Sturt has won the 2017 Reserves Premiership after holding a gallant West Adelaide at bay by just 15 points in the Grand Final at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Leading at every change in the title-decider, the Double Blues clung on to record a remarkable comeback flag considering they were sitting with a 2-7 win-loss record earlier in the season.
Coach Gianni Pettrucci and his team never lost faith though, resulting in a memorable victory against the Bloods, who had risen from fifth spot to qualify for the Grand Final.
Talented Sturt utility Dwayne Wilson was a fitting winner of the Bob Lee Medal as best afield, racking up an equal game high 26 disposals to go with his seven tackles, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s.
His effort was epitomised by a goal-saving tackle late in the final term which effectively ensured the Bloods would be kept at arm’s length.
At the final change, it looked like the Double Blues would win comfortably, after establishing a 22-point lead on the back of a four-goal to two quarter.
But West, coached by former Eagles captain Gavin Colville, refused to roll over, with Jacob Carger leading the way with 26 touches and ten tackles while Murray Waite and Isaac Johnson also finding plenty of the ball.
Sturt had too many strong contributors across every line, with midfielders Mitch Crowden (20 disposals), Jake Veale (20 disposals) and Campbell Wildman (19 disposals) all doing their bit while Sean Samblich not only chalked up 18 disposals in attack but also booted two handy goals.
Ruckman Daniel Fahey-Sparks had a whopping 44 hitouts, nine disposals and eight tackles while Brandon Zerk-Thatcher looked poised in defence as he also took an eye-catching mark on on the western wing.
Double Blues captain Henry Voigt, kicking a game-high three majors, provided an important presence in attack for the premiers while promising teenagers Jordan Houlahan and Charlie Ballard kicked a goal each en route to joining Crowden in winning an U18 Premiership Medal last Sunday in the Torrens Uni Cup Grand Final.
RESERVES GRAND FINAL SCOREBOARD
Sturt 4.1 5.3 9.6 10.8 (68)
West 2.3 3.8 5.8 7.11 (53)
BEST – Sturt: D. Wilson, Crowden, Wildman, Samblich, Voigt, Fahey-Sparks, Zerk-Thatcher, Veale.
West: Carger, I. Johnson, Waite, Peter, J. Evans.
GOALS – Sturt: Voigt 3, Samblich, Penfold 2, Coulson, Ballard, Houlahan.
West: Peter 2, Anderson, Waite, Vassallo, Pillion, O. Johnson.
UMPIRES – Mitchell Harris, Sam Morgan, Scott Galletly.
BOB LEE MEDAL – Dwayne Wilson (Sturt)
AT ADELAIDE OVAL
CHIEF SANFL WRITER