2017 Round 16 Centrals vs Norwood

By Robert Laidlaw

For anyone who saw Central District play Norwood at the Parade in round 16 of the SANFL, the thinking would have been that the Dogs were the team in the battle for the double chance and the Legs were struggling just to finish their season.

It was sensational to see Central play the way it did, but slightly frustrating, as that form had only been shown in glimpses, for a quarter or half of footy previously in 2017, which opens up the question, “what if?”.

There is still a mathematical chance the Bulldogs can play finals, but it would need a huge miracle.

Not only do Central have to beat West Adelaide at Elizabeth this Saturday and the Eagles the following week, but rely on Glenelg losing to North and the Bloods, and South and Adelaide also dropping at least one of their final two games – they play each other in round 18.

Early season losses to North, Glenelg and Norwood have now come home to haunt the Doggies, unless the footy gods chose to favour the boys from the Ponderosa.

And on Central's form against the Redlegs, if the Dogs do scrape into the finals, they will give the premiership a good shake from fifth spot.

Norwood was on a four-game winning streak, with a meritorious victory over top team the Eagles in its previous outing, so was the form side of the comp, and odds on favourites. But Central came with its game face on.

From the get-go it was all the Bulldogs, with a five goal to none first term, Luke “Milky” Barmby booting two majors, and Luke Habel finishing off a magnificent “coast-to-coast” conversion from a kick-out.

The visitors lead 5-3 to 0-2 at the first break.

After Kyle Presbury opened the second term with a goal, Norwood dominated the next 20 minutes to kick 3-4, as it wasted several easy scoring opportunities.

But late goals to Central – to Sam Hanna after a great mark, and Fraser Fort from 50m – late in the half saw the Bulldogs go into the long break with a 27-point advantage, 8-4 to 3-7.

Two goals in the first five minutes of the third term saw the boys from Elizabeth take a stranglehold on the game, and after Norwood booted its fourth major of the match, Central responded with five goals in a 16 minute dominate period, which included several “magic” shots.

Darcy Fort, who had been in sparkling form not only in ruck but around the ground, took a pressure mark and converted 12 minutes into the second half.

Then Chris Jansen kicked a 45m major off one step, before super snaps from Justin Hoskin and Sam Milne were converted into six-pointers, then Jack Hannath provided the icing on the cake, as he booted a mammoth shot from well outside 50m, which was mesmerising to watch as it sailed through for the goal of the game.

At three-quarter time, unbelievably, the Doggies led 15-7 to 4-9. Even memories of Norwood wiping a 40 point deficit to beat Central at Elizabeth earlier in the season wasn't an issue at this point.

The final quarter saw the visitors able to have all the answers to the Redlegs goals, as supporters were able to relax and enjoy the most dominate four-quarter effort by Central this season, as it ran out 21-10 to 8-12 victors.

Best players were easy to find, with perhaps Barmby shading Darcy Fort, Travis Schiller, Nick Holman and Jansen to reach the number one spot as best on ground.

Now for Central's part in the possible miracle finish to the season, with West Adelaide at home next Saturday – get on for the ride, it will be worth it if everything falls into place, as unlikely as it seems.

* * * * *

Central District 5-3 8-4 15-7 21-10 (136)
Norwood  0-2 3-7 4-9 8-12 (60)

Best: Barmby, D. Fort, T. Schiller, Holman, Jansen, Presbury, Goodrem, Stephenson, J. Schiller.
Goals: Barmby 3, Presbury 3, Hoskin 2, Hanna 2, D. Fort 2, Glenn 2, T. Schiller, F. Fort, Jansen, Hannath, Goodrem, Milne, Habel.


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League ladder

  1. Norwood
  2. Eagles
  3. Sturt
  4. South Adelaide
  5. North Adelaide
  6. Glenelg
  7. West Adelaide
  8. Central District
  9. Port Adelaide
  10. Adelaide
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