Dogs do it again as Central survives brave Eagles

NOT for the first time in recent history has Central District found a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but the Bulldogs’ belief was on show yet again as they came from behind to knock off a determined Woodville-West Torrens in Round 8 of the SANFL Women’s.

In eerily similar circumstances to last year’s grand final, Central District trailed for most of the match, and by as much as 11 points eight minutes into the final term, only for the Dogs to dig deep and boot the last two goals of the match and celebrate a 6.4 (40) to 6.2 (38) victory.

Contested marking forward Katelyn Rosenzweig bounced back from an inaccurate display the week before to find the big stick three times, including the match-winner in the dying minutes of the match. Clunking a great grab out in front, she went back and delivered with a clutch set shot to hand her side the lead, and eventually the win.

Though it was not quite the last kick of the game like in last year’s decider, it was enough. The Eagles did have one last roll of the dice with ruck Brooklyn Kraft launching from long-range, but the Central District defence was up to the task with Under 16s All-Australian Miyu Endersby able to clunk a fantastic intercept mark in the goalsquare just before the siren.

It was a bitter blow for the Eagles who were impressive throughout the match, though could never quite land the final blow despite their best efforts. When Brianna Walling went forward and kicked two final term goals – including a response to Rosenzweig’s second in the final term – it looked like the Eagles were going to take a huge scalp.

Central District was not at its best on the day, but with a quarter to play, the Bulldogs were never out of it. Coach Ben Hunt emphasised the change that had occurred over the third quarter with his side taking 20 marks to four in the third term, after being 20-19 at half-time. They were getting their hands on the ball more and controlling the tempo, but just needed the breakthrough goal.

To that stage, the duo of Olivia Evans and Rosette Zerella had proved the thorns in their side, kicking two majors each in the first half, while a third quarter goal to Lauren Breguet edged the margin back within four points at the last change.

As expected, the Eagles brought the heat all game, laying a whopping 104 tackles in the match, an area they have become the best in the league at. With the game on the line, Hunt urged his Dogs to lift, and lift they did, matching the Eagles’ tackle numbers in the final term with 34 apiece in a brutal defensive performance from both sides.

When it was all said and done though, the Dogs were able to find targets, with Jasmine Evans setting up a pinpoint pass to Karissa Searle, and almost snapping a goal herself to kick the match-winner. It would not be the first time Evans had done so, with the Redlegs too familiar with the top-ager’s ability to turn a game on its head. Instead this time, it was the experienced Rosenzweig who took it upon herself to nail the goal, and moved within two majors of the leading goalkicker award.

Rosenzweig would ultimately be the difference with three goals from 15 disposals, three marks, eight hitouts, three clearances and five inside 50s as she rotated into the ruck against the experienced Leah Cutting. Captain Shelby Smith starred all game, racking up 29 disposals, eight clearances and 15 tackles, while getting her side on the board in the opening minute of the game.

Meanwhile Dakota Williams stepped up to play her best game for the Dogs, complementing Smith with seven clearances and six tackles from 18 disposals, while Caitlin Wendland (15 disposals, five marks, 13 tackles and six clearances) was ever-dangerous. In defence, double bottom-ager Tara Lord provided aerial assistance, while Breguet impressed working at both ends.

For the Eagles, Cutting was dominant in the ruck with 39 hitouts from 11 touches and five tackles, going up against the trio of Rosenzweig and athletic duo Charlotte Riggs and Miyu Endersby. Through the midfield, Grace Martin overcame being crunched in a tackle to amass 20 touches, three marks, three tackles, three clearances and six inside 50, working well with Poppy Waterford and Marlie Fiegert on the inside, while skipper Annie Falkenberg and bottom-ager Imogen Trengove were also impressive.

WWT EAGLES 3.0 | 4.0 | 4.1 | 6.2 (38)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.3 | 6.4 (40)

WWT Eagles:
O. Evans 2, R. Zerella 2, B. Walling 2
Central District: K. Rosenzweig 3, S. Smith, L. Breguet, K. Searle

WWT Eagles:
P. Waterford, A. Falkenberg, L. Cutting, G. Martin, I. Trengove
Central District: S. Smith, K. Rosenzweig, D. Williams, C. Wendland, L. Breguet

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