Bulldogs get home in McConnell's 250th
North's won a tight round 12 match against West at the Jube on Saturday with an all the way win. North's kicked the first 3 goals of the game and a blow out looked on....but the Robins of 2012 are a very competitive team that play with plenty of passion and enthusiasm and they hung in all day to leave their supporters still confident that they can go all the way in September.
North's were on a mission to celebrate McConnell's 250th with a win and the early dominance of Jayden Kelly, Codie Howard and Brett Johnson in the middle resulted in a perfect start with McConnell slotting the first of 4 for the day. Many players "limp" to milestones but "Jimmy" is playing his role perfectly inside the forward 50. He may have only had ten touches for the day but his 4 goals were priceless as was the inspiration he brought to the table.
North welcomed back the Whiz Anthony Henderson (pictured)and he kicked another 3 goals with a mix of high marks and electrifying pace to create havoc in the front half. Also back was Jackson McInnes who roamed far and wide collecting kicks and marks to give the Bulldogs a great target from defence.
North's were solid all day with Tobias Hack high up in their best players whilst roaming across half back. Curiously both Hack and Matt Dempster were sent forward in the third quarter, with Dempster's move due to a little soreness. In defence Jake Napier stood tall when West mounted a final quarter comeback, that threatened to spoil McConnells day.
North's rolled the dice with Tom Billings playing out of the square for 85% of the game and his 3 goals and spillages he created probably getting the Bulldogs home despite West's Matt Nelson dominating the Centre Square hit outs. Sometimes its about the nett result for a mix of players and Coach Berryman would have been happy with contributions of Pat White and Simon Brown that allowed Billings to stay deep in attack.
West will walk away knowing they are closing the gap week by week. In round 9 they went down by 35 points and only kicked 6 goals whilst this week they lost by 25 and kicked 9. The simple fact is 9 to 10 goals will never be enough to win a GF so the challenge must be to find the best mix to kick 15.
Nelson was superb in the ruck, and around the ground. Midfielders Daniel Milne, Chad Ryan and Greg Conway were solid performers to half time whilst Thomas Kickett & Cynan Smith (2 goals) looked dangerous at times in attack.
Nick Christos was at his tigerish best whilst Jordan Tonkin was breaking the lines with his hard running. In defence juniors Cohen Pettitt and Heath Harris proved they can mix it with the oldies whilst Rylie McInnes, Liam King and Callum Rosewarn all are contributing.
Trailing by 13 points at half time West moved a very quiet Brent Rose into the middle along with Jono Naden and they both were super impressive albiet North with a strong wind advantage kicked away again to lead by 28 points at 3/4 time.
West won the ball from the middle twice at the start of the last quarter for goals and it was game on. With the margin cut to 10 points one sensed the Robins were going to run over the Bulldogs but the McConnell factor kicked in again and the Bulldogs dug deep to score the final three goals of the game to end up worthy winners by 25 points.
North's can get stronger with Jarrod Ruddock, Wes Burton & Nathan Rayner to return whilst West have Nathan Kickett, Leigton Raven and Nick Agius available soon.
So as we head to round 13 North's will push for top spot against South whilst West can almost lock away 3rd place if they defeat the Pies.