By ZAC MILBANK
Norwood proved it can mix it with the Statewide Super League pacesetters after upsetting the ladder-leading Woodville-West Torrens by 40 points at The Parade.
Coming off a lack-lustre 52-point loss to North and a 65-point hiding from the Eagles in Round 3, the Redlegs produced an eye-catching performance after conceding the first three goals of the game.
The visitors led by 20 points when Angus Poole goaled midway through the first term but from there, Jarrod Cotton’s charges flicked the switch in what could be a significant momentum change for their season.
Two second-term goals in succession to Mount Compass spearhead Tom Pinyon, the second a fine checkside snap, drew Norwood level inside the opening six minutes.
Then it was the familiar red-and-blue firm of Mitch Grigg and Matt Panos who helped get the game on their terms.
Grigg intercepted an errant Eagles kick in the centre square, passed long to Dom Barry, who finished on the run from 40m.
The Magarey Medallist was at it again a minute later when ruckman Sam Baulderstone marked at centre-half forward, laid it off to Grigg, who goaled on the run from 50m.
Panos then booted two goals in a row during time-on of the second term before a 35m set shot from Peter Bampton gave the Redlegs an important 23-point lead at half-time.
Pinyon and Richard Douglas kicked the only goals of the third term as the Eagles were restricted to just one behind.
In fact, the visitors went the best part of a half without scoring a goal between Jarrad Redden’s effort on the verge of time-on in the second stanza to Nick Hayes’ consolation 19 minutes into the final quarter.
In between, Norwood had well and truly announced it was back in business as Anthony Wilson made a welcome return to form with two goals, the last one on the run from 50m bringing a huge roar from the Redleg faithful close to the final siren.
Douglas was outstanding with 36 disposals, five marks and two goals while Geelong VFL recruit Nik Rokahr continues to prove his worth at the level after gathering 34 possessions and 13 marks to be among Norwood’s best.
AFL-experienced pair Brad McKenzie and Cam Shenton provided plenty of rebound from the back half to have 53 touches between them while Panos and Ryan Bastinac registered 24 each.
AAMI Rookie Daniel Fairbrother, a Dylan Stephens look-a-like, had 13 disposals on debut for Norwood Isaac Saywell and Jacob Collins are other first-year Redlegs going about their roles nicely.
The Eagles – without injured star Jack Hayes – had a staggering 11 players register 10 disposals or less in what was their biggest hiccup for the season after only previously losing to South by six points in Round 1.
Joseph Sinor continued his 2020 resurgence with 25 disposals and seven clearances through the midfield while Jordan Foote and Lachie McNeil also tried hard in pushing past 20 touches.
But ultimately there wasn’t a strong enough spread from the visitors, who have previously prided themselves on sharing the load in an otherwise impressive 2020 campaign.
By ZAC MILBANK
Sturt staged a stunning second-half fightback to claim a seven-point win against West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium.
Overcoming a scoreless second quarter, the Double Blues went on to boot seven of the next 10 majors after the half-time as they eventually made the most of their disposal advantage.
And it was Ken Farmer Medallist Mark Evans who provided the spark during the third term with his consecutive majors reducing Sturt’s deficit to just 10 points midway through.
West’s Tom Morrish had stretched the hosts’ lead to as much as 27 points in the fourth minute after the main break but it was Evans who stood tall when it mattered most.
After nailing a 40m set shot from a 45C angle, the dual premiership forward then showed tremendous courage to take a gutsy overhead mark from a little bit further out than his successful spot a minute earlier.
Evans kicked his third for the night and the Double Blues were soon within a goal when Steven Slimming kicked a deep ball to the top of the goal square for Jed McEntee to convert, capping off a nice piece of transition footy from the visitors.
Werribee recruit Jack Henderson gave Sturt the lead when he opened the fourth term with a standing-start snap shot from 35m.
Then it was Slimming’s turn to impact the contest again, this time providing a nice goal assist for Aidyn Johnson who marked on the lead and kicked his set shot from 30m on a slight angle.
The scoring had dried up for the hosts, who didn’t kick a goal from Morrish’s effort four minutes into the third term until Murray Waite gave his side a pulse 16 minutes into the final stanza.
After marking a deep ball on the behind line, Waite snapped truly on his left foot from a tight angle to put the Bloods within two points more than three minutes from time-on.
But Sturt skipper James Battersby got his tumbling set shot to float through from 30m in front after being awarded a free kick for over the shoulder, giving his side an eight-point break on the stroke of time-on.
West needed something special and it nearly got it when the burly Hamish Ellem swooped on the loose ball like a rover, and curled his snap shot on goal only for it to bend too far for a behind.
It would be the last score of the game as Sturt’s slow play soaked up valuable seconds before the final siren sounded for a short 24-minute term.
Battersby led the way with 24 disposals, five clearances and his sealing goal while Evans (three goals, 14 disposals and seven marks) and Slimming (21 disposals and nine marks) were also influential for Sturt.
Experienced Double Blues Sam Colquhoun and Abe Davis each had 21 touches while first-year midfielder Tom Lewis continues gain in confidence, last night finding 18 possessions and four clearances.
AAMI Rookie James Borlase had encouraging League debut, finishing with 14 disposals, six marks and three tackles playing chiefly across half-back.
And this was where he laid a vital tackle midway during the fourth term as West was storming toward goal, the Crows Next Generation Academy prospect earning a free kick for holding the ball.
Tireless Bloods midfielders Kaine Stevens (28 disposals, eight tackles and 10 clearances) and Jordon Boyle (27 disposals, nine marks and a goal) worked hard in the centre square.
Waite collected 20 touches to go with his last quarter snap goal while Reed Stevens – the younger brother of Kaine – tallied 12 disposals and six clearances in his Statewide Super League debut.
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