By ZAC MILBANK
Sturt honoured its dual premiership captain Zane Kirkwood with a typically gritty five-point victory against Central District at X Convenience Oval.
SANFL’s latest addition to the 200 Club would have been extremely proud of his team-mates after they withstood a fierce Bulldogs outfit determined to pay tribute to 150-gamer Luke Habel.
Trailing by three points at the final change after earlier threatening to run away with the premiership points, the Double Blues were again looking the better side when they took an 11-point lead after Mark Evans booted his fifth 10 minutes into the fourth term.
But the feisty Dogs failed to read the script as Jarrod Schiller nailed a goal from 20m before Justin Hoskin converted his mark at the top of the goal square to give his side a one-point advantage approaching 14 minutes in.
Then Sturt veteran Danyle Pearce, celebrating SANFL’s Indigenous Round with a team-high 23 disposals, loomed as the match-winner only to see his 40m shot sail wide for a behind.
Scores were locked away entering time-on as the two sides were on track to record their first ever draw against each other.
The hosts edged in front again when Nick Gillard raced inside 50m but his foot pass over the top was too heavy for Troy Menzel, rolling through for a point.
Sturt then worked the ball to its half-forward line, only to hit a brick wall in Central’s defensive specialist Jordan Furnell who applied a great tackle to Mark Evans.
But after Furnell earned the free kick, it was suddenly reversed, allowing the visitors to put the ball long inside attacking 50m.
Sturt’s John Greenslade gathered it and handballed over his head into the path of team-mate James Battersby who kicked the match-winning major along the ground in the goal square.
With less then three minutes on the clock, the Bulldogs surged the ball forward but a desperate spoil from Sturt’s Henry Carey proved pivotal after RAA Rookie Corey Durdin looked set to find Menzel on the lead.
After a string of stoppages at Central’s half-forward line, the final siren sounded in the favour of the Double Blues as they inflicted the Dogs’ ninth loss in succession.
Pearce, Battersby with his vital goal, Steven Slimming and the skipper Kirkwood were all strong contributors as was Mark Evans with his five-goal haul.
The Bulldogs also had plenty of positives including 17-year-old Durdin who showed promising flashes while second-gamer Damon Robinson kicked three majors for the hosts.
Milestone man Habel also played an excellent game, having 21 disposals and taking a contested mark late in the fourth term to help slow the tempo for his team before Sturt snatched back the lead.
STURT 5.1 7.7 9.9 12.12 (84)
CENTRAL 4.3 6.6 9.6 12.7 (79)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Sturt: Pearce 23, Battersby, Kirkwood, Slimming 18, Colquhoun 17, Crocker 16.
Central: T. Schiller 32, J. Schiller 23, Goodrem 21, Habel, Hoskin 20, Menzel, Jydon Neagle 17.
GOALS – Sturt: M. Evans 5, Patullo 2, Battersby, Colquhoun, J. Hone, Slimming, Sutcliffe.
Central: Robinson 3, J. Schiller 2, Durdin, Hoskin, McKenzie, Menzel, Jydon Neagle, Matt Neagle, T. Schiller.
Port Adelaide snapped Adelaide’s eight-game winning streak in impressive fashion as it enhanced its premiership credentials with a 30-point win in Port Pirie.
Inflicting just the second loss on their arch-rival for the season and first since Round 2, the Magpies made the most of their fast start to keep the Crows at arm’s length for the majority of the afternoon.
Powered by a 10-goal combination between forwards Billy Frampton (six) and Boyd Woodcock (four), Matt Lokan’s men led by a defining 26 points after booting five goals to one in the opening term.
The fifth was celebrated hard after resolute Port defender Tom Corcoran crept down from the backline to receive a handball from Aidyn Johnson before sinking his first Statewide Super League goal from 35m out in front.
Adelaide closed to within 12 points at half-time on the back of a strong second term, shrugging off any concerns they would be without star midfielder Pat Wilson, who was ruled out for the match with concussion after clashing heads with Frampton midway through the first term.
But Magpies midfielder Joe Atley swung the momentum back the way of Port after the main break, gathering a loose ball at centre-half forward to sink a goal within 23 seconds of the second half resumption.
By the time in-form Frampton and Woodcock added another major each inside seven minutes into the third quarter, the advantage was back out to 30 points, which it stayed for the rest of the spirited encounter played at the redeveloped Memorial Oval.
Port veteran Matthew Broadbent was outstanding with his leadership as acting captain, finishing with a game-high 38 possessions and 17 marks to join Frampton as the most damaging players on the ground.
Magpies defender Jarrod Lienert also helped himself to 34 touches and six marks while key forward Todd Marshall may not have scored a goal but was creative in tallying 24 disposals and 10 marks.
Frampton finished with eight marks to go with his six pack of goals while Woodcock had 20 possessions and 10 marks as he continues his rapid development.
Without Wilson for the majority of the match, Adelaide struggled for the equal amount of meaningful contributors as Bryce Gibbs led the way with 25 disposals and seven clearances.
Experienced defender Andy Otten continued to put selection pressure on with another solid display while development player Tom Hutchesson continued his excellent debut season to chalk up 23 disposals and five clearances.
PORT ADELAIDE 5.4 7.5 12.7 15.9 (99)
ADELAIDE 1.2 5.5 9.7 10.9 (69)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Port: Broadbent 38, Lienert 34, Appleton 25, Atley, Drew, Marshall, Mayes 24, Woodcock 20, Hewett, Strange 19.
Adelaide: Gibbs 25, Otten 24, Hutchesson 23, Sholl 20, Boyle, Gallucci, Merrett 18.
GOALS – Port: Frampton 6, Woodcock 4, Atley, Corcoran, Davidson, Johnson, Ladhams.
Adelaide: Himmelberg 3, Strachan 2, Boyle, Fogarty, Gallucci, Jacobs, Wright.
Woodville-West Torrens continued its bold comeback for a berth in the final five after holding off a desperate South Adelaide by three points at Flinders University Stadium.
With one game – between Glenelg and Norwood – still to play in Round 13, the Eagles are now just 0.7 percent behind the Panthers after drawing level on 14 premiership points.
Sam Lonergan’s charges have now won six of their past seven matches after enduring a concerning five-game losing streak from Round 2 to 6.
And the visitors’ seventh win of the season came after a pulsating battle in which the margin never extended beyond the 20-point buffer the Panthers held approaching time-on in the third quarter.
Consecutive majors to Eagles James Rowe and Jack Hayes closing in on three-quarter time proved vital as the margin was slashed to just seven points at the final change.
And by the time Jack Hayes snapped from 20m out in traffic less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, the visitors only trailed by one point.
Booting three of the next four goals, the Eagles looked set for a comfortable win when Nick Hayes dropped a tough overhead mark before soccering the ball off the ground for an eye-catching goal to give his side a 17-point break 17 minutes in.
But then South veteran Nick Liddle hit back to trim the margin to 10 points with his second major before former Eagle Tom Whittlesea came back to haunt his old side with a goal to create plenty of anxiety with just two points separating the sides 25 minutes in.
A rushed behind to the Eagles was the last score of the match nearing the 27th minute as the visitors clung on to inflict a second loss in as many start for the hosts at Noarlunga.
Eagles midfielders James Boyd and Jesse Lonergan racked up 21 clearances between them in the midfield while Jordan Foote and Chris Hall were also prominent.
Matt Goldsworthy returned from injury to have 17 possessions and a goal while Rowe and Jack Hayes looked dangerous whenever the ball ventured inside 50m.
South’s Abe Davis and Joe Haines continued their great individual form this season to have 49 possessions between them while co-captain Joel Cross will rue his inaccurate kicking for goal after finishing with 2.4 from his six scoring shots.
EAGLES 3.0 6.4 9.7 14.8 (92)
SOUTH 3.4 6.7 10.8 13.11 (89)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Eagles: Boyd 25, Foote 24, Hall 22, Lonergan 19, Goldsworthy 17.
South: Davis 26, Haines 23, Heaslip 20, Cross 18, Noble 17.
GOALS – Eagles: J. Hayes, Rowe 3, Moore 2, Foote, Goldsworthy, Guilhaus, Hall, N. Hayes, Petrenko.
South: Cross, Liddle, Overall, Whittlesea 2, Biemans, Davis, Karpany, Noble, Sampson.
West Adelaide worked hard for its second win of the season after edging out North Adelaide by just two points at City Mazda Stadium.
Tasting victory for the first time since upsetting the Eagles in Round 4, the Bloods gave their vocal faithful plenty to cheer about with a heart-stopping victory to celebrate premiership defender Logan Hill reaching his 150th game.
And it was that man Hill who was in the thick of the action in the dying minutes to ensure his team would cling on to the premiership points and put North under pressure to avoid this year’s wooden spoon.
Boasting an eight-point lead at the final change, the Bloods were suddenly under threat when North defender Mackenzie Slee dashed through the corridor and found key forward Mitch Harvey on his own inside 50m.
Playing his 100th Statewide Super League game, Harvey slotted his set shot to give the Roosters a four-point lead 15 minutes into the fourth quarter.
But the Bloods were determined not to let the win slip after leading for the majority of the afternoon as they surged the ball through the corridor towards tall forward Jade Cleeland.
Cleeland then passed to Hugh Haysman on the lead, who nailed his 35m set shot from a slight angle to give Westies a one-point lead.
In fitting fashion, West’s Indigenous forwards Ken Karpany and Gibson Turner combined on the outer flank to give the latter a set shot from 40m.
The former Richmond rookie missed, leaving the door open for North to go direct down the corridor before Hill stood tall to win a critical 50-50 ball at half-back.
North then came again to have former Eagle Jarred Allmond let fly on goal from just inside 50m only to see his shot fall short towards the pocket.
And it was there that Hill combined with key defender Pat Levicki to ensure the ball would stay out of dangerous territory until the final siren sounded.
West’s Kaine Stevens, who had 20 disposals at half-time, was his team’s leading ball-winner with 30 while premiership captain Chris Schmidt had 21.
Karpany played one of his best games for the year to finish with 20 touches and two goals while premiership wingman Hugh Haysman also continues to hit the scoreboard.
North’s Lewis Hender booted half of his team’s goals for the game with a tally of three while key defender Tanner Smith finished with 26 possessions and 15 marks for the Roosters.
WEST 1.2 4.3 5.8 6.10 (46)
NORTH 1.2 2.2 4.6 6.8 (44)
LEADING DISPOSALS – West: K. Stevens 30, Schmidt 21, Batley, Dunkin, Karpany 20, Willsmore 19, Wasley-Black 18, P. Fairlie 17.
North: Smith 26, Allmond, Jarman 22, Tropiano 21, C. Craig, Neagle 19, Spina 18, T. Schwarz 17.
GOALS – West: H. Haysman, Karpany 2, Parrella, K. Stevens.
North: Hender 3, Harvey, T. Schwarz, Thring.