By ZAC MILBANK
North Adelaide proved its the real deal in 2020 after crunching a lack-lustre Norwood by 52 points at Prospect.
Making the most of the wind in the first term, the Roosters set up their win with a five-goal burst while ensuring the Redlegs would remain scoreless until the opening change.
Strengthening their position inside the Statewide Super League’s top two, Jacob Surjan’s men continued their dominance in the second stanza to establish a six-goal break at the main change.
With joint vice-captains Andrew Moore (25 disposals) and Tom Schwarz (28 disposals) running riot in the midfield with Campbell Combe (28 disposals and 13 tackles), the hosts got the mercurial Lewis Hender involved early in the contest.
The North premiership forward booted three of his four goals in the first quarter, the third from a very tight set shot on the boundary to finish off a nice baulk and foot pass from fellow forward Frank Szekely.
Left-footers Jarred Allmond and Harrison Wigg were their constructive selves off half-back to rack up 45 possessions between them but the best afield was undoubtedly North captain Alex Spina, who chalked up 10 rebound 50s.
Racking up a game-high 32 disposals, Spina also took more marks than any other player on the field (12) as he read the ball superbly across half-back to intercept several of the Redlegs’ forward forays.
The former Crow’s desperate smother in the first term not only set the tone for his teammates but got the Rooster faithful rocking in the grandstand.
Cameron Craig and Tanner Smith continued their great form as North’s twin towers in defence, the latter snaring a contender for inclusion in the Digital Pass Marks of the Week when he climbed high for an overhead grab in the opening term.
North didn’t have a passenger as Kym Lebois and Lee Minervini also chimed in with two goals each while Ben Jarman kicked a goal remarkably similar to those kicked by his father Darren when he strode with poise on the outer side, took a bounce and finished on the run from 50m.
As North cemented its place in the top two, Norwood remains in fifth spot after losing valuable percentage in the disappointing loss to the Roosters.
The visitors’ first score didn’t come until Will Abbott curled his set shot from the boundary around nicely to goal from 30m, nearly five minutes into the second stanza.
Two goals in succession to Mitch Grigg and Dom Barry cut the margin to 33 points midway in the third term but North powered away to boot the next four in a row to lead by 56 at the final change.
Grigg had the most disposals for Norwood with 28 to go with eight clearances and six tackles while Richard Douglas had 26 possessions, seven tackles and a goal.
Norwood vice-captain Sam Baulderstone had 21 disposals, seven clearances, a goal and 36 hit outs but the Redlegs had very few meaningful contributions on a forgettable afternoon.
By ZAC MILBANK
South Adelaide solidified its place in the top-four with a barnstorming 41-point win against a disappointing Glenelg outfit at ACH Group Stadium.
The Panthers threatened to break the back of the Tigers on several occasions in the first half before eventually setting up the victory with a six-goal third term while holding the hosts scoreless.
Claiming the Peter Carey-Peter Darley Cup between the two teams, Jarrad Wright’s charges looked desperate to atone for last round’s loss to the Eagles right from the first bounce.
Captain Joel Cross claimed the inaugural John Schneebichler Medal after making an impression early in the contest, booting two of his three goals in the opening quarter.
Finishing with 25 disposals, seven tackles and eight clearances, Cross was a significant difference-maker across half-forward and through the midfield.
Despite his small stature he also took a strong overhead mark and let fly with a long 60m set shot with the wind at his back just before quarter-time.
Panthers key forward Sam Overall also chimed in with three goals while the creative Liam Fitt and Beau McCreery booted two each.
Along with Cross, Fitt and McCreery were prominent as South started its third-term surge, McCreery firing out a nice handball to Williamstown recruit Daly Andrews who kicked a nice goal on the run in his League debut.
When Fitt crumbed and kicked truly 10 minutes after the main break, the Panthers suddenly had an ominous-looking 30-point advantage.
Rebounding defender Joseph Haines – who was blanketed by Eagle Jack Firns last round – returned to form with 22 disposals and seven marks while Matthew Broadbent was a steadying influence with 21 touches.
Coming off their best win of the season against Norwood at The Parade in Round 8, the Tigers looked a different outfit as South showed its desperation to stake its claim for a finals berth.
Milestone man Carl Nicholson could hold his head high with 26 disposals, eight tackles and seven clearances in his 100th Statewide Super League game for the Bays.
Magarey Medallist Luke Partington had 26 and nine tackles while Matthew Snook had 11 clearances from his 18 handballs.
Ultimately the hosts didn’t have enough meaningful contributions as South won the inside 50 count 55 to 44 while engineering 16 more scoring shots than Glenelg.
By ZAC MILBANK
Woodville-West Torrens went about its business to maintain its spot at the top of the ladder with a 37-point win against an injury-hit Sturt at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval.
As has been the case all season, the Eagles had an incredibly even spread of contributors as it led at every change to keep the Double Blues at bay.
Restricting the visitors to just two goals in the opening three terms, Jade Sheedy’s outfit displayed its efficiency considering it only drew level with Sturt’s total of 41 inside 50 entries.
Jack and Nick Hayes got things moving for the Eagles with goals in the first quarter, together with James Rowe – who booted the first of his three in the seventh minute.
By the time Rowe – currently leading the race for the Ken Farmer Medal – booted his second major, the Eagles had opened up a commanding 30-point advantage nearly 10 minutes into the third quarter.
In contrast, the Double Blues went from four minutes into the first term when Henry Carey opened their account until 16 minutes into the third to construct their second goal of the game.
By the final change, Sturt had just one fit player on the bench after suffering match-ending injuries to ruckman Darcy Bennett (ankle – 2nd term), Carey (heavy knock – third term) and forward Jake Sutcliffe (knee – third term).
Sutcliffe – who left the ground on crutches – was an important absentee given he had booted six majors the week before against Central.
Sturt captain James Battersby again fought valiantly to register 28 disposals and 10 clearances while defender Tom Harms had 23 disposals and took 12 marks.
Premiership wingman Steven Slimming had 24 disposals while late-season recruit Jack Henderson tallied 26 disposals, 10 tackles and five clearances to show he will be a valuable asset at Unley.
But it wasn’t enough to overcome the Eagles, who had five players reach at least 20 disposals, with vice-captain Joseph Sinor also booting two important goals.
VFL signing James Tsitas is looking more comfortable each week after tallying 23 disposals and a goal while Jimmy Toumpas and Chris Hall had 22 possessions each.
Ruck replacement Jordan West was solid with 14 disposals, three marks and three clearances as the Eagles had another AAMI Rookie in Zane Williams, who finished with nine disposals and two tackles.
By ZAC MILBANK
Central District chalked up its first win of the season with a hard-fought 22-point win against West Adelaide at X Convenience Oval.
Seeking to avoid their first wooden spoon since 1977, the Bulldogs have now joined the Bloods with three premiership points courtesy of their draw in Round 2.
But Central remains in eighth place for now as West boasts a narrow 1.2 per cent advantage in seventh spot.
Leading by just four points at the final change, Jeff Andrews’ side looked in trouble when West captain Tom Keough took just 33 seconds to reclaim the lead with his shot on the run from 40m.
But the lead was restored for Central less than two minutes later when Wagga recruit Jackson Kelly – son of Brownlow Medallist Paul Kelly – strode through the corridor to lace out forward John Butcher on the lead.
Butcher received a 25m penalty to put him 20m in front and once he just crept it through, Central wouldn’t surrender its advantage again after ensuring the visitors wouldn’t score again.
Classy Justin Hoskin – the best player on the ground with 29 disposals and 13 marks – kicked his fourth goal after converting a clever juggling mark on the lead.
It didn’t matter the Bulldogs hit the post three times in the fourth quarter as VFL youngster Jack Toner defied the odds to have his 50m set shot just clear the line for the sealing goal 16 minutes in.
The statistics suggested it was a well-deserved victory for Central, which had 44 inside 50s to West’s 32 while also mustering 12 more scoring shots.
Hoskin was well supported by ball magnets Travis Schiller and James Boyd who had 28 and 27 disposals respectively while Kyle Presbury returned to form with 25 possessions and five marks.
Toner continued to impress with 21 disposals and his sealing major while raw ruckman Jonathan Marsh had arguably his best League game for the Dogs with 19 disposals and 22 hit outs.
West defender Elliot Dunkin made a welcome return to the side to collect a game high 32 disposals to go with six marks and three tackles.
Consistent Bloods Jordon Boyle (27 disposals), Brett Turner (25 disposals) and Aaron Anderson (23 disposals) were again fighting hard for their side as was Sam May (22 disposals), who showed incredible courage in a heavy collision during the last term to win a 50-50 ball.
GWS Academy recruit Lachie Squire made the most of his opportunity on debut to rack up 19 disposals and four clearances while Keough was West’s only multiple goal kicker to go with 13 disposals and five marks.
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