Roos fend off Dog fight

While trailing close behind the Bulldogs in the first half, South took control of the game in the fourth quarter.PICTURE: ANDREW LODIONG

The round seven encounter between South and North did not disappoint and saw an end-to-end game play out at Alma Oval.

North won the toss and elected to kick away from the scoreboard in clear and sunny conditions.

It took just a couple of minutes for the Bulldogs to register their first major of the game after a set shot inside their forward 50.

South began to muscle their way into the contest but North doubled their early lead.

Pressure from the away side continued as South players had no time on the ball.

The Roos battled and kicked their first major of the match after an around-the-body snap near the goal square.

North asserted their first-quarter dominance with the third major from a long-range effort set shot.

South coach, Darren Smith, said he was not surprised how the Bulldogs came out.

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“We have been slow starters this year,” he said.

“We can’t be consistently doing that. One day it’s going to bite us in the bum.”

Quarter time score — South 1.0 (6), North 3.0 (18)

The second term started the same, with North opening the scoring early with a long-range major after a played-on free kick in their forward 50.

However, the Roos responded instantly from the bounce, moving the ball straight down their forward end to slot their second major.

The free-flowing game continued and North gave the next blow after an attempt dribbled its way through the centre sticks for the second major of the quarter.

South pushed forward and saw a chance hit the post before a speculative effort from the Dogs fell right to an attacker in front of an open goal for their sixth major.

The home side didn’t panic and kept themselves in the game.

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South scored two majors quickly to keep in touching distance and cut the deficit to four points.

North then kicked their first minor of the game from a set shot before South made them pay after a turnover in their back half.

The Roos took the lead for the first time in the match, up by one point at the halftime break.

“For us to be in front at halftime was lucky for us,” Coach Smith said.

“I think it would have taken the wind out of North’s sails.”

Halftime score — South 6.2 (38), North 6.1 (37)

The opening proceedings of the third quarter saw both sides trade minor scores.

North edged their way back into the lead by three points and landed the first major from a freekick directly in front of goal to stretch the lead out to nine points.

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South responded with their seventh game major from a set shot outside the goal square to cut the lead back down.

The boys in blue mounted on heavy pressure that eventually counted after they converted their eighth major from a freekick for holding the ball.

South had a set shot after the siren sounded but was unsuccessful, that handed North a 10-point lead heading into the final change.

“I think we were really sloppy today and seem to be under more pressure than we thought,” Coach Smith said.

Three-quarter time score — South 7.3 (45), North 8.7 (55)

It was anybody’s game in the final term.

South opened the scoring with a minor and followed up with their eight major soon after.

The home team pinned their opposition back for large parts of the decider and retook the lead by three points after a freekick was paid inside their forward pocket.

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Another long-range effort from South sailed through for a major as they grabbed a stronghold on the match.

North squandered some guilt-edged opportunities and added minor scores to their tally.

The sun began to set as the Bulldog’s hopes started to fade. It was now or never.

South showed their metal and stayed composed to help run down the clock. North made a late push but an empty forward line saw them struggle to pose a severe threat.

The Roos added a few minors before putting the game out of doubt with majors.

Coach Smith believes it was an intense and entertaining game for the players and spectators.

“I think it was a good contest and a good one to watch,” he said.

“I don’t think we respected them as much as we should of today and that showed in the first half.

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“As much as we got magnets and coaching boards, it comes down to the players to do the job.”

Final score — South 12.9 (81) defeated North 8.9 (57)

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