By ZAC MILBANK
South Adelaide performed the great escape on Friday night as Nicole Campbell kicked the match-winning goal to edge out North Adelaide by one point at Flinders University Stadium.
Trailing by as many as 29 points in the second term, the Panthers slowly edged their way back into the contest before producing a fine passage of play to secure the premiership points with just five seconds left on the clock.
With the ball at half-back, Hannah Munyard dashed forward before sending a nice foot pass through the corridor to Teah Charlton, who also moved the ball forward quickly inside South’s attacking 50m arc.
Mykala Walker-Murphy crumbed off hands beautifully and while being tackled, managed to get boot to ball far enough for Campbell to take a simple chest mark 20m from goal, directly in front.
The former Redleg used plenty of composure to slot through the winning major, with the final siren sounding as the ball was being transferred back to the centre square by the umpires.
It was a staggering comeback from South coach Rick Watts’ charges, who didn’t score a goal until Indy Tahau completed a 1-2 before slotting through on the run 13 minutes into the second term.
In contrast, the Roosters caught the Panthers on the hop early in the match, booting the opening four goals – two to Kelly Barltrop – to take a 25-point buffer into the first change.
And when North’s Adrienne Davies finished off her clever intercept from a South kick-in midway through the second stanza, it appeared as if the visitors were going to cause an upset with a five-goal break close to the main change.
But it wasn’t to be as Crows-listed Nikki Gore led the way for the hosts with 24 disposals and five tackles while the players involved in the final piece of play – Munyard, Campbell and Charlton – all registered double figures in the possession column.
Heart-broken North Adelaide will be left to lament not shutting the door on last year’s premier, booting just one goal – to Cristie Castle – in the final two and a half quarters of action.
SOUTH 0.0 1.5 3.6 5.9 (39)
NORTH 4.1 5.2 5.2 6.2 (38)
LEADING DISPOSALS – South: Nikki Gore 24, Czenya Cavouras 17, Hannah Munyard 16, Montana McKinnon, Nicole Campbell, Teah Charlton 14, Cheyenne Hammond 13.
North: Amber Ward, Rheanne Lugg, Sarah Ellis 15, Nadia Von Bertouch 14, Leah Tynan 12, Lauren Daniel 11.
GOALS – South: Alana Browne, Nicole Campbell, Jess Kirk, Indy Tahau, Mykala Walker-Murphy.
North: Kelly Barltrop 2, Cristie Castle, Adrienne Davies, Emma Sampson, Danielle Nunns.
Norwood cemented its place at the top of the ladder with a commanding 28-point win against Woodville-West Torrens at X Convenience Oval.
Bursting out of the blocks with a four-goal first term, the Redlegs were again well served by former GWS pair Najwah Allen and Hannah Dunn, who had 49 disposals between them.
Only inaccurate kicking for goal spoiled the evening for Norwood, who managed to keep several of the Eagles’ stars quiet in engineering the victory.
The Eagles didn’t manage a major until until co-captain Tash Farrier kicked truly 10 minutes into the third term, with Crows premiership forward Sarah Perkins the only other goal kicker for Tess Baxter’s outfit.
NORWOOD 4.1 4.3 5.8 5.12 (42)
EAGLES 0.1 0.2 1.2 2.2 (14)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Norwood: Najwah Allen 29, Hannah Priest 22, Hannah Dunn 20, Rhiannon Busch, Monique Hollick 17, Sophie Armitstead, Elisha Gallagher 15.
Eagles: Jovanka Zecevic 17, Kiana Lee 14, Stephanie Walker 13, Natasha Farrier, Sarah Perkins, Jaimi Tabb 10.
GOALS – Norwood: Hannah Dunn, Monique Hollick, Jo Hill, Rosette Zerella, Zoe Greer.
Eagles: Sarah Perkins, Natasha Farrier.
West Adelaide kept Glenelg goalless as it enhanced its finals chances with a 10-point victory at City Mazda Stadium.
Majors to the Bloods’ Emma Smith – 13 minutes into the second term – and Alexandra Mason – one minute into the fourth quarter – proved the difference as the hosts received strong contributions from Rebecca Owen, Abbie Ballard and Madison Newman.
Entering the match undefeated, the Bays were unable to make the most of their limited opportunities, with Charlotte Dawe and Celestina Dona scoring behinds in the third stanza.
Round 2 Powerade Breakthrough Player nominee Caitlin Gould was the visitors’ leading disposal-winner with 14.
WEST 0.0 1.1 1.1 2.1 (13)
GLENELG 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.3 (3)
LEADING DISPOSALS – West: Rebecca Owen 21, Abbie Ballard 17, Madison Newman 16, Lauren Rodato 12, Alexandra Mason, Bridie Stouppos 10.
Glenelg: Caitlin Gould 14, Lucy Armitage, Lucy Bellinger, Samantha Franson, Madisyn Freeman, Chelsea Packer 11.
GOALS – West: Alexandra Mason, Emma Smith.
Central District made it two wins in succession, holding off a fast-finishing Sturt by 16 points at X Convenience Oval.
With the game seemingly in control boasting a 33-point break at the final change, the Bulldogs held on to the premiership points despite the Double Blues booting their only three goals of the game in the fourth quarter.
Crows-listed Jessica Sedunary had an impact for the Bulldogs, racking up 17 disposals and a goal while youngster Laitiah Hunyh continued her steady improvement with 14 possessions.
The Double Blues had Sophie Hoyle, Caitlyn Swanson and Georgia Bevan collect 65 disposals between them but after that, the visitors had few meaningful contributions.
CENTRAL 2.4 2.5 5.7 5.8 (38)
STURT 0.1 0.4 0.4 3.4 (22)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Central: Jessica Sedunary 17, Demi Sonneman 16, Laitiah Huynh, Shannen Solly 14, Caitlen Teague 12.
Sturt: Sophie Hoyle 23, Caitlyn Swanson, Georgia Bevan 21, Lucy Griffith 13, Hannah Prenzler 11.
GOALS – Central: Katelyn Rosenzweig 2, Jessica Sedunary, Chantel Reynolds, Courtney Jensen.
Sturt: Caitlyn Swanson, Kate Harris, Lane Trenorden.