By ZAC MILBANK
It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.
It is a well worn saying but it couldn’t be more fitting to describe Woodville-West Torrens’ start to the season after it accounted for South Adelaide by 42 points at Maughan Thiem Hyundai Oval on Saturday.
New Eagles coach Sam Lonergan has been introducing new facets to his team’s gameplan after Michael Godden’s nine-year tenure finished at the end of 2018.
After winning their opening game of the season against North, the Eagles went on a rare five-match losing streak as they grappled with Lonergan’s instructions.
But after stringing together wins against top-five teams Norwood and South in successive weeks, it’s fair to say the boys at Oval Avenue are now finding their way.
”It’s taken some time to adjust to the new structures but that’s two wins in a row now so we look forward to taking on Central next week,” Eagles forward Nick Hayes told Channel 7 after the match.
Eagles ruckman Seb Guilhaus echoed Hayes’ thoughts.
”We’ve been implementing some new structures and plans and we are really starting to gel now which is awesome,” Guilhaus said.
After a slow start against the Panthers, which yielded just four behinds in the opening term, the hosts clicked into action during the second quarter to lead by a point at the main change.
And this was despite losing star recruit Jimmy Toumpas for the rest of the match after he injured his hamstring before quarter-time.
Then, the two men who spent time on the interchange bench with injury concerns in James Rowe (shoulder) and Jordan Foote (leg), played major roles arresting the momentum in the Eagles’ favour.
Rowe sprang to life with a third-quarter purple patch which resulted in kicking two goals himself and setting up Nick Hayes with an unselfish centering pass from the forward pocket.
Suddenly, the margin stretched out to 26 points nearing three-quarter time as Foote went to work in constructing the opening two goals of the fourth quarter.
The former Sydney Swan, who finished with 27 disposals, created consecutive goals for Louis Sharrad and Matt Goldsworthy to give the Eagles a match-winning 32-point break 10 minutes into the final stanza.
Goldsworthy, Sharrad and Jared Petrenko were also influential in the positive result for the Eagles while experienced ruckman Jarrad Redden tallied 18 possessions and 23 hit outs as he made the most of the absence of South bigman Michael Knoll, who was selected in the AFL Mid-Season Draft.
Raw South ruckman Cameron McGree showed flashes of great flexibility at ground level to tally 12 disposals in just his second Statewide Super League game.
Panthers co-captain Joel Cross finished with 32 disposals after having 17 at the main change as he filled his stat sheet with 11 marks, five tackles and eight clearances.
But South will be forced to regroup ahead of its next clash with Norwood on the Queen’s Birthday Holiday Monday.
EAGLES 0.4 4.6 9.9 12.15 (87)
SOUTH 2.4 4.5 5.8 6.9 (45)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Eagles: Foote 27, Petrenko 24, Goldsworthy, Sharrad, Sinor 23, Johansen, Lonergan 22, Poole 20.
South: Cross 32, Heaslip, Liddle 21, Noble 20, Haines, Overall 17.
GOALS -Eagles: N. Hayes, Rowe 2, J. Gaffney, Goldsworthy, Guilhaus, J. Hayes, Johansen, Lonergan, J. Redden, Sharrad.
South: Fitt 2, Bogle, Karpany, Liddle, Overall.
Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs celebrated a rare SANFL appearance with a five-goal haul in the Crows’ comfortable 31-point win against North Adelaide at Prospect Oval.
Playing his first Statewide Super League match since Round 3 of 2011, Jacobs had four goals before half-time before finishing with five to have a significant influence in his team’s win.
Returning from knee surgery, the experienced 31-year-old tallied 28 hit outs to go with his 20 disposals, nine marks and five clearances to push his claims for an immediate recall to AFL action.
Standing at 203cm, Jacobs caused match-up problems for the Roosters whenever he drifted inside 50m while also causing headaches for inexperienced North ruck Jack Blair.
Adelaide led by eight points at the first change before taking control of the contest during the second term by booting six goals to North’s one, opening up a 38-point buffer at the main change.
Crows midfielder Myles Poholke (20 disposals) continued his habit of hitting the scoreboard at SANFL level to slot through four majors, two of which came from long range on the paint of 50m.
Veteran Crow Richard Douglas lifted his output significantly in his second SANFL match back from a serious ankle injury, collecting 31 disposals, eight clearances and a goal while captain Matt Wright found plenty of the ball to tally 26 touches.
The Roosters attempted to battle their way back into the match but were only able to get within 25 points early in the last quarter.
Premiership utility Alex Barns returned to form with 19 disposals, six marks and 3.3 while Tom Schwarz and Campbell Combe worked hard in the midfield for 24 disposals each.
Sandover Medallist Aidan Tropiano collected 20 possessions and took an impressive one-handed mark in the first term before kicking North’ opening goal of the game.
But it wasn’t enough to overcome the talent-laden Crows, as the hosts now prepare to face Glenelg at the Bay on the Queen’s Birthday Holiday Monday.
ADELAIDE 4.1 10.3 14.3 15.6 (96)
NORTH 2.5 3.7 7.9 9.11 (65)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Adelaide: Douglas 31, Wright 26, Otten, Wilson 25, Jones, Sholl 21, Jacobs, Poholke 20.
North: Combe, Smith, T. Schwarz 24, Laurie, Tropiano 20, A. Barns 19.
GOALS – Adelaide: Jacobs 5, Poholke 4, Himmelberg, Stengle 2, Douglas, Latchford.
North: A. Barns 2, Clisby, Harvey, Jarman, Nixon, Ramsey, Tropiano.