By ZAC MILBANK
Former Redleg Chris Olsson came back to haunt his old team as Central District produced a stunning 13-point upset over Norwood at X Convenience Oval.
Landing at Elizabeth in the off-season, the smooth-moving forward was the difference-maker with two goals and a goal assist in the final term for the bullish Bulldogs.
Norwood looked like breaking away from the hosts on several occasions throughout the afternoon, particularly after Mitch Grigg’s classy major on the run late in the third term opened up a 13-point lead.
But the ultra-loyal Ben Nason gave Central critical impetus heading into the final change when the umpires declared his fine finish on the run was kicked just before the three-quarter time siren sounded.
It trimmed the deficit to seven-points and was the perfect reply to Grigg’s goal, which would be the Redlegs’ last for the match after managing just one behind – to Cam Shenton in the 27th minute – in the fourth quarter.
Olsson put on a show for the Bulldog faithful, showing off his exceptional speed to crumb the ball at pace before running into an open goal five minutes into the final term.
The Tea Tree Gully product then put his side in front 19 minutes in when he ran on to a loose ball, zig-zagged and snapped truly from 30m.
Central’s advantage doubled to 12 points entering time-on when Olsson fed a nice handball to first-year recruit Jack Toner who kicked his snap goal from 20m.
It proved to be enough for the Dogs to hold on as they recorded their second in win in three weeks, this time against the highly-fancied Redlegs.
John Butcher starred for Central in attack, booting 5.3 to go with his seven marks as he enjoyed plenty of service from prolific midfielders James Boyd (37 disposals and seven clearances) and Travis Schiller (34 disposals and six clearances.
Former Richmond forward Nason produced arguably his best game of League footy with 32 disposals and 12 marks as he ran hard on his wing while the wise heads of Jarrod Schiller, Luke Habel and Kyle Jenner were also important.
Norwood interestingly won the inside-50m count by 52 to 35 despite having less of the ball overall and 16 fewer marks.
Star players Richard Douglas, Matthew Nunn, Ryan Bastinac and Grigg all found plenty of the ball, with Douglas having an exceptional 37 disposals, eight marks and four clearances.
Captain Matt Panos kicked three early goals for the Redlegs but ultimately this will be viewed at The Parade as a costly loss, particularly after top-four side South slipped to Sturt at Unley on the same day.
CENTRALS: 4.2 8.3 12.5 15.8 (98)
NORWOOD: 4.2 8.6 13.6 13.7 (85)
GOALKICKERS: Panos 3, Grugg 2, Pinyon 2, Abbott, Bampton, Barry, Gerloff, Nunn
BEST: Douglas, Nunn, Panos, Wilkins