CENTRAL Augusta has sent shockwaves through the Spencer Gulf League competition with an unexpected, yet inspired, victory over second-placed West Augusta.
Considering that Central have dished up some woeful performances this year, this was easily the Bloods’ best performance to date.
West were by no means poor, but without key players Nic Collins and Jordan Warren, they needed more players to step up.
Rhys Dadleh was welcomed back into the line-up and helped give his side some much-needed experience, while Jake McKenna came in for his first A Grade game of the season.
Central started strongly and were keen to prove that they would not be a walk over. They were able to kick the first goal through Kyle Colson, but West pegged them back with the next three majors and took a 13-point lead into the first change.
Central didn’t seem like a sixth-placed side, but at quarter time it looked like West would still be able to hold them off.
This theory was put to the test in the second quarter, as Central responded with a goal-kicking rampage. West spread the margin out to 19 points, but Central wrestled back the lead with five goals in a row.
Jack Muirhead proved to be a big threat up forward and kicked three in the second term, while Daniel Fisher and Tom Finlay held their own at the other end.
West needed to respond effectively and they did just that. They were fantastic to begin the second half and forced errors from Central to win the lead back.
Chris Johnson was explosive along the wing and found plenty of it, while Corie Singleton and Jason Dare-Ryan drove a number of counter attacks from the backline into the forward 50.
But Central kicked two important consecutive goals to hold steady with a 14-point three quarter time lead.
The final quarter was thrilling, as neither side could hit the scoreboard in a major way.
Hard-contested footy was won most of the time by the Bloods and their desperation proved crucial, as they went on to secure a 26-point win.
West’s Adam Bentley and Slade Laube seem to be loving their time at their new club and continue to have an impact on the game at half forward. Ty Harrison has been brilliant in the backlines and, in partnership with Corie Singleton, demonstrated leadership again.
It was a win that could turn Central’s season around and they were ably led by young gun Jack Dalgleish, who is showing plenty of promise.
West will be looking to get back on the winner’s list next week against Port after two consecutive defeats, while Central will take on an improved PropRisdon Lions side.
Meanwhile, Solomontown capitalised on West’s loss to extend their lead at the top of the SGL ladder, defeating Lions by four goals on Saturday, June 24 at Port Oval.