By Steve Barrett
Glenelg shook off a 33-year premiership drought and a long tale of Port Adelaide torment to win the 2019 SANFL Statewide Super League Grand Final by 28 points over the Magpies at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Contesting the finals for the first time since 2011, the Tigers showed why they were crowned minor premiers, proving too clean and efficient from the outset in front of 39,105 fans.
Matt Snook (28 possessions, eight tackles and seven clearances) was a deserved recipient of the Jack Oatey Medal after a sterling midfield display while Josh Scott and Marlon Motlop (three goals apiece) proved a handful in attack for the Bays, who claimed first premiership since 1986 and fifth overall, exorcising the demons of five successive grand final defeats at the hands of Port between 1977-92.
“I thought our tackle pressure and our second and third efforts to put pressure on them was fantastic,” elated Glenelg coach Mark Stone said.
“We took our chances inside 50, which was really important. We didn’t waste opportunities.”
Ex-Sturt duo Jarrod Lienert (27 disposals) and Jack Trengove (25) had a genuine crack for the Magpies, as did skipper Cam Sutcliffe, who did his best to single-handedly stem the Glenelg tide with three third-quarter goals.
Unlike in their second semi-final defeat, the Tigers were switched on early, taking advantage of a swirling breeze favouring the River End to ambush their way to a decisive 22-point quarter-time lead.
And when Luke Reynolds snapped his second in the opening minute of the second, Glenelg’s advantage was 28 points.
Finally, 13 minutes into the second quarter, Tobin Cox broke Port’s goalless drought and the Magpies had the better of general play for much of the quarter but their inefficient finishing meant they could only reduce the deficit to 19 points at half-time.
Scott’s goal in the first minute of the third term and Motlop’s magnificent checkside six-pointer moments later boosted the Bays’ advantage to a formidable 31 points before Sutcliffe’s terrific captain’s quarter in attack gave his side a sniff at three-quarter-time.
But it would be the last hurrah for Port, chasing its first flag since 1999.
“Credit to Glenelg, they’ve been the best team all year,” Magpies coach Matt Lokan said.
“They were probably tougher and cleaner with the ball.
“It was probably the start that got us.”
Scott, in a carbon copy of the third term, goaled in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, which became an arm wrestle.
With the clock winding down, Motlop provided the sweetest of icing by nailing his third to have the yellow-and-black army in raptures as Stone joined Graham Cornes (1985-86), Neil Kerley (1973) and Bruce McGregor (1934) as a Bays premiership coach.
“It means an enormous amount to the football club,” Stone said.
“It’s really special to me – I’m the fortunate one who got to break the drought and bring the cup back.”
GLENELG 4.1 6.2 9.5 11.7 (73)
PORT 0.3 2.7 5.8 6.9 (45)
Glenelg: Snook 28, Partington 23, McBean 19, Nicholson 19, Agnew 18, Gould 18, Curran 17.
Port: Lienert 27, Trengove 25, Mayes 24, Drew 21, Sutcliffe 17, Appleton 16, Farrell 16.
Glenelg: Scott 3, Motlop 3, Reynolds 2, Nicholson, Close, Partington.
Port: Sutcliffe 3, Cox 2, Frampton.
JACK OATEY MEDAL – Matthew Snook (Glenelg)
UMPIRES – A. Crosby, M. Harris, T. Boyce.
CROWD – 39,105 at Adelaide Oval.