Woodville-West Torrens may have lost the tackle battle but it won the vital premiership points with a one-point thriller against South Adelaide at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval.
In extremely challenging conditions at Woodville, the Eagles kicked just four goals for the game and didn’t manage a score in the final term.
Yet the reigning premier opened up a defining two-match premiership table advantage on the Panthers and Redlegs after cementing fifth spot approaching the bye.
South Adelaide laid an incredible 191 tackles to the Eagles’ 136 but the Eagles made their inside 50 entries count with four less scoring shots in the exhausting arm-wrestle.
With the Eagles ahead by just two points at the final change, South couldn’t make the most of its best foray forward in the fourth quarter as forward Eamon Wilkinson repeatedly soccered the ball in front of himself.
It finished in the path of AAMI Rookie Dylan Brown who was unable to curl his shot at goal through, the resulting behind proving to be the sole scoring shot from either team for the final 23 minutes.
With players having to deal with heavy rain, strong wind and thick mud it seemed to play havoc with forwards on both teams as South’s Sam Overall missed a his shot on the goalline in the first term.
Not to be outdone, Daniel Menzel – who had earlier curled through a beauty on his left – suddenly changed his set shot routine into a snap, only to see his kick touched well before it reached the goal from 20m.
Coming off a 48-disposals performance against Sturt, Eagles midfielder Riley Knight was adjudged the Coles Value Player for his 28 disposals, 13 tackles and seven clearances while Troy Menzel kicked half of his team’s goals with a pair.
Eagle Max Litster, with 17 disposals, showed plenty of courage while also containing Wilkinson in the crucial fourth-term play while teammate Dylan Clarke laid an amazing 19 tackles.
Overall was South’s leading tackler with 18, an excellent effort for a tall forward, while Mitch O’Neill racked up 22 disposals and 14 tackles as ruck Keegan Brooksby was tireless in collecting 15 disposals, nine tackles, six clearances, 36 hit outs and a goal.
Sign up to see all the news from around the SANFL each week – directly in your inbox!