ROBINS consolidate 3rd spot!
By Ben Sheffield (BDT)
Central 2.0 (12) 3.1 (19) 3.1 (19) 5.2 (32)
West 1.1 (7) 4.3 (27) 6.7 (43) 8.10 (58)
West have consolidated their position in the finals frame with a 26 point win over Central at Memorial Oval on Saturday.
The 8.10 (58) to 5.2 (32) victory means that West have opened up a one game gap on last placed Central, as the sides approach the home straight of the season.
Both sides came to play early, with the two teams displaying strong intensity.
West had more of the ball than Central, but at times lacked a forward structure to capitalise on the amount of times they went inside 50.
Two goals for Central late in the quarter, kicked by Roberts and McClure, saw them sneak in front, to be five point leaders at quarter time.
From the opening bounce of the second quarter, West managed a quick clearance and Aaron Taylor converted for his first goal in an impressive three goal performance.
The breeze picked up during the second quarter and was wreaking havoc with the ball handling skills of both teams.
Daniel Milne was a standout for West through his endeavour and regular second efforts during the match.
West kicked three goals to one in the second quarter and despite only having an eight point advantage at half time, were threatening to break the game open.
Central went missing in the third quarter and failed to trouble the scoreboard attendant, while West added 2.4 for the term.
It took Central close to 15 minutes in the third quarter, before they took the ball forward of centre.
West's close tagging of Justin Heath and Paul Christie continued to pay dividends, with the influence of both players less than it otherwise might have been.
The 24 point three quarter time lead did not do justice to West's dominance over Central, with West's missed opportunities keeping Central in the match.
A fast start from the Magpies in the last quarter ignited short lived hopes of a memorable comeback.
Samuel Beven kicked the opening goal of the final term and when Justin Heath followed up shortly after, the deficit was just 13 points.
But West wrestled back the momentum and kicked the final two goals of the day to win the scrappy contest by 26 points.
In the late stages of the game Chad Ryan was involved in a heavy collision inside 50 and had to be stretchered off.
The early indications from Robins staff were that the suspected leg injury was not too serious.
The other casualty was Central Captain/Coach, Justin Heath, who sustained a hamstring injury, the severity of which is not yet known.
West Coach, Dale Tonkin, was pleased with the win, particularly with the influence his younger players.
“Our boys were really accountable, it was a hard fought win in the end.
“We were really happy with our kids; it's probably a game where we've seen our kids grow into men,” he said.
But despite being a win clear of Central on the ladder, Tonkin is far from comfortable with where West sit. “We understand Central had quite a few players out today.
“I don't think we can even look that far ahead (to finals), we just need to take it week by week, knuckle down and have a real crack,” Tonkin said.
Central Captain/Coach, Justin Heath, felt that the game was one of missed opportunities for his side.
“We wasted the ball a fair bit going in to the forward line with the breeze, we worked better against it than with it, so it's pretty hard when that happens.”
But Heath did highlight the efforts of two of his younger players, Zayden White and Samuel Beven, who have starred in recent weeks
“Zayden, down back he's pretty reliable, he's got a bit of pace and he's tall as well, he's the whole package.
“Sam's playing really well, he plays centre half back then goes in to the ruck, you can't ask more than that and he puts his head over the ball.
Next week, West have a tough assignment playing South at Jubilee Oval, while Central will host North at Memorial Oval.
Central: Hunt, Roberts, McLure, Beven, Heath
West: Taylor 3, Smith 2, Blore, Kickett, Rosewarn
Central: White, Beven, Jelbert, Paull, Christie
West: Milne, Blore, Zanette, Conway, Taylor, Ryan