A Nick Gillard-inspired Central District overcame a goalless first quarter to hold off West Adelaide by 18 points at X Convenience Oval.
With star goal scorer Justin Hoskin serving the first of a two-match suspension, the Bulldogs found an admirable replacement against the Bloods as Gillard bobbed up to boot half of their goals.
The left-foot livewire kicked three of his five in a second term purple patch as the hosts slammed on 6.3 to West’s 1.3 to take a handy 18-point lead into the main change.
Then Gillard snapped two more to start the third quarter, ensuring he would not only open up a match high 32-point lead for the Dogs but also take home the Coles Valued Player Award.
The visitors closed to within two goals during time-on of the third term and when Josh Gore kicked his second just three minutes into the final stanza.
But even the brilliance of Kaine Stevens wasn’t enough for the Bloods to gain any more traction as Central played the clock nicely with the guidance of coach Paul Thomas providing valuable instruction from the boundary line.
Aside from Gillard’s handful of majors, the Bulldogs were powered by the Schiller brothers in the middle, with Travis collecting 28 disposals and Jarrod 24, to go with his nine clearances.
Matt Neagle and Dylan Weaver were constructive off half-back while Fraser Fort provided an important target in attack for Central with his 15 disposals and a goal.
Stevens worked tirelessly to get his side into the game, throwing himself into contests while racking up 31 disposals and a contender for Channel 7 Goal of the Week, featured in the clip below.
Smooth-moving West defender Elliot Dunkin finished with a game-high 36 possessions while Jordon Boyle found plenty of space on his wing to tally 28 disposals and six marks against his former club.
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