By ZAC MILBANK
Why is it Game of the Week?
It is the second time last year’s Grand Finalists will meet this season and it always creates intrigue when the previous Grand Finalists go head-to-head.
Norwood is fighting for its place in the top five and must keep winning to ensure September action. After losing three matches in succession, the Redlegs bounced back into the trademark form when they ran over the top of South Adelaide with a powerful fourth-quarter performance.
The Roosters have suddenly found their mojo, winning two of their past three matches and only losing to West by two points in between the two victories. They also have the incentive to ensure they are not laden with the dreaded wooden spoon, just 12 months after winning the 2018 premiership.
For the Record
The Last Three
Round 5 2019 – Norwood 15.11 (101) d North 12.15 (87)
2018 Grand Final – North 19.10 (124) d Norwood 15.15 (105)
Round 18 2018 – Norwood 11.13 (79) d North 9.10 (64)
Cam Shenton (Norwood)
When Cam Shenton plays well, so does Norwood. Arguably the most versatile player in the competition, the former St Kilda utility can be used anywhere by coach Jarrod Cotton depending on the game’s situation. Across half-back, he can provide invaluable rebound while also being able to play a disciplined lock down role if required. He can also play an attacking role off a wing or as a lead-up third tall forward inside Norwood’s attacking 50m arc.
Lewis Hender (North)
Indeed it is an obvious choice but for good reason. Hender was a significant difference-maker in his team’s upset win against Adelaide last Saturday, kicking four goals while setting up many opportunities for his team-mates. If the evasive left-footer gets off the chain early in the contest, then the man mentioned above – Shenton – could be forced to clamp down on the ex-Glenelg goal sneak. A lovely kick in field play, Hender doesn’t need many disposals to create plenty of damage.
Mitch Harvey (North) v Michael Talia (Norwood)
This promises to be a fascinating duel fought inside the Roosters’ attacking 50m arc. Harvey will use his strong body to positive effect against Talia, who is a master at managing to get a crucial spoil in the marking contest. Talia won’t be able to afford too many opportunities for Harvey, who is a known sharp-shooter from his set shots. The former Power forward, who celebrated his 100th game this season, has also been spending a bit of time in the ruck this season which could make things interesting.
Both teams are showing signs of returning to their best brand of football which makes this contest a very tricky one to predict. But with home-ground advantage, and a top-five berth on the line, it is difficult to see the Redlegs getting beaten. Norwood has also arranged for Redlegs fan Greg Champion to perform his famous “That’s the thing about football” song before the bounce, making it a big occasion for the hosts. As much as North will throw everything at Jarrod Cotton’s charges, expect Norwood to prevail by 23 points.