By ZAC MILBANK
Norwood produced its best brand of football for the season as it cruised to a 34-point win against Port Adelaide at The Parade on Thursday night.
In an entertaining, high-octane contest, it was the Redlegs who finally flexed their muscle for the best part of four quarters to earn their fourth win in succession.
After scraping across the line by less than a goal in their opening three outings for 2019, Jarrod Cotton’s charges turned it on by producing an unrelenting, attacking style which proved too much for the Magpies to handle after half-time.
The hosts piled on seven goals to Port’s three in the third quarter to establish a commanding 32-point lead at the final change, a strong statement in the absence of suspended Magarey Medallist Mitch Grigg.
The positives were a plenty for the Legs who had 10 goal scorers for the evening, with Peter Bampton, Anthony Wilson and RAA Rookie Cameron Taheny each booting three.
Bampton and Wilson looked the most lively they have all year while South Adelaide recruit Cody Szust produced his best performance since arriving at Woods Street to kick two goals to go with his 17 disposals.
But the real find was Eyre Peninsula product Taheny, who showed exactly why AFL recruiters are watching him closely with a fine debut in the Statewide Super League.
The 17-year-old showed off his lovely left-foot kick with his first goal in League footy, a tricky set shot in the pocket from 30m out.
He then also put his field kicking on display in the final term with a long and accurate pass to Bampton inside 50m, with the latter converting for his third major.
The strong form of ruckman Sam Baulderstone continued in the centre square, with the Redlegs’ giant using his supreme palming ability to regularly set up his midfielders with centre clearances.
And there was no better example than the beautiful reverse tap to acting captain Matt Panos, who was able to snare the ball without breaking stride, receive the one-two before goaling on the run from 50m. It took Norwood less than 30 seconds to score the goal in an ominous warning to its SANFL rivals.
Norwood’s Lewis Johnston was everywhere again for 35 disposals and a goal while Matthew Nunn made an encouraging return from a two-week absence due to an illness to collect 22 disposals and a major.
Buoyed by the presence of Power star Steven Motlop, the Magpies went toe-to-toe with Norwood for the first half in an encouraging follow-on from their Round 3 victory against North Adelaide.
But just as Motlop – who tallied 31 disposals and 10 clearances – faded in the second half, so too did the majority of the visitors who were overwhelmed by Norwood’s hard-running, free-flowing style of play.
Veteran midfielder Jack Trengove continued his red hot start to the season to finish with 37 disposals and two goals, with the former Melbourne captain doing everything in his power for a well-deserved AFL call-up.
Former Redleg ruck Peter Ladhams (24 disposals) found plenty of the ball again in another promising display while Karl Amon also returned nicely from a knee injury to compile 30 disposals and two goals.
Matt Lokan’s Magpies will now prepare themselves to face the Eagles at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval in Round 5 while the Redlegs have a massive encounter on Anzac Day against North Adelaide at Prospect Oval.
Main Picture – Norwood’s Brad McKenzie applies a crunching tackle – James Hanley (PAFC)
NORWOOD 2.3 9.4 16.6 20.8 (128)
PORT 2.4 7.8 10.10 14.10 (94)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Norwood: L. Johnston 35, Hamilton 28, McKenzie 27, Abbott, Nunn 22, Georgiou 20, Shenton, Talia 19, Szust, A. Wilson, Wilkins 17.
Port: Trengove 37, Atley, Motlop 31, Amon 30, Mayes, Pudney 26, Ladhams, Lienert 24, Hewett, McKenzie 18, Farrell 17.
GOALS – Norwood: Taheny, Bampton, A. Wilson 3, Dawe, Hamilton, Panos, Szust, Baulderstone, L. Johnston, Nunn.
Port: Amon, Davidson, Trengove, Atley, Edwards, Garner, Ladhams, Lienert, McKenzie, Motlop, Woodcock.
Sign up to see all the news from around the SANFL each week – directly in your inbox!