By ZAC MILBANK
South Adelaide secured its place in the major round with a rampaging 74-point thrashing of Norwood at Flinders University Stadium.
Kicking their highest score for the season, the Panthers set up their dominant victory with a strong second term en route to booking a berth against Glenelg in the First Semi-Final.
After leading by seven points at the first change, the hosts did everything but put the Redlegs away during the next 30 minutes as they asserted themselves on the contest.
South’s tackling pressure was outstanding, laying a staggering 21 to four in the second stanza while also racking up 17 inside 50s to Norwood’s five.
”It proves that when we play our brand, it works as we are a high pressure tackling team,” South midfielder Nic Schwarz told Channel 7 after the match.
”So hopefully we go on to play some good finals footy. We’re hitting form at the right time so we just need to keep playing our brand, holding our structure and we will be alright.”
The only aspect keeping the visitors in the contest was South’s inaccuracy in front of goal as it tallied 7.12 by the main change on the back of 3.10 for the term.
In contrast, Norwood could muster just one behind, a poster from a set shot to Tom Pinyon, for the quarter as it struggled to contain its impressive opponents.
South finally got its reward in the final term, making the most of the breeze picking up to the southern end to slam on 8.1 to Norwood’s 2.2 as it earned its largest home victory against the Redlegs since 1964.
Any hope Norwood had of engineering a dramatic comeback evaporated when Nik Rokahr kicked the ball the wrong way deep into South’s attacking 50m as captain Joel Cross crumbed nicely to kick truly.
Then clever South forward Luke Bogle pounced on a handball from Tom Whittlesea to produce a classy checkside finish on the run from 25m in front.
The margin was suddenly at 51 points less then five minutes into the fourth term as the Panthers started to party.
The contributors for Jarrad Wright’s side were far-reaching, with Cross leading the way in tallying 28 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and four clearances to go with his 3.3.
Star defender Joseph Haines set up plenty of play with his game high 29 disposals while the midfield load was very evenly spread for South.
Ben Heaslip, Matthew Broadbent, Nic Schwarz, Reece Milsom and Hayden Sampson all eclipsed the 20-disposal barrier as late-season ruck recruit Paul Hunter produced another fine display in the centre square.
The former Crow finished with 21 disposals five tackles, three clearances and two goals to go with his 27 hit outs up against arguably the best bigman in the League in Sam Baulderstone.
Forwards Alex Cailotto and Eamon Wilkinson also hit the scoreboard with two goals each as Malcolm Karpany made a successful League return to be particularly evasive and creative with his 15 touches.
Just as South secured its place in the top four, Norwood later learned that it won’t be a part of the major round after Glenelg edged out Central by a point.
The Redlegs had few positives to speak of as Rokahr led the way with 25 disposals pushing into the midfield while veteran Richard Douglas had 24 and six clearances.
Reserves Magarey Medallist Jed Spence produced his best League game in his fourth appearance, finishing with 22 touches, five tackles and five clearances.
Missing finals will be a bitter pill for the Redleg faithful to swallow after such a fruitful recruiting campaign resulted in expectations being high at The Parade in 2020.
By ZAC MILBANK
North Adelaide booked a berth in its first Second Semi-Final since 2007 with a comfortable 31-point win against Sturt at Peter Motley Oval.
Missing a host of first-choice players – including its entire leadership group – the Roosters were still untroubled as they led at every change to lock in second spot on the premiership table.
Despite only managing to kick two goals after half-time, the visitors controlled the play enough to stifle the Double Blues after producing a 10-goal opening half.
Unheralded North forward Lee Miniervini made the most of his return to the League side to be a key figure in setting up the win, one of four Roosters to kick two goals.
Miniervini set up the first goal of the game to key forward Mitch Harvey before nailing his first from a 40m set shot to stretch the margin to 13 after the opening 12 minutes.
Once late-blooming midfielder Patrick Davies burst through three Sturt opponents to kick on the run in the square, North suddenly led by 33 points nearing quarter-time.
Will Combe’s consecutive set shots from 40m were also defining in the second stanza as the Roosters stretched their ascendancy to back to 28 after Sturt got within 16 on the back of a goal to Ken Farmer Medallist Mark Evans.
Minervini then got some nice reward for his effort when classy Frank Szekely strolled through the corridor to put a nice ball over the top, allowing North’s No.34 to run into an open goal while opening up a six-goal lead.
It would be a buffer North maintained for the rest of the afternoon as it pleased coach Jacob Surjan in the absence of captain Alex Spina and his deputies Andrew Moore and Tom Schwarz who are all recovering from hamstring strains.
Campbell Combe stepped up without their presence to register 30 disposals, 10 tackles and 12 clearances as he stakes his claim for a berth in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
Rebounding left-footers Harrison Wigg and Jarred Allmond each had 29 disposals while Elliot Chalmers and Cam Hewett finished with 24 each.
First-year recruit Davies continues to look at home at League level with 19 disposals and his two goals while Billy Hartung made an encouraging return from a back injury to have 19 touches and six marks.
Sturt’s faint hope of playing in the major round is now officially closed as it matches North in several key statistics such as tackles, hit outs, clearances and inside 50s, which finished at 47 each.
Sam Colquhoun got back to his ball magnet ways with 33 disposals and seven tackles for the Double Blues as Abe Davis notched 22 possessions and five clearances.
Sturt captain James Battersby, and young guns Tom Lewis and Casey Voss had 21 each, Lewis also having nine tackles and seven clearances.
Athletic Sturt tall Daniel Fahey-Sparks tried to spark his team with two set shot goals in the first term but it wasn’t enough as the Double Blues’ had their finals chances extinguished.
By ZAC MILBANK
Glenelg escaped with a heart-stopping one-point win against Central District at ACH Group Stadium to book its berth in the First Semi Final.
As potential finalists Norwood and Sturt suffered Round 13 losses earlier in the afternoon, the Tigers made sure of their major round appearance against third-placed South Adelaide in a fortnight.
Trailing by 14 points at the first change, the Bays nudged their way in front to lead by four points at the half and two goals at the final break.
And it appeared the reigning premier was set to coast to victory against the plucky Bulldogs when Darcy Bailey opened up a game-high 18 point lead with his 40m set shot goal seven minutes into the last term.
But it was anything but a cruising finish for the Tiger faithful as Central finished the match much stronger as it had eight of the next nine scoring shots.
200-club veteran Kyle Jenner went about reducing the margin instantly with his left foot snap on goal in the ninth minute bringing the Dogs within two majors.
Fast-finisher Justin Hoskin then put the ball down the throat of a leading Murray Stephenson on consecutive occasions through the corridor, with the visitors’ flame-haired forward booting two set shot goals from 30m in front within six minutes.
The second gave Central a two-point lead entering time-on of the fourth quarter and it was very nearly eight if not for a miss to fellow forward John Butcher.
Glenelg wasn’t quite done yet though, as Tom Schott – playing his first League game since Round 17 last year after a serious knee injury – put a deep pass inside 50m to the advantage of premiership wingman Carl Nicholson.
After the match-winning play had been instigated by a vital hard ball get from Tiger Jack Yates on the wing, Nicholson calmly put through his set shot from 25m to give the Bays a three-point lead after 24 minutes.
From there, the hosts were forced to defend grimly as Central did all the attacking as it tried to steal back the advantage.
James Boyd’s snap from 30m just sailed wide for a behind and then Jackson Kelly had another chance to put the Bulldogs in front when he found himself with the ball after an errant Glenelg kick-in crossed the boundary line.
After trying to pass off inboard, Kelly had a crack from the boundary line but it floated across the face for another behind, leaving his side just short on the scoreboard.
The Dogs kept coming during the last two minutes but the final siren sounded with the hosts in front by the barest of margins.
Glenelg’s Michael Virgin showed plenty of desperation throughout the night and during the final stages, tallying 30 disposals and eight marks in a great defensive display.
Matthew Snook was again prominent for the Tigers with 27 disposals and two goals while fellow star midfielder Luke Partington had 24 touches and two majors.
First-year defender Callum Park used the ball nicely with the majority of his career-high 26 disposals, also kicking a handy set shot goal before half-time after Boyd conceded two consecutive 25m penalties.
Schott also provided another memorable moment on the night when he nailed an eye-catching 50m set shot goal during the third term, causing all of his teammates to run from all parts of the ground to congratulate him.
Central certainly didn’t play like a team with no incentive on the premiership ladder, Jeff Andrews’ charges continuing to gain enormous respect in the latter part of the season.
Last year’s Club Champion Jarrod Schiller amassed 35 touches after having 16 at the first change, to go with his seven tackles while Boyd had 32 and eight clearances.
Travis Schiller racked up 28 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances while the Dogs have certainly found an exciting talent in VFL recruit Jack Toner, who had a career-high 27 disposals and nine marks as he finished the game full of running.
Hoskin (26 disposals) and captain Luke Habel (22 disposals) were particularly clean with their touches as Stephenson made the most of his chance to take nine marks along with his important two late goals and 14 disposals.