Not even a scoreless opening term could prevent Woodville-West Torrens from celebrating the 200-game milestone of captain Luke Thompson with a 36-point win against Norwood at The Parade.
Neither side could manage a score until the 18th minute of the opening term before Tom Wagner booted a behind ahead of also contributing the only goal of the quarter five minutes later.
The lack of early potency didn’t concern the Eagles though, despite trailing by as much as 19 points when the Redlegs’ milestone man – Mitch Grigg – kicked truly nine minutes into the third quarter.
The visitors showed why they are are looming as an ominous challenger to undefeated Glenelg, flicking the switch from this point to kick the next six goals in succession to suddenly boast a 19-point advantage when Luke Beecken goaled on the run from 50m two minutes into the last quarter.
Emerging Redlegs forward prospect Tristan Binder hauled in an impressive pack mark before converting to trim the deficit to 13 points six minutes later but that would be the final score for the hosts, who were overrun by the powerful Eagles.
Eagles ball magnet James Tsitas continued on his way with a game high 29 disposals, 12 tackles and 10 clearances while Kai Pudney ran hard for his 22 disposals and four clearances.
Ruckman Jarrad Redden had 20 disposals while Jack Hayes and Kobe Mutch each collected 19 for the second-placed Eagles.
Grigg battled hard for Norwood with 29 touches, nine clearances and a goal while Nik Rokahr chalked up 25 disposals and Declan Hamilton 23 as Josh Richards continued his improvement with 21 disposals and eight tackles.
Glenelg stretched its unbeaten run to fourteen but it wasn’t without a serious threat from South Adelaide, who succumbed to the Tigers by 18 points at ACH Group Stadium.
Despite failing to register a goal in the first quarter, the Panthers continually persisted and it nearly paid off when former Tiger Bryce Gibbs capped off a free kick for holding the ball with a fine finish on the boundary line 22 minutes into the last term.
It put the visitors within six points as they charged home with the breeze aiding the Kernahan (northern) end at the Bay, key forward Sam Skinner missing his opportunity to tie up the scores with a quick snap two minutes later.
But just as they have done on several occasions this season, the Bays steadied when it mattered most as fearless Matthew Snook played a huge role in the final five minutes to get his side over the line.
The Jack Oatey Medallist goaled on the run from just inside 50m, in the clip below, to stretch the margin to 12 points before winning the next centre clearance to set up teammate Luke Reynolds with another to seal the deal.
Snook finished with 29 disposals, five tackles, six clearances and his timely goal while Luke Partington was also important with 26 disposals, seven clearances and a crucial set shot goal in the fourth term.
Co-captain Chris Curran soldiered on despite being noticeably banged up, collecting 23 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and his first goal of the season to open the game.
Tiger wingman Matt Allen was also influential, earning the Coles Value Player of the Game award for his three goals from 15 touches and three marks.
Gibbs worked hard in his first game at the Bay in the blue and white, finishing with 27 disposals, 14 tackles, seven clearances and his fourth-term goal while Matthew Broadbent had 24 possessions, six tackles, six clearances and a goal.
Joseph Haines was excellent in defence for South with 23 disposals and five tackles but the Panthers didn’t quite have enough in the tank, without injured champ Joel Cross, to break the Bays.
Sturt scraped its way to a 13-point win against Central District in a low-scoring affair at X Convenience Oval.
Needing a win to stay in touch with the top five, the Double Blues did it with little fanfare while booting just five goals for the afternoon.
Desperate to honour captain James Battersby in his 150th League match, the visitors set up the win in the first term by kicking more than half of their score.
Developing defender Will Coomblas was excellent in defence with 12 disposals and six marks while the Sturt skipper celebrated with a team high 25 disposals, 10 tackles and seven marks.
Abe Davis had 24 touches for Sturt and Casey Voss 22 as goalsneak Jack Penfold was the only multiple goal kicker on the ground with two.
Central’s much improved Kyle Presbury tallied 34 disposals and four marks, Justin Hoskin 21 disposals and the Schiller brothers – Jarrod and Travis – 20 each.
But Travis Schiller was forced from the ground with injury during the final term, leaving the Dogs to sweat on his diagnosis early next week.
North Adelaide pushed its way into the top three with a comfortable 54-point win against Adelaide at Prospect Oval.
After entering the top five just three weeks ago with a win against Port, the Roosters are now suddenly in the box seat for the double chance after stringing together four wins in succession while building valuable percentage.
Having secured victory by leading at every change against the Crows, Jacob Surjan’s charges have now earned an 8-6 win-loss record but boast an advantage of more than six per cent on fourth-placed South Adelaide.
Magarey Medallist Campbell Combe, vice-captain Andrew Moore and silky Harrison Wigg have all been instrumental in the mid-season revival for North, and it was no coincidence they were at the top of the stats sheet against Adelaide.
Combe finished with 35 disposals, eight tackles, seven clearances and a goal while Moore had 26 disposals, seven tackles, nine clearances and a major as Wigg also hit the scoreboard with a goal to go with his 25 touches.
Lewis Hender booted three for the Roosters while Lachie Wilsdon followed up his eight-goal haul last week with a pair, to match inclusion Ben Jarman.
Adelaide’s Billy Frampton impressed in his new defensive role, racking up 31 disposals and 13 marks to push his case for AFL selection, as did Kieran Strachan with 25 disposals and 11 marks in the ruck.
Star Crow Matt Crouch made his return from a groin injury to collect 28 disposals, including 23 handballs, in his first SANFL match since 2015.
Shane McAdam and Fisher McAsey each kicked two goals for the Crows, who failed to kick a goal in the opening term.
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