Roosters eager to snap a two game losing streak
By Dan Crouch
North Adelaide will be eager to snap a two-game losing streak on Sunday when they host Centrals at Prospect Oval. The Roosters had opportunities over the last fortnight to claim top spot on the ladder, but they will have to settle for second after a disappointing two-point loss against Glenelg followed by a 25-point loss in the top of the table clash against The Eagles. The Bulldogs will come into the game carrying more confidence than they have all season after winning their first two games of the season over the last three weeks, including last week’s upset over Norwood to potentially spoil their season. The Bulldogs will be feeling better than they have all year, but will that be enough to help them compete against one of the league’s best teams?
The midfield battle will be one to watch closely in this match up, headlined by the league’s disposal leader in James Boyd, who is averaging a whopping 31 touches per game. Boyd has been starring for more than 200 league games and appears to show no signs of slowing down, but can he find more support to take on a Roosters midfield who have consistently got the job done all year? North’s midfield boasts former AFL players Harrison Wigg and Andrew Moore, who are both among the top 10 league’s disposal leaders.
The Bulldogs’ inability to keep teams off the scoreboard this season has cost them, and North will punish them if their defence isn’t structurally sound. Centrals have allowed 940 points in their 11 games this season, which ranks dead last in the league. North Adelaide have allowed the second-fewest points this season with 697, while also outscoring Centrals for the season by 96 points. Although their defence has been a weak point, the scoring power of The Bulldogs can be competitive and has proven to be enough to outscore opponents.
Lewis Hender looms as another key player, as the forward has had another tremendous season with his ability to hit the scoreboard. He only managed to kick one goal in their last encounter with The Bulldogs earlier in the season, but with an average of more than two goals per game Hender will be a tough assignment for a poor Bulldogs defence. Ending the season as the league’s leading goalkicker may seem a longshot for Hender at this point as he trails by nine goals, but he kicked a bag of seven earlier in the season and the feat certainly isn’t out of the question for the man who leads the Roosters’ forward line.
Although Centrals will be high on confidence after a couple of good wins, North Adelaide will go in as heavy favourites as they try to put an end to their losing streak and climb towards top spot on the ladder. I expect North to get out with the win on their own turf, but not without a solid fight from a Centrals team who are starting to click late in the season.
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