By ZAC MILBANK
Sturt kept its finals chances alive with a pivotal 33-point win against South Adelaide at Peter Motley Oval.
Securing their fifth win for the season, the Double Blues have now drawn level on premiership points with Norwood after the Redlegs succumbed to Central District in Round 11.
Had Nathan Grima’s men lost to the Panthers, who still remain inside the top four, then a major round appearance was all but lost.
But there is still plenty of spirit left at Unley after the hosts slowly edged their way in front of South to finally crack the game open in the absence of dual Magarey Medallist Zane Kirkwood and premiership pair Matt Crocker and Tom Harms.
Sturt looked to be taking control of the low-scoring affair when inexperienced forward Oliver Grivell marked a long ball in from Jack Henderson, extending the advantage to 15 points just two minutes after the main change.
South co-captain Joel Cross then made his presence felt in unsurprising fashion, when he bobbed up to nail two 45m set shots in succession.
Suddenly the margin was trimmed to one straight kick nearing time-on of the third term as the Panthers felt victory was within reach.
A Sturt goal to Ash Johnson from the top of the goal square after the three-quarter time siren hurt the visitors though, with the difference back out to 13 points at the last change.
Double Blues captain James Battersby put his side well on the way to victory with a goal on the run from 50m, thanks to a stunning tackle from teammate Jed McEntee which turned the ball over at half-forward.
South’s Hayden Sampson marked ruckman Paul Hunter’s pass and converted his set shot to give his side a pulse at the 11-minute mark but that would be the Panthers’ final score of the game.
Inform Mark Evans, emerging midfielder Tom Lewis and VFL recruit Jack Henderson all kicked goals late in the final term to give Sturt a vital win and a handy percentage boost.
Henderson continues to impress despite his late start in the Statewide Super League, finishing with 25 disposals and seven clearances while Sam Colquhoun made a timely return to form for Sturt with a game-high 30 disposals and six tackles.
Captain Battersby was again important for his team with 23 touches and 10 tackles while Lewis worked hard through the middle to tally 19 and 10 tackles.
Evans and Ash Johnson each booted two for the Blues while Harry Morrison’s set shot kicking was the chief aspect of his game which needed improvement after an otherwise creative 14 disposals and four shots on goal.
South’s ever reliable Joseph Haines led the way for his side with 26 disposals while Ben Heaslip followed up his standout display last round with a solid 22 touches and six tackles.
Cross had 21 possessions to go with his two goals while Jesse McKinnon will gain confidence from his 20 disposals and six clearances through the middle for the Panthers.
By ZAC MILBANK
Glenelg produced its best four-quarter performance of the season to eclipse West Adelaide by 74 points at ACH Group Stadium.
Still stinging after the upset loss to the Bloods in Round 4, the Bays were a completely-different looking outfit as they gave their fans a treat after banging through 21 goals in the twilight clash against the Bloods.
Comfortably leading at every change, Mark Stone’s men were clinical in their ball-movement after forcing the visitors into repeated turnovers across the ground.
As many as 11 Tigers registered their name on the goal scorer’s list as the silky-smooth Marlon Motlop led the way with four goals and 21 disposals after shrugging off a knock to his ankle last round.
Motlop’s highlight reel included a lovely shimmy and snap finish in the third term as well as an eye-catching snap shot from a tight angle in the Snouts Louts pocket which got the Tiger faithful rocking early in the fourth term.
Ken Farmer Medallist Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds booted three goals each to ensure Glenelg’s efficiency was high considering it had just six more inside 50s and nine more scoring shots.
West pegged the margin back to five goals early in the second and third terms but on each occasion, the Bays flexed their muscle to power away with selfless team-orientated play as every player did their bit.
Magarey Medallist Luke Partington has lifted his game up another notch in the past month, registering 34 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances and 1.2 for the Tigers.
Matthew Snook was hard in the clinches again for 30 touches, 14 tackles and six clearances while the unheralded Carl Nicholson earned some valuable reward by booting the final two goals of the game to go with his 27 disposals and five marks.
Jonty Scharenberg played his best game for the season with 21 disposals and six tackles while Andrew Bradley (19 disposals) used the ball well while streaming off half-back, often through the corridor to devastating affect.
First-year Tigers Callum Park and Reid Kuller also continued their development nicely, with Park having 16 disposals and a goal from a courageous mark as Kuller tallied 10 tackles with his 12 disposals and a goal.
West’s Dallas Willsmore returned from his hamstring strain to collect a team-high 27 disposals, 11 marks and a goal while Kaine Stevens and Brett Turner each had 23 possessions and a goal.
Bloods veterans Logan Hill and Tom Keough battled hard, the captain finishing with 18 disposals, 11 tackles and nine clearances after spending significant time in the centre square.
By ZAC MILBANK
Former Redleg Chris Olsson came back to haunt his old team as Central District produced a stunning 13-point upset over Norwood at X Convenience Oval.
Landing at Elizabeth in the off-season, the smooth-moving forward was the difference-maker with two goals and a goal assist in the final term for the bullish Bulldogs.
Norwood looked like breaking away from the hosts on several occasions throughout the afternoon, particularly after Mitch Grigg’s classy major on the run late in the third term opened up a 13-point lead.
But the ultra-loyal Ben Nason gave Central critical impetus heading into the final change when the umpires declared his fine finish on the run was kicked just before the three-quarter time siren sounded.
It trimmed the deficit to seven-points and was the perfect reply to Grigg’s goal, which would be the Redlegs’ last for the match after managing just one behind – to Cam Shenton in the 27th minute – in the fourth quarter.
Olsson put on a show for the Bulldog faithful, showing off his exceptional speed to crumb the ball at pace before running into an open goal five minutes into the final term.
The Tea Tree Gully product then put his side in front 19 minutes in when he ran on to a loose ball, zig-zagged and snapped truly from 30m.
Central’s advantage doubled to 12 points entering time-on when Olsson fed a nice handball to first-year recruit Jack Toner who kicked his snap goal from 20m.
It proved to be enough for the Dogs to hold on as they recorded their second in win in three weeks, this time against the highly-fancied Redlegs.
John Butcher starred for Central in attack, booting 5.3 to go with his seven marks as he enjoyed plenty of service from prolific midfielders James Boyd (37 disposals and seven clearances) and Travis Schiller (34 disposals and six clearances.
Former Richmond forward Nason produced arguably his best game of League footy with 32 disposals and 12 marks as he ran hard on his wing while the wise heads of Jarrod Schiller, Luke Habel and Kyle Jenner were also important.
Norwood interestingly won the inside-50m count by 52 to 35 despite having less of the ball overall and 16 fewer marks.
Star players Richard Douglas, Matthew Nunn, Ryan Bastinac and Grigg all found plenty of the ball, with Douglas having an exceptional 37 disposals, eight marks and four clearances.
Captain Matt Panos kicked three early goals for the Redlegs but ultimately this will be viewed at The Parade as a costly loss, particularly after top-four side South slipped to Sturt at Unley on the same day.