Hostplus League

2022 Elimination Final Preview

The likely battle between Glenelg's Alex Martini and Sturt's Josh Hone looms as a pivotal on in the Elimination Final. Picture - Scott Starkey


Glenelg will take on Sturt in a do-or-die elimination final to kick off the Hostplus SANFL League Finals Series.

The Bays enter the clash having finished fourth on the ladder at the end of the minor round. Despite an inconsistent season, the Tigers are no strangers to Adelaide Oval, having qualified for their fourth-straight finals series after previously missing out in seven consecutive seasons between 2012-2018. Brett Hand’s men will be out for revenge, having been defeated by Woodville-West Torrens in last season’s decider, however the last losing grand finalist to recover and win flag the following year was Central District back in 2007.


Meanwhile, Sturt enter the game having defeated minor premier North Adelaide on its muddy Wigan Oval home ground in round 19. The Double Blues, coached by club legend Marty Mattner, won five of their last seven matches to edge out the Eagles and Panthers and book their spot in the finals. However, things didn’t look so good when they lost four out of five matches in the middle of the season. Sturt haven’t played in the finals since 2019, and will be looking to claim their first finals victory since 2017 when they claimed the Thomas Seymour Trophy as premiers.


Glenelg have won the past six clashes between the two sides, with Sturt’s last triumph coming back in round 18 of 2019 when the home side won by 12 points. The Tigers have also had the edge over the Double Blues at Adelaide Oval, where the Tigers have defeated Sturt in their past five finals encounters. This season, the two sides played off in a nail-biting round two match, with Glenelg coming from behind at three-quarter time to claim the win by eight points. However, Glenelg proved too good in round 10 this season, where the Bays dominated to the tune of 67 points in front of the largest crowd of the minor round.


Glenelg finished the minor round as the second-ranked tackling side, averaging 73.6 per game, whereas Sturt placed eighth with an average of 58.9 per match. Perhaps surprisingly, given the strength of both clubs midfields, Sturt and Glenelg sit last and second last in clearances allowed per game. With midfield mainstays Luke Partington (Glenelg) and Patrick Wilson (Sturt) both set to miss the clash, the on-ball battle is set to play a critical role in determining who will meet the loser of Adelaide and Norwood’s Qualifying Final.


Sturt may look to gain the ascendancy in the ruck, with the Tigers allowing the most hit-outs per game. Sturt big man Daniel Fahey-Sparks will be aiming to give his midfield first look, despite Glenelg potentially pushing three-time Ken Farmer Medallist Liam McBean into the ruck. Glenelg has controlled the ball well all season, ranking third for possessions per game (333.9) compared to Sturt’s ninth-placed rank (301.3). Despite giving opponents more of the ball, Mattner has ensured the Sturt backline has been difficult to score against, ranking second in points conceded (63.1) behind only Norwood (61.2).

Key Match-Ups

Matthew Snook (Glenelg) v James Battersby (Sturt)

The midfield battle between Glenelg tough nut Matthew Snook and Sturt skipper James Battersby is set to be grudge match. The leading handballer in the competition, Snook’s influence in-and-under and at stoppages cannot be understated. His contested ball winning has been vital to Glenelg’s possession-based game style. In round 18, Norwood’s Nick Lowden was tasked with curtailing the midfielder, restricting Snook to just 16 disposals and three clearances – his lowest tallies of the season for both areas. However the Bays champion will be tough to keep in-check again, having recorded at-least 30 disposals on five occasions this season to finish with an average of 26.4 touches, 5.8 tackles and 6.8 clearances in 17 matches.

Battersby has been a model of consistency this season for the Double Blues, averaging 26 disposals, 5.1 marks, 4.8 tackles and 5.9 clearances in 18 games. Like Snook, the Sturt leader recorded five games of at-least 30 possessions, and was held to under 20 possessions on just three occasions. With fellow inside ball-winner Tommy Lewis recently returning to the Double Blues midfield rotation, the pair will be eager to stop the Bays from getting the game on their terms at the coal face. Snook and Battersby aren’t typically goal-kicking midfielders, but will be mainstays for their respective teams in the midfield.


Lachlan Hosie (Glenelg) v Casey Voss (Sturt)

Although Glenelg spearhead Lachlan Hosie and Sturt marking machine Casey Voss may not spend much time directly opposed to one another, the pair will both play vital roles in the elimination final. Having spent time on North Melbourne’s AFL list from 2019-2020, Hosie’s return to the Bay has been a fruitful one. The medium forward booted 43 goals in 18 league games this season to finish second in the Ken Farmer Medal, behind only Woodville-West Torrens Daniel Menzel. Boasting excellent aerial skills and the ability to finish off at ground level, Hosie kicked a goal in all-but one match, where the Crows backline kept him quiet after he booted five goals and took four contested marks the previous week against Port. He also booted five of Glenelg’s nine goals in their round five loss to the Magpies. Hosie doesn’t need many possessions to have a big impact on the game, having also kicked five bags of three and a couple of hauls of four in his 18 games. Sturt must look to keep him quiet.

Casey Voss continues to go from strength-to-strength following another terrific year at Unley. The competition’s leading marker, his work rate to get up the ground and involve himself in the play, then drop back and assist in defence when required is excellent. The son of Brisbane great and current Carlton coach Michael Voss, Casey won the Fos Williams Medal for best on ground against WA mid-year to prove he will stand-up in bigger games. Averaging 23.7 disposals, 9.2 marks, 4.3 inside-50s and 4.9 rebounds in 18 league matches, Voss has been particularly influential in the second half of the season, where he hasn’t dropped under 20 disposals since the Eagles kept him to 14 touches in round eight. Voss and the Sturt half-back line will have their work cut out for them keeping dangerous Glenelg forwards such as Hosie and big-man Liam McBean in-check, but doing so will give Martin Mattner’s men the best chance of progressing to week two.

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