By ZAC MILBANK
Norwood has limped over the line against a fast-finishing North Adelaide outfit to win SANFL’s traditional Anzac Day Grand Final rematch by 14 points at Prospect Oval.
In complete control at the final change with a 40-point lead, the Redlegs appeared to put the cue in the rack during the final term as the desperate Roosters banged on six goals to two, only to run out of time.
Led by a fine display from Bob Quinn Medallist Matt Panos, Jarrod Cotton’s men put last year’s Grand Final pain behind them with a stunning display of hard-running, team-orientated football which put North on the back foot early in the opening quarter.
Norwood ruckman Sam Baulderstone unleashed a 60m goal to put his side up by 19 points nearing time-on of the first term, and from there, the Redlegs were never seriously challenged until deep into the final stanza.
Livewire forward Peter Bampton made the most of his 16 disposals count by kicking five goals without a blemish while Matthew Nunn (24 disposals) and Magarey Medallist Mitch Grigg – returning from a one-match suspension – slowly worked their way into the contest.
Former Glenelg wingman Dom Barry made North hurt with his run and carry while SANFL’s Mr Fixit, Cam Shenton, was superb with his ball use in racking up 26 possessions.
But the real difference-maker was Panos, who finished with 27 disposals, 12 marks, seven clearances and three goals in playing a major role constructing the victory before three quarter-time.
First-year North Adelaide utility Billy Laurie did an admirable job of containing dangerous Redleg Lewis Johnston to just 13 disposals for the afternoon.
Laurie, who was playing for Keith FC in the south-east this time last year, shadowed the former Rooster brilliantly around the ground while picking up 15 disposals himself.
North also got strong contributions from veteran Jarred Allmond and inside midfielder Tom Schwarz, who both finished with 30 possessions.
RAA Rookie Liam Verity showed promise on debut to boot 2.2 from nine disposals while second-gamer Strato Agorastos now has six goals from his first two outings after doubling his tally with another elusive display.
North still need to bank another two premiership points to register back to zero after last year’s Preliminary Final punishment, its next opportunity coming against Sturt at Peter Motley Oval in Round 6.
In contrast, Norwood will prepare to win its sixth match in succession against Adelaide at The Parade on Friday week.
NORWOOD 5.4 8.7 13.10 15.11 (101)
NORTH 2.5 3.10 6.12 12.15 (87)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Norwood: McKenzie 29, Panos 27, Barry, Gerloff, Shenton 26, Grigg, Z. Richards 25, Hamilton, Nunn 24.
North: Allmond, T. Schwarz 30, Tropiano 26, Combe 21, Olekalns 20, A. Barns, Ramsey 18.
GOALS – Norwood: Bampton 5, Panos 3, Abbott, Barry, Baulderstone, Dawe, Georgiou, Grigg, Nunn.
North: Agorastos 3, Hender, Ramsey, Verity 2, A. Barns, Miller, T. Schwarz.
BOB QUINN MEDAL – Matthew Panos (Norwood)