By ZAC MILBANK
Woodville-West Torrens shot to the top of the premiership table with a gritty 15-point win against North Adelaide at Prospect Oval.
After narrowly losing their opening game to South Adelaide, the Eagles have since strung together three victories on the trot in impressive fashion.
Coming off an eye-catching 65-point triumph against Norwood, Jade Sheedy’s charges showed tremendous fight after appearing well out of the contest during the first term.
The Roosters, playing in front of their home fans for the first time this season, had their tails up early as star forward Lewis Hender booted two of the opening three goals of the game.
It wasn’t until James Rowe booted the first of his four goals that the Eagles troubled the goal scorers list right on the siren for quarter-time.
Despite having less of the football, the Eagles had 10 more clearances for the match as they slowly worked their way back into the contest with midfielders Jordan Foote and Jimmy Toumpas instrumental.
Foote, last year’s Eagles’ Club Champion, was well and truly back to his best with 34 disposals, 10 clearances, eight marks and two goals.
The former Sydney Swan gave the visitors the lead when he managed to snap truly despite having an opponent hanging off him as each team managed just one goal each during the third quarter.
Trailing by one point at the final change, it was that man Rowe who made his presence felt again as he snapped from 25m to give his side the lead less than 60 seconds after the bounce.
The nippy goalsneak was at it again midway through the the last stanza when the Eagles produced one of the cleanest passage of play for the match.
Reinvigorated veteran Matt Goldsworthy sparked the corridor attack, hitting Jake Von Bertouch on the lead, who laid it off to Joseph Sinor.
Sinor then laced Rowe out on the lead, with Rowe giving the Eagles a 12-point lead before Jack Hayes made the margin three goals nearing time-on.
North forward Kym Lebois’ flying shot from 50m just had enough legs in it to clear the goalline to give his side faint hope in the 24th minute.
But when Goldsworthy swept a monster handball to young Eagles midfielder Lachie McNeil in the goal square, it was time for the visitors to celebrate the 100th League game of half-forward Nick Hayes.
Sinor, Angus Poole and Goldworthy played important support acts to Foote and Toumpas while first-year defenders Lachie Jones and Jacob Wehr continue to look at home playing against men.
North vice-captain Andrew Moore fought hard for his side all afternoon with 33 disposals, five tackles and eight clearances while left-footers Harrison Wigg and Jarred Allmond also found plenty of the ball for the hosts.
It was North’s first loss for the season, having previously been the competition’s only unbeaten team leading into Round 4.
By ZAC MILBANK
West Adelaide caused a boilover as it secured its first premiership points in more than a year with a plucky 16-point win against Glenelg at Hisense Stadium.
Without a win since defeating North by two points on July 13 of 2019, the Bloods piled on the pain for the Tigers during the third quarter, booting four goals while holding the reigning premier scoreless.
”I’ll sleep a bit better tonight – I haven’t slept very well since our last win over a year ago,” a relieved Bloods coach Gavin Colville told Channel 7 after the final siren.
”It’s just so rewarding for the players because they have been trying and learning for so long now. The message at three-quarter time was just to keep going with the process. I knew if we stuck at our game plan we would be OK.”
West captain Tom Keough flourished in his team’s three-prong forward line with five goals, as fellow forwards Lyndon Hupfeld and Riley Thilthorpe played important structural roles.
Keough set the tone for his side in the first term with two classy snap shot goals, he then found plenty of space inside 50m early in the second quarter to mark low to the ground ahead of booting his third.
The former Gold Coast Sun restored the lead for the hosts after marking strongly on the lead from a Hupfeld pass before giving West a 13-point lead 7 minutes into the fourth term from his 20m set shot, directly in front.
”It’s nice to finally get a win on the board,” Keough told Channel 7 after the match.
”We knew the work we were doing, we were nearly there, but now it’s nice to just finally get there.
”It was good to get on the end of the few but I was just happy for us to get the win.”
West’s hunger at the stoppages was evident as it made the most of its 47-26 hit out advantage to gain a 40 to 27 edge at the clearances, whilst also posting 48 inside 50 entries to Glenelg’s 31.
Bloods midfielders Jordan Boyle, Brett Turner, Kaine Stevens and Pat Fairlie were instrumental in this, collecting 23 clearances between them.
Murray Waite and Isaac Johnson showed plenty of dash in registering 17 disposals and a goal each while vice-captain Logan Hill was rock solid for West across half-back with 21 possessions.
Glenelg defenders Andrew Bradley, Chris Curran and Max Proud defended tirelessly against the tide as did Michael Virgin, who took 10 marks – at least two of them in a courageous manner – in his return to the side.
Jack Oatey Medallist Matthew Snook also never gave in for the Bays, tallying a game-high 12 clearances to go with his 25 possessions.
By ZAC MILBANK
South Adelaide steadied its place in the top four with a convincing 23-point win against Sturt at Flinders University Stadium.
Despite scoring just one behind in the second quarter, the Panthers’ dominant third term – which yielded 5.3 as Sturt failed to score – proved to be the catalyst in their third win of the season.
South had 41 more kicks and 35 more marks which translated into a mammoth 58-30 inside 50 advantage, with the concession of four late goals to the Double Blues the only sour point for Panthers coach Jarrad Wright.
After Sturt ruckman Daniel Fahey-Sparks cut the margin to four points 21 minutes into the second term, the hosts went on their match-defining rampage by kicking the next seven goals in succession.
With former Power defender Matthew Broadbent prominent, the Panthers extended their lead to as much as 49 points when hard-working forward Sam Overall kicked his two goals to open the fourth term.
But Sturt had a sudden sniff of a remarkable comeback by the 16th minute of the final quarter when captain James Battersby capped off his strong performance with a goal, trimming the margin to 24 points.
South managed to steady though, Broadbent finishing with 32 disposals, four tackles, five clearances and a goal while impressive defensive recruit Tom Highmore snared 12 marks to go with his 27 possessions.
Midfielders Ben Heaslip, Joel Cross and Nic Schwarz also played their part in the South win, the latter racking up 10 tackles and seven clearances.
The visitors were well led by their first-year skipper Battersby with 29 disposals and 11 clearances while Sam Colquhoun got back to his ball-winning ways with 29 touches and eight clearances.
In just his second League game, strong Sturt midfielder Tom Lewis kicked the first goal of the fourth term while also laying 12 tackles and collecting 13 possessions.
By ZAC MILBANK
A 10-goal second half wasn’t enough for Central District to reel in Norwood as the hosts held firm for an 18-point win at The Parade.
Recording their first win of the season, the Redlegs conceded seven goals in the final quarter having previously restricted the Bulldogs to two up until the main change.
Introducing another three AAMI Rookies – Jed Spence, Isaac Saywell and Jacob Collins – Norwood set the victory up with a strong performance up until three-quarter time.
The Redlegs stretched the margin to as much as 44 points late in the third term and three minutes into the fourth quarter as forwards Tom Pinyon and Peter Bampton made the most of their opportunities to kick four goals each.
But the visitors – led by a six-goal haul from Justin Hoskin – cut the deficit to just seven points when playing assistant coach John Butcher kicked his third goal of the game 23 minutes into the last stanza.
It was Central’s seventh since the final change as it threatened to pinch the points but the hosts steadied with goals to Bampton and Declan Hamilton to give their fans a reason to smile for the first time in 2020.
Former Crow Richard Douglas displayed his class for Norwood to tally a game high 34 disposals to go with his seven marks, nine clearances and two goals.
Norwood ruckman Sam Baulderstone continued his strong start to the season to continue having an impact at the stoppages in racking up 12 clearances as well as 25 disposals and 35 hit outs.
Magarey Medallist Mitch Grigg played his role with 24 disposals and a goal while former Geelong VFL defender Nic Rokahr continues to make a good impression with 22 touches.
Collins, from the Ceduna Blues on Eyre Peninsula, was the pick of the Redlegs’ debutants with 18 disposals while Saywell had 13 and Reserves Magarey Medallist Spence 10.
Hoskin made a welcome return for the Bulldogs to collect 19 disposals with his six-pack of majors while the Schiller brothers also made a difference to rack up 46 touches between them.
Former Redleg Chris Olsson was a bright spot playing against his old side for the first time, registering 22 possessions and a goal while veteran James Boyd led his team again with a team-high 30 disposals.
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