North Adelaide managed to hold off a spirited Glenelg outfit by just 10 points in an engaging battle at Gliderol Stadium.
With captain Max Thring celebrating his 100th Macca’s League match, his Rooster team-mates were determined to recognise his milestone in a positive manner.
Trailing by one point at half-time, the visitors were much cleaner with the ball than the Tigers during the third quarter as they edged ahead to lead by 14 points at the final change.
With both sides having a similar amount of disposals and similar kick-to-handball ratio, it was the Roosters who manufactured seven more inside 50 entries to their advantage.
North produced the first six scoring shots of the second half, with former Richmond utility Matt McDonough giving Josh Carr’s men a 19-point break with a long goal in front of the Bays’ clubrooms.
This proved to be definitive in the context of the match as Glenelg fought on with two goals to Ian Milera before three quarter-time but eventually found this margin too great to overcome.
Glenelg forward Josh Scott brought his side to within eight points when he nailed a set shot from 45m near the boundary to open the final term.
But it seemed that whenever Glenelg scored, sharp-shooting Roosters Keenan Ramsey and Alex Spina would respond with cool finishes from challenging set shots at the other end.
Former Rooster Nick Amato – who spent last season winning the Mail Medal with Uraidla in the Hills Football League – threatened to produce a miracle comeback by booting three of his four goals in the fourth quarter.
The last of which got the hosts within three points 18 minutes in but the poised Roosters slowed the play down, maintained possession and finished with another to Spina to claim the premiership points.
Thring was fittingly the leading possession-winner on the ground with 28 while Sandover Medallist Aidan Tropiano also made his presenve felt through the midfield for North to finish with 26.
Glenelg’s highest disposal-winner was defender Max Proud, who again battled valiantly against much taller opponents, while Amato, Matt Snook and Jonty Scharenberg had their moments.
Another positive for the Bays was the solid debut of BankSA Rookie Jack Yates, who hit his targets in defence while collecting 20 disposals and taking nine marks.
NORTH 3.3 5.5 9.8 12.10 (82)
GLENELG 2.3 5.6 7.6 11.6 (72)
LEADING DISPOSALS – North: Thring 28, Tropiano 26, C. Craig 23, Allmond, Castree 21, Spina, Smith 20.
Glenelg: Proud 23, Snook 22, Scharenberg 21, Amato, Yates, Nicholson 20.
GOALS – North: Ramsey, Spina 3, Hender 2, Schwarz, Harvey, Tropiano, McDonough.
Glenelg: Amato 4, I. Milera, Scott 2, Close, Schott, Motlop.
South Adelaide powered away from Sturt in the fourth quarter to earn a memorable eight-point victory at Peter Motley Oval.
After weathering a Sturt storm in the third quarter – in which the hosts kicked 4.5 to 2.4 – the Panthers finished much stronger to pile on 4.1 after three-quarter time in a low-scoring affair.
South recruit Anthony Biemans proved influential in the final stanza, kicking the opening goal of the term to give his side the lead while also laying a crucial tackle on Josh Hone with just 15 seconds left on the clock.
In between, Sturt ruckman Jack Osborn converted a big contested mark just outside the goal square to put his side within one point 10 minutes into the fourth term.
But then South’s Matt Rankine kicked a 50m set shot after taking a nice overhead mark before evergreen veteran Nick Liddle put his side in control with a classic snap shot from 20m.
Sturt defender Tom Harms booted a long range goal from 50m after accepting the handball from Jack Stephens but ultimately the eight-point gap 25 minutes in proved too much for the hosts to overcome.
The victory will give the Panthers plenty of belief, with Liddle and Magarey Medallist Joel Cross continuing to wind back the clock with their stunning form to register 56 disposals between them.
Consistent defender Joe Haines had another sound game, collecting 21 touches and a goal while Ben Heaslip (19 touches) is steadily developing into a first-choice midfielder.
The only sour note will be the health of talented young forward Nathan Kreuger, who after kicking three goals, left the ground late in the final term after Biemans fell on him in a marking contest.
The Double Blues have now lost three games at home this season, and will be left to rue their inefficiency in front of goal considering they had a staggering 13 more inside 50 entries.
Captain Zane Kirkwood and James Battersby were again among the ball winners for the hosts, who also had Harms play one of his best games of the year with 24 disposals and two goals.
SOUTH 2.0 5.3 7.7 11.8 (74)
STURT 1.4 3.5 7.10 9.12 (66)
LEADING DISPOSALS – South: Liddle 29, Cross 27, Haines 21, Heaslip 19, Davis 18, Hunter, Rankine, Summerton 16.
Sturt: Kirkwood 27, Harms 24, Battersby 23, Colquhoun, F. Evans, Greenslade 20, Crocker 19, Thiele, Stephens 18.
GOALS – South: Kreuger 3, Liddle, Rankine 2, Cross, Biemans, Fitt, Haines.
Sturt: Taggert, Dodd, Harms 2, Thiele, Osborn, Sumner.
CHIEF SANFL WRITER