By ZAC MILBANK
Glenelg catapulted itself into its first title-decider in 11 years after running over the top of Adelaide for a 27-point win in Sunday’s Preliminary Final at Adelaide Oval.
Trailing by eight points at half-time and appearing to look heavy in the legs against a fleet-footed Crows outfit, the Bays dug deep to boot five goals to one in the third quarter as it booked a berth in the Grand Final against Port Adelaide next Sunday.
With its three key forwards – Luke Reynolds (5), Liam McBean (4) and Josh Scott (3) – contributing 12 of the team’s 16 goals between them, Glenelg broke the game open with a defining purple patch nearing three-quarter time.
McBean, who overcame a hamstring complaint to take his place in the 21, kicked two goals in the space of as many minutes but it was his second which proved decisive.
In the clip below, Tiger Marlon Motlop paddled the ball out of the centre square to finish up beating his three Crows opponents to the 50-50 ball before handballing to Darcy Bailey, who hit up McBean on the lead.
McBean converted to give his side an 11-point lead which soon stretched to 17 once Josh Scott booted his second after clunking a strong contested mark from deep in the pack.
Minutes later the Bays’ No.15 was in agony on the ground after having the wind knocked out of him in another heavy marking contest, forcing him from the field on the verge of the final change.
Scott emerged to play a significant role in finishing off the Crows in the final term, snaring a juggled mark on the lead after a nice one-two play with Cory Gregson ended up with a neat pass to him on the lead.
The ensuing set shot finish from Scott stretched the margin out to 32 points nearing the 10-minute mark of the final term as Tiger fans began to celebrate their first finals win since the Preliminary decider against Sturt in 2008.
The Bays bolted out of the blocks with the first four goals of the game as Reynolds took a hanger in the forward pocket to open his team’s account just 91 seconds after the first bounce.
But Adelaide showed tremendous grit as it slowly worked its way back into the cut-throat clash, having weathered the Bays’ early onslaught.
Former Tiger Darcy Fogarty was looking ominous in the centre square, Tyson Stengle and Shane McAdam were causing headaches inside 50m and star midfielder Patrick Wilson was his usual imposing self at the stoppages en route to 29 disposals and seven clearances.
With Jordan Boyle and Ned McHenry finding plenty of ball on the outside of the contest and 1st Semi-Final hero James Mathews starting to run and carry with his trademark dash, Heath Younie’s charges threatened to cause an upset.
But the Bays had too many contributors for Adelaide to overcome with Brad Agnew setting the tone in the centre square with his ferocious attack on the ball to tally 27 disposals, 10 tackles and eight clearances.
This helped to free up the likes of classy Motlop (20 disposals and two goals) and newly-crowned Magarey Medallist Luke Partington, who took a clever juggling mark in the pocket before kicking truly midway through the third term.
Jesse White was again vital in the ruck all afternoon as he tallied 18 disposals, seven clearances and 19 hit outs while defenders Chris Curran, Max Proud and Will Gould were all typically resolute for the Tigers.
Glenelg will now look to recover after appearing to escape the contest without any major injury concerns while Adelaide will reflect on its outstanding rise from the wooden spoon last year to a third-placing with astute mentor Younie back in charge this season.
GLENELG 4.3 6.4 11.7 16.9 (105)
ADELAIDE 2.2 7.6 8.7 11.12 (78)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Glenelg: Partington 28, Agnew 27, Bradley 23, Motlop 21, Gould, White 18, Curran, Reynolds 17, Nicholson 16.
Adelaide: Wilson 29, Sholl 24, Boyle 19, McHenry, Poholke 18, Wright 17.
GOALS -Glenelg: Reynolds 5, McBean 4, Scott 3, Motlop 2, Partington, Snook.
Adelaide: Fogarty, Gallucci, McAdam, Stengle 2, Davis, Hunter, Mathews.
UMPIRES – Andrew Crosby, Rowan Hundertmark, Thomas Bryce
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