be hoping can form the core of their League side for the next decade and hopefully return the club to prominence.
Some might say that saying today is a must win game for West is exaggerating but with only 15 rounds in this season, falling two games behind third spot could mean the Robins missing the finals two years in a row.
Realistically, with the gulf in class between West and the top two sides in South and North, they must pick up wins against Central to give themselves a shot at the finals. If they drop today’s game then they’d need to win the remaining three against the Magpies or cause an upset against the other two.
Brent Christie’s absence helps West but they’ll need big games from skipper Liam King, Ty Andrews and Lachie Harvey plus a lift from their role players if they are to reverse round one’s result.