Hostplus League

SANFL Hostplus League First Semi-Final Snapshot

Norwood's Jay Rantall celebrates kicking the sealing goal against Glenelg in the First Semi-Final. Picture - David Mariuz

Compiled by Zac Milbank

Glenelg’s Billy Stretch gets a handball away under pressure from Norwood’s Matt Panos. Picture – David Mariuz

Norwood’s stoppage dominance propelled it to a 28-point win against a battered Glenelg in the Hostplus SANFL League First Semi-Final at Adelaide Oval.

Overcoming a sluggish start after trailing by 11 points at the first change, the Redlegs wrestled control of the game in the second term after taking charge at the clearances.

With star Tiger Matthew Snook – who managed just four disposals for the match – sidelined before half-time with back spasms, the Legs established a 24-13 clearance advantage by the main change which translated into kicking 4.2 to the Bays’ 1.2.

After star veteran Matthew Panos kicked truly 25 minutes into the second term, Jade Rawlings’ men suddenly led by seven points at half-time as they took plenty of momentum into the main change.

Redlegs’ bigmen Connor McLean and Harry Boyd converted to start the second term, opening up a 21-point lead which was significant in the context of the tight tussle.

Glenelg midfielder Luke Partington, included after recovering from a foot injury, goaled from a set shot to trim the margin to 11 points less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.

But any faint hope the Tigers had of recovering without Snook and an extremely sore Cole Gerloff (arm) was snuffed out by the classy Panos, who booted the next two majors to open Norwood’s lead back out to 23 points.

And when the 2014 premiership hero cleverly popped handball over the top for teammate Jay Rantall to run into the open goal, the Legs were well and truly off to their first Preliminary Final since 2011.

Norwood defender Jack Heard was again a strong performer for the Legs. Picture – David Mariuz

Norwood’s Nik Rokahr led the way on the stats sheet with 28 disposals, six clearances and six tackles while fellow midfielders Jacob Kennerley (21 disposals) and captain Matt Nunn (20 disposals, five clearances) also chimed in.

Redlegs ruck Harry Boyd was influential with 17 disposals, seven clearances and 46 hit outs as he got his team rolling regularly while key defender Jack Heard was super for the second final in succession, with his 14 disposals, seven tackles and countless timely spoils.

Jack Oatey Medallist Panos doesn’t need much of the ball to impact the outcome of a match but he still finished with 14 disposals and seven clearances to go with three goals and a goal assist.

For the Bays, Partington worked hard to be their leading disposal-winner with 26 while Darcy Bailey used the ball well by foot with his 22 disposals.

Midfielders Matt Allen and Billy Stretch ran hard with ball in hand while Ken Farmer Medallist Liam McBean showed plenty of heart in the ruck and up forward for 19 disposals, 10 clearances and two goals.

Glenelg will now begin planning for season 2023 after playing finals for the fourth consecutive season.

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