By ZAC MILBANK
North Adelaide hung on for a hard-fought eight-point win against a dogged South Adelaide at Prospect Oval.
Leading by three goals at the final change in a low-scoring encounter, the Roosters appeared headed for victory in front of a healthy crowd at Menzies Crescent.
But South Adelaide, after leading by 15 points early in the second term, refused to roll over despite conceding the advantage to the hosts.
Panthers co-captain Joel Cross – who only mustered one kick in the first half – suddenly sprang to life as he began to swing the match back in his team’s favour.
After earning a free kick at centre-half forward, Cross made the most of a 25m penalty which put him to the goal line.
The margin was cut to just 13 points but it was soon at seven when South veteran Alex Cailotto marked strongly at pace on the lead before converting his set shot from 30m.
The visitors had their tails up as they began to attack the goal face with more ferocity and this method paid dividends when the ball spilled free for Sam Overall to soccer through a goal from point-blank range.
With their advantage now just at one behind, Jacob Surjan’s charges were forced to respond and it didn’t take long as nippy goalsneak Frank Szekely nearly booted a contender for Channel 7 Goal of the Week when his checkside hit the top of the goal post.
Two minutes later, entering time-on, North vice-captain Andrew Moore timed his run to perfection when he didn’t break stride after reading the crumb off hands and snapping truly from 25m in front.
South’s Luke Bogle farmed out a quick handball to Ben Heaslip who snapped quickly just 90 seconds later but Heaslip’s behind was his team’s last score as North controlled the play to secure its fifth win of the year.
It was a significant victory for the Roosters, who edged ahead of South on the premiership table into second spot behind the pacesetting Eagles.
North had less of the ball overall but managed 12 more inside 50 entries, four more clearances while also applying exceptional defensive pressure with 27 more tackles.
Former Gold Coast Sun Harrison Wigg showed off his excellent ball use by foot to register a game high 29 disposals, with 25 of them being kicks from the back half and the wing.
Moore was equally influential, booting three goals – including the sealer – while also collecting 23 disposals, five clearances and laying seven tackles.
Fellow vice-captain Tom Schwarz was his industrious self for North with 23 disposals, seven tackles and seven clearances while Jarred Allmond and Campbell Combe also ensured the hosts had plenty of ball-winners.
Combe illustrated North’s fierce approach with a game-high 15 tackles while Lewis Hender booted three goals and Mitch Harvey two from his five scoring shots.
South’s Tom Highmore was again one of his side’s best performers as he continually tried to stem the tide under pressure, with the Canberra recruit reading the play nicely to intercept mark at speed in the third term before accepting a 1-2 handball to clear the area.
The medium-sized defender finished with 26 disposals and seven marks while former Power veteran Matthew Broadbent worked hard, particularly in the fourth quarter, to tally 25 disposals and four clearances.
Cailotto, Overall and impressive small forward Beau McCreery booted two goals each from limited opportunities while developing ruckman Cam McGree again had some nice moments en route to 18 disposals.
By ZAC MILBANK
An outstanding performance from Jack Hayes played a significant role in Woodville-West Torrens defeating Central District by 30 points at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval.
Dividing his time between the forward 50m arc and relieving Jarrad Redden in the ruck, Hayes was a massive influence on the contest as he racked up 28 disposals, 14 marks, three tackles and seven inside 50s while also booting 2.3 from his five scoring shots.
The 24-year-old also snared an equal game-high four contested marks as he often resembled an extra midfielder while playing out of the centre square.
Now sitting at the top of the Statewide Super League ladder, the Eagles set up their fifth win in succession with a five-goal first term blitz while keeping the Bulldogs scoreless.
Central worked its way back into the match with 4.4 to 1.0 in the second term but the hosts fought back in the third term to lead by as much as 39 points when James Rowe booted his sole goal for the game 22 minutes in.
Redden’s dominance in the ruck was evident as he racked up 37 hit outs as his team also took control of the clearances to earn a 46-21 advantage by the final siren.
The former Power bigman also managed 18 disposals and eight marks to help the Eagles win comfortably.
Joint Eagles vice-captain Joseph Sinor was one of the chief beneficiaries as he returned to his Powerade Breakthrough Player-winning form to rack up 13 of those clearances while also collecting a team-high 29 disposals.
Former Power defender Jimmy Toumpas continues to find plenty of the ball this year after notching 26 touches and six clearances while first-year midfielder Lachie McNeil’s consistency is already a feature after he finished with 21 disposals, four clearances and a goal.
Versatile swingman Jake Von Bertouch is relishing his move into attack this season, snaring a courageous mark while booting 3.2, chalking up 16 disposals and finishing with eight grabs to be the most effective key forward on the ground.
Central premiership midfielder James Boyd, playing in his first game back at Woodville since his off-season return to Elizabeth, worked hard to collect a game high 31 disposals and five clearances.
Veterans Justin Hoskin and Luke Habel battled hard for the visitors to register 41 touches between them while youngsters Rhett Montgomerie and Jack Toner were major positives for the Dogs.
Defender Montgomerie in particular is continuing to improve rapidly, finishing with 20 disposals, six tackles and nine marks – four of which were contested to match Jack Hayes’ tally.
But ultimately, just one quarter of football cost Central dearly as it continues to search for its first victory in season 2020.
By ZAC MILBANK
A rejuvenated Norwood found its mojo with a barnstorming 67-point win against West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium.
Tipped by many pundits to be a genuine contender for the premiership after building an incredibly deep midfield, the Redlegs were surprisingly without a win after the opening three rounds.
But Jarrod Cotton’s charges have well and truly awoken now, stringing together their last three victories in succession to sneak into the top four ahead of Glenelg’s clash with Sturt to close out Round 6 on Sunday.
And it was the clinical fashion in which the Redlegs went about their business which will have their rivals on notice as that centre-square combination dominated the contest.
Amassing 107 more disposals, the visitors smashed the Bloods at the stoppages to rack up a 41-15 advantage at the clearances, former Crow Richard Douglas leading the way with eight.
Douglas was in vintage form for the visitors, racking up 35 disposals and three goals while former North Melbourne ball magnet Ryan Bastinac took another step forward in his second game with 29 touches, 10 marks, five clearances and two goals.
Norwood captain Matthew Panos was instrumental in setting up the victory when he booted three of his four goals in the opening quarter, ensuring his team would build a handy 20-point lead at the first change.
The smooth-moving utility racked up 27 disposals and six clearances as Brad McKenzie, Mitch Grigg and Matthew Nunn also surpassed the 30-disposals mark.
Nunn’s performance would have been particularly pleasing for Legs’ officials considering it was his first game back after straining a hamstring at training three weeks ago.
McKenzie and Lewis Johnston set up plenty of play by controlling the tempo, each taking a staggering 16 marks.
Key Norwood forward Tom Pinyon hit the scoreboard with three goals while speedster Anthony Wilson celebrated his 100th Statewide Super League game in fine style with 2.3, his second establishing a 54-point lead late in the third quarter.
West’s Sam May started the game brightly kicking the first goal of the game with a 25m snap shot and two in the opening term but the Bloods were unable to pull the margin under 20 points for the remaining three quarters.
Consistent midfielder Kaine Stevens again stood tall against the tide for the hosts, tallying 31 disposals and seven marks while one of the finds of the season, former SANFL Crow Jordon Boyle, was again in the the thick of the action with 25 possessions and four tackles.
The Bloods also found another positive former Sydney Swans Academy player Hamish Ellem, with the debutant tallying 10 disposals and booting a nice 50m set shot after a diving mark in the second term.