By Peter Argent
All four games were “live” moving into the final round of the Barossa Light and Gawler regular season last Saturday.
At Cherry Road, Angaston needed to beat Freeling by a substantial margin to ensure top spot and the minor premiership for the first time in over two decades.
In what was an outstanding all-round display, the Panthers kicked 20 goals and defeated Freeling by an emphatic 76 points.
Former Port Adelaide Magpies SANFL captain Steve Summerton was best on ground, closely followed by ruckman Marc Borholm (five goals), wingman Ryan Carnelly, Steve Rusca, defender Ben Antonie and key forward Ryder Eberhard.
With 53 goals including five in this game, Eberhard won the competition’s leading goal-kicker award with 53 majors.
Joel Cochrane was Freeling’s best followed by Sam Daff (who became a contender for the “mark of the year” award in the third quarter), Josh Hand, defender Michael O’Malley and playing coach Scott Dutschke.
Despite this loss and a modest half of the season, Freeling will play in the elimination final next Sunday at Eldred Riggs Reserve.
Jack Osborn’s South Gawler needed to beat Willaston in the annual Heinrich-McGahan Cup match and started strongly as one of the form teams of BLG football.
However, Willaston turned the game around and collect its fifth consecutive win by 22 points in the end.
Michael Howson was a key figure with six goals, while Alex Barlcay, Harrison Elbrow, the experienced Josh Waldhuter (four goals) and young indigenous talent Lee Sutton all were conspicuous.
Best for the Lions was rookie Owen Prout, followed by captain Chris James, Josh Wittwer, Don Costanzo, Henry Bennison and Daniel Golding.
In what will be a “curtain call” for the qualifying final match this Saturday, Tanunda defeated Barossa rivals Nuriootpa by 25 points.
The Magpies have the answers when it counted and got premium performances from midfielders Lachlan Earl and Riley McPharlane, while Aron Fechner and AJ Prior in defence were very strong.
Tanunda’s playing coach, 2012 Jack Oatey Medalist Dean Terlich, and the former Sturt ruckman Angus Kurtz also had their moments.
For the Tigers, the ultra-consistent Jackson Baldwin was their best, followed by fellow midfielder Billy Nicholls, on-field leader Luke Januay along with defenders Aisea “Magic” Raikiwasa and Carlson Clark.
Barossa needed to defeat Kapunda at Dutton Park to ensure its berth in the major round.
Kicking the first three goals of the game, the Bulldogs started strongly but the bottom-placed Bombers were gallant in this contest, finally going down by just 10 points – 8.13 (61) to 10.11 (71).
Michael Baraglia, the youngest son of the late former South Adelaide footballer, Aldo, was Barossa’s best followed by playing coach Todd Miles, who announced to the playing group this will be the last of his four years at the club.
Young talent Ethan Gant, Daniel Kickel, big fella up forward Jayden Goodfellow, who kicked three goals, and the mercurial Alex Stone in defence were all noteworthy for the winners.
Perhaps the best player on the ground was Kapunda’s Joey Brown, followed by the smooth-moving Mark “Postie” Cussadia, Jay Meaney, the 2019 competition’s rookie of the year Lane Curtis and youngster Kallum Brown.
With one round remaining, there is a four-way battle for elimination final places in Hills FL division one football. Uraidla Districts is currently sitting fourth with 15 points, while Mount Lofty, Blackwood and Echunga are all on 14 points and only separated by percentage in fifth, sixth and seventh positions respectively.
Last Saturday, Mount Lofty had a comfortable 45-point win over an inaccurate Blackwood who kicked four goals and 20 behinds.
Lofty’s Daniel Gonzales slotted five goals while Mark Nielsen was best on ground.
Damien Nichols, Alex Weeks and former Sturt footballer Rune Gilfoy also were significant contributors. Former West Adelaide player Scott Bricknell was the Woods’ best, followed by Jake Atkinson and another couple of West Adelaide imports, Nick Homburg and Rhys Sporn.
Hahndorf continue its unbeaten season with a 64-point win over Uraidla Districts.
In this away game, the Magpies were 45 points up and half-time and received stellar performances from Troy Parker-Boers, Sam Hayden, Dylan Matson, Ashley Eckerman and Alex Keast. Ben Salt kicked three goals for the Magpies.
For the Demons, Will Young was their best, followed by Nathan Rudolph, Chris Clements, Nathan Remnant and Harry Allen.
The Barkeroos had a big 70-point win over at Echunga at Hansen Oval, Mount Barker.
Jamie Groutch was Mount Barker’s best followed by four-goal forward Thomas Worthley, Henry Bruce Tommy Griggs and Jordy Aitchinson.
Jesse Edwards was the Demons’ leading performer, kicking three goals, as did Joel Aish.
Other noteworthy players in the navy and red included midfielder Jake Liston, Brodie Fleet, Harry Clarke and Sam Cranna.
Enjoying a bye this coming weekend, Onkaparinga Valley finished its minor round with a 13-goal win over Nairne-Bremer.
In this clash, Damian Green and triple Norwood premiership player Tim Webber were the Bulldogs’ best followed by Jake Adcock and five-goal forward Mitchell Cocciolone.
Ben Powell was the Rams’ leading player followed by Will Hooper, Lachlan Cross and Nicholas Jaensch.
Pivotal contests this week will include Echunga hosting Nairne-Bremer, Blackwood at home to the Barkeroos and Uraidla Districts versus Mt Lofty at Uraidla.
Finals football in Roxby started with the semi-final played last week between the Hornridge Magpies and the Roxby and District Football Club.
The top-placed Magpies only led by three points at half-time after conceding a 15-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
They would kick four goals to one in the third and set up the victory, with the final scoreboard reading Hornridge 10.10 (70) defeating Roxby Districts 5.8 (38).
Brendan Lehmann was the Magpies’ best followed by Michael Macarthur who kicked a couple of goals.
Josh Mewburn and the competition’s leading goal kicker, Ashley Baxter, with a haul of four goals also had an impact.
For Roxby Districts, Fraser Hayward lead the way, followed by Mitchell Di Giusto, Spencer Crafer-King, Jack Dal Santo and the distinguished Victor Buza.
Luke Godfrey kicked three of Roxby’s five goals in this contest.
This Saturday, Roxby Districts take on the East Roxby Roos in the penultimate game of the season at the Roxby Downs Town Oval starting at 2:00pm.
This year the Far North Football League has a unique final three, played over three weeks.
Last Saturday night Hornridge’s Brendan Lehmann was awarded the Far North Football League Mail Medal as the competition’s best and fairest player with 25 votes, five votes ahead of the Miners’ Craig Hall.
The Magpies’ Jack Rigden collected the under 21 best player award.
Sign up to see all the news from around the SANFL each week – directly in your inbox!