By ZAC MILBANK
Glenelg was desperate to be on the right end of a close one.
Just six days after wasting a host of opportunities to pinch an amazing come-from-behind win against South Adelaide, the Bays showed gritty determination to hold off a fast-finishing Sturt outfit by nine points at ACH Group Stadium on Good Friday.
With every one of the Tigers’ 21 playing their part, the hosts had built what looked to be a match-defining 16-point lead at the final change.
In the space of three minutes deep into time-on of the third quarter, Glenelg had banged on three goals in succession, livewire forward Lachie Hosie booting two of his four for the night and classy Marlon Motlop nailing one on the run after winning the centre clearance.
But the momentum Glenelg built was suddenly snuffed out when Sturt responded early in the final term, with Ken Farmer Medallist Mark Evans putting the Double Blues within two points after kicking two of his three goals in succession.
Just as it appeared the Double Blues would roll on with the win, the Tigers dug deep, ran out the game strongly through the midfield and provided late opportunities for their forwards.
After playing his role in the dramatic comeback last round, Glenelg forward Luke Reynolds was at it again, this time snapping from tight on the boundary line only to have his potential Goal of the Week contender touched on the line by a valiant Steven Slimming.
But Reynolds wasn’t to be denied two minutes later, positioning himself beautifully at the fall of the ball to crumb and snap truly from straight in front for the sealing goal much to the delight of the Tiger faithful on Snouts Hill.
Bays captain Chris Curran was again outstanding in defence to be one of many players putting his hand up for inclusion in the best players list, while Jonty Scharenberg and Marlon Motlop were particularly constructive through the midfield, the latter using his pace to positive effect.
Hosie was the most dangerous forward on the ground with his seven shots on goal yielding 4.3 to go with his 17 disposals and six marks.
The Double Blues enjoyed yet another masterclass from captain Zane Kirkwood, who in the past fortnight has returned to his brilliant Magarey Medal-winning best.
The Fos Williams Medallist had a game high 36 disposals as he displayed his tremendous work ethic to get to an endless amount of contests while distributing the ball with precision by foot.
James Battersby also worked tirelessly for the visitors to finish with 28 touches while defenders Sam Colquhoun, Fraser Evans and Jack Stephens set up countless opportunities from the back half.
The Double Blues will now get an nine-day break until they host South at Peter Motley Oval in Round 5, contrasting the Bays’ brief build up to facing West Adelaide next Wednesday night at City Mazda Stadium.
GLENELG 2.4 6.5 10.9 11.13 (79)
STURT 4.2 7.3 8.5 10.10 (70)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Glenelg: Scharenberg 25, Partington 22, Curran, Nicholson 21, Motlop 20, McCarthy 19, Betterman, Bradley, Gregson 18, Chalmers, Hosie 17.
Sturt: Kirkwood 36, Colquhoun 30, Battersby 28, F. Evans 26, Stephens 25, Crocker, Pearce 22, Carey 20, Sumner 18.
GOALS – Glenelg: Hosie 4, Motlop 2, McBean, McCarthy, Reynolds, Scharenberg, White.
Sturt: M. Evans 3, Condon 2, Dodd, Pearce, Riley, Slimming, Sutcliffe.
Central District inflicted more pain on a wounded North Adelaide, carving out a gritty seven-point win at Prospect Oval.
Setting up the win with Troy Menzel proving dangerous in the first half, the Bulldogs were able to cling on during a tight second half as the hosts fought on in the absence of hamstrung captain Max Thring and with star midfielder Aidan Tropiano breaking his nose.
Menzel, who played for Tea Tree Gully in Division 1 of the Adelaide Footy League last year, is gradually finding his feet at SANFL level again as he continues to build with each outing this season.
And the former Crows and Carlton goalsneak had a significant influence on constructing his team’s victory by booting his first goal with just 59 seconds on the first quarter time clock.
By the time the silky-skilled left footer had his fourth 20 minutes into the second stanza, the Dogs were slowly gaining the upper hand on North Adelaide as they established a two-goal buffer nearing half-time.
Much-improved Central utility Nick Gillard pushed the advantage out to a significant 16 points six minutes into the third term as the banking of premiership points looked increasingly likely.
With their backs to the wall, the hosts – without coach Josh Carr who stayed home with illness – showed plenty of spirit to get within one point when RAA Rookie Strato Agorastos kicked his third goal on debut with more than half of the final term to play.
But that’s when, for the second round in succession, classy Central forward Justin Hoskin again imposed himself on the outcome of the match to boot his second for the final quarter, matching the same feat he produced in a best afield performance against West six days earlier.
Menzel and Hoskin were instrumental in the victory for the Dogs, who have now strung two in a row together while the Schiller brothers were again effective, Jarrod also booting two majors.
Agorastos was a major positive in his first outing for the Roosters, as was the form of veteran Jarred Allmond, who tallied 32 disposals, seven marks and six clearances.
The loss will again sting Josh Carr’s side, which is now laden with a 1-3 win-loss record while also having negative two premiership points for the Preliminary Final punishment last year.
They look set to face Norwood on Anzac Day without key leaders Thring and Mitch Clisby who have injured their hamstrings while Central will prepare for Adelaide at X Convenience Oval next Saturday.
CENTRAL 5.3 7.6 8.12 10.13 (73)
NORTH 2.5 5.7 7.10 9.12 (66)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Central: T. Schiller 30, Habel, J. Schiller 22, D. Pisani 21, Goodrem, Jydon Neagle 20, Fort, Menzel 19, Hoskin, Jenner, Presbury 18.
North: Tropiano 24, Olekalns 23, Combe 20, Laurie 19, Deep, Smith 18, Castree, Spina 17.
GOALS – Central: Menzel 4, Hoskin 3, J. Schiller 2, Gillard.
North: Agorastos 3, Harvey, Ramsey 2, Jarman, Miller.
SANFL’s lowest scoring side sprang to life on Good Friday, West Adelaide booting 18 goals in its convincing 37-point victory against the Eagles at City Mazda Stadium.
After booting just five majors for the afternoon against Central in Round 3, the Bloods equalled their tally by the first change en route to posting their first victory of the 2019 campaign.
With 2015 premiership favourites Will Snelling (43 disposals) and Jonathan Beech (four goals) the cornerstones in victory, the hosts proved they don’t deserve to sit outside the top five if they produce their best footy.
West coach Gavin Colville pleaded with his men to provide him with a four-quarter performance after only threatening in patches during the opening three rounds.
And they did exactly that as they led by as much as 55 points when John Noble kicked truly five minutes into the final term.
Prolific Kaine Stevens (30 disposals and a goal) this time had plenty of assistance through Noble, improving Murray Waite and Hawthorn utility Dallas Willsmore, while inexperienced pair Patrick Fairlie and Elliot Dunkin continued their progression with 25 disposals each.
West captain Tom Keough provided a nice foil for Beech to finish with 22 disposals, two goals and nine marks inside 50m but Snelling’s stunning form was the significant takeaway as the former Power midfielder also chalked up a goal, nine marks, seven tackles and seven clearances.
The Eagles have now gone through a rare form slump in losing three matches consecutively under new coach Sam Lonergan.
In his first game for the club since 2012, Jimmy Toumpas collected a team-high 28 disposals across half-back while Jordan Foote only blotted his copybook in front of goal with three behinds while finishing with 26 touches and six marks.
The visitors will now have to refocus before fronting up against Port Adelaide at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Sunday week while the Bloods will be hoping Josh Schiller (shoulder) and Lachlan Evans (hamstring) can recover to face Glenelg next Wednesday.
WEST 5.6 8.7 15.8 18.8 (116)
EAGLES 1.4 4.10 6.13 11.13 (79)
LEADING DISPOSALS – West: Snelling 43, K. Stevens 30, Noble, Waite, Willsmore 27, Dunkin, Fairlie 25, Beech 23, Keough 22, Schmidt 21.
Eagles: Toumpas 28, Foote 26, Boyd, Lonergan 25, Petrenko 20, Rowe, Sharrad, Thompson 16, Hall 15.
GOALS -West: Beech 4, Keough, Noble, G. Turner 2, Anderson, Hill, Johnson, Middleton, Snelling, K. Stevens, Waite, Willsmore.
Eagles: J. Hayes, Haylock, Sharrad 2, J. Gaffney, Goldsworthy, Hall, Johansen, Rowe.