By PETER CORNWALL
CENTRAL V ADELAIDE
The times they are a changin’. Kris Grant, a ripper bloke who has put his heart and soul into Central District, will be ending his remarkable stint as chief executive that started when he was known as club secretary way back in 1977.
It will hardly seem like the same club without him around. But time moves on and the Bulldogs have the perfect chance to honour him with a win in his last game in charge at Elizabeth Oval, his home away from home for so long. Grant will feel a win has been a long time coming,
Central’s only success in the past nine rounds coming against last-placed West on June 19. And the Doggies lost the last time they faced Adelaide, the Crows winning by 23 points in Round 4.
But Adelaide has been having problems of its own, winning just one of its past five games and having only nine AFL-listed players, with a combined 49 games of AFL experience, in its line-up when it lost to the Eagles by 65 points.
Central lost by 54 points against unbeaten Glenelg but fought it out to the end, outscoring the premiership favourites in the last quarter with five goals.
Central has produced on and off all season without finding the consistency to be a finals threat. Granty will be hoping the Doggies will be ‘on’ for four quarters on what’s bound to be an emotional day.
PORT V SOUTH
It’s make-or-break time. Teams that have been struggling for wins have to step up now or pay the price. And that shines the spotlight brightly on Alberton Oval.
After Round 9 South and Port seemed firmly on track to play major roles in this year’s finals, the Panthers second with a 7-2 record and the Magpies fourth with five wins and three losses.
But we’ve come to expect the unexpected these days and South has lost five of its past seven games, while Port has managed just two wins in its past eight. The Panthers are fourth but just one win ahead of sixth-placed Sturt, while the Magpies are a win further back and facing a last-chance scenario to scramble into the five.
A repeat of the hard-fought clash that was decided in the dying moments in Round 3 seems likely.
In that encounter at Noarlunga, late goals to Anthony Biemans and boom recruit Bruce Gibbs helped South to a hard-fought nine-point win but even then Port had the last two shots at goal – for two behinds – as it kept coming.
And it’s pretty likely Port will be switched on from the start at home after being blown out of the water early by Sturt at Unley, the Blues kicking nine of the first 10 goals.
The Magpies kept fighting and that’s the spirit Matt Lokan will be looking for now. If Port can play at its best, life will be getting all the more uncomfortable for South. So, while these sides may have been finding the going tough lately, this clash should be a ripper.
Sign up to see all the news from around the SANFL each week – directly in your inbox!