Round 2 Hostplus SANFL Snapshot – Sunday

West Adelaide celebrates winning the 2024 Russell Ebert Tribute Match against Port Adelaide in Waikerie. Picture - Grant Schwartzkopff

Compiled by Zac Milbank

West’s Kobe Ryan (right) is presented with the Russell Ebert Medal by Russell’s son Brett.
Picture – Grant Schwartzkopff

West Adelaide staged a stunning final term fightback to edge Port Adelaide out by four points in the battle for the Russell Ebert Tribute Cup at Waikerie.

Chasing their first win against the Magpies after succumbing in their previous two Riverland meetings, the Bloods appeared headed for a third loss in succession when Port’s Quinton Narkle goaled in the 19th minute of the fourth quarter.

The former Geelong Cat had opened up what appeared to be a match-winning 16-point lead for the Pies approaching time-on, as Hamish Hartlett could have been forgiven for thinking he was about to have bragging rights over his brother in the coaches box.

But older sibling Adam had the last laugh, as brothers coached against each other for the first time in SANFL League ranks since Fos and Glynn Williams went head-to-head in 1960.

West captain Isaac Johnson, playing his 50th Hostplus SANFL League game, gave his side a pulse when he goaled on the run from 50m in the 20th minute.

Then, less than three minutes later, Joel Stevens booted his third to put the Bloods within four points as the local crowd began to find its voice at the home of the Waikerie Magpies.

A quick handball from congestion by Joel Stevens then found Ned Stevens, who snapped truly from 25m to give West the lead in the 25th minute.

From there, West was able to secure its opening win of the season as star midfielder Kobe Ryan claimed the Russell Ebert Medal as best afield for his 28 disposals, 10 tackles and four clearances.

Johnson led from the front with 22 disposals and his vital goal while Glenelg recruit Brady Searle tallied 19 touches and laid a vital tackle on the outer wing last in the contest to help West to victory.

Port’s Trent McKenzie was forced from the field due to the blood rule after a heavy collision in the final minute, after he racked up 24 disposals and six marks.

Francis Evans continues to prove he is a class act at SANFL level with 22 disposals and two goals for the Pies while Josh Sinn has started the season brightly, curling through an eye-catching goal to go with 22 possessions and nine marks.

Port’s Trent McKenzie takes a strong mark. Picture – Grant Schwartzkopff

West captain Isaac Johnson kicked a vital goal in the last term. Picture – Grant Schwartzkopff

Sturt registered its opening victory of the 2024 Hostplus SANFL League as it eclipsed South Adelaide by 65 points at Flinders University Stadium.

Powered by a midfield masterclass from Will Snelling, James Battersby and Jared Dakin, the Double Blues were ignited by a five-goal haul from speedy forward James Mathews.

Despite losing premiership wingman Steven Slimming to a rib concern in the first half and with Rory Illman battling a thigh complaint, the visitors were still able to dominate the young Panthers.

Snelling, in just his second game for Sturt since arriving from Essendon, was everywhere as he found 38 disposals, 11 marks, six clearances and 10 tackles.

Captain Battersby finished with 31 touches and seven clearances while the unheralded Dakin kicked a classy goal on the run to go with his 29 disposals and eight clearances.

Mathews booted three of his five majors during the second term as the Double Blues turned up the heat to establish a 31-point buffer at half-time.

It would prove to be more than enough as Mathews’ fifth goal gave his side a match-high 72-point lead in the 23rd minute of the fourth quarter.

Sturt’s dominance was reflected in the inside 50m count, which it won 59 to 25 despite only having 24 more kicks for the game.

Fielding an inexperienced line-up full of local young talent, South had Hayden Sampson lead its stats sheet with 34 disposals, five clearances and four tackles.

For the hosts, Box Hill recruit Jake Arundell continues to impress, this time tallying 28 disposals, 12 marks and a goal while Oliver Davis worked hard in the middle to collect 26 disposals, 13 tackles and a goal.

South’s Eamon Wilkinson booted three goals, one of which could prove to be in the running for the Channel 7 Adelaide SANFL Goal of the Year, in which he slotted it through from the boundary after taking the crumbs cleanly on the run.

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