By ZAC MILBANK
It was nothing short of a monumental minor round victory for the Glenelg Football Club.
In an encounter befitting of a finals clash, the Tigers got the ideal tune up for September when it hung tough to overcome a star-studded Adelaide line-up by two points at ACH Group Stadium.
Still without hard-working forward Josh Scott and classy Geelong recruit Cory Gregson, the Bays stayed true to their team mantra to hold firm against the likes of Eddie Betts, Bryce Gibbs, Sam Jacobs and Richard Douglas.
”It’s a huge win for the club – that’s four big wins in a row,” Glenelg midfielder Luke Partington, who led the way for his team with 31 disposals, told Channel 7.
”They (Adelaide) were quality opposition and fortunately we had enough to hold on in the end.”
After bolting out of the blocks to kick the first three goals of the game, the hosts went toe-to-toe with the Crows in an entertaining first half which continued to ebb and flow with significant momentum swings.
Former Tiger Darcy Fogarty appeared to give the visitors some meaningful purpose when he nailed a set shot from 40m to give his side an 11-point lead three points into the third quarter.
Second-game Tiger forward Darcy Le Cornu had his hair ruffled after his first career goal (pictured above) before a defining three-goal cameo from classy Glenelg forward Luke Reynolds late in the third quarter gave the Bays punch leading into the final change.
”It certainly helps when the ball is coming out of the middle the way it did so it was good to have an impact in the third term,” said Reynolds, who booted 4.1 to match his fellow forward Liam McBean.
Powerade Breakthrough Player contender Brad Close nailed a long set shot on the three-quarter time siren to earn a 20-point lead for the Tigers with a quarter to play.
But there was still plenty of sweat to be spent by the Bays as Adelaide veteran Betts, making his Statewide Super League debut, showed why he’s been one of the best small forwards in the modern era.
Just three minutes into the fourth quarter, Betts kept his feet to swoop on a loose ball and snap truly along the ground from 15m.
Midway through the final stanza, Betts struck again when he snuck up on Tiger defender Will Gould to catch him holding the ball 20m out directly in front, trimming the lead to just two points.
After Hugh Greenwood’s quick snap in traffic fell wide for a behind, McBean soon after had a chance to put the Crows out of the contest when he had a set shot from 45m on a slight angle.
But his shot sailed wide, allowing Heath Younie’s men to quickly sweep the ball through to the other end where Greenwood marked strongly and passed to another experienced Crow in Richard Douglas.
Douglas, who finished with 34 disposals and three goals, was unable to boot a fourth when his set shot from 55m fell short at the top of the goal square.
After two stoppages with the Tigers’ defenders – including captain Chris Curran who took two memorable marks with the game on the line – desperately holding the ball in, the final siren sounded much to the joy of the Bays’ faithful.
”It was a bit shaky towards the end but I was always confident we could win – it was
like finals footy really,” Curran told Channel 7.
”I was down a bit early so it was good to snare a couple of marks towards the end.”
Securing the premiership points has all but sewn up the minor premiership for the Bays, who now boast a four-point advantage over the Crows at the top of the table.
Matthew Snook, Andrew Bradley and Marlon Motlop all played strong roles in the win to assist Partington in the centre square while tough-tackling Brad Agnew enjoyed a strong first half with two goals.
Gibbs was the only player on the ground to crack 40 disposals, displaying strong work-rate to get his touches at various points on the field while Douglas also pushed his claims for an AFL recall.
First-year Crows draftee Chayce Jones lifted his output to tally 19 touches and a goal while Betts’ attitude was typically superb as he booted four goals without a miss to go with his 14 disposals.
Veteran ruckman Sam Jacobs had a hard-fought duel against former Collingwood bigman Jesse White, with ”Sauce” booting two clever goals in the first term to make his intentions felt.
GLENELG 4.2 8.3 15.4 15.6 (96)
ADELAIDE 4.4 8.7 11.8 14.10 (94)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Glenelg: Partington 31, Snook 24, Bradley, Motlop 21, Curran 19, Scharenberg 18, Agnew, Schott 17.
Adelaide: Gibbs 40, Douglas 34, Greenwood 23, Sholl 22, Jones, Seymour 19.
GOALS – Glenelg: McBean, Reynolds 4, Agnew 2, Close, Le Cornu, Motlop, Partington, White.
Adelaide: Betts 4, Douglas 3, Jacobs 2, Fogarty 2, Gallucci, Greenwood, Jones, Wright.
Central District displayed tremendous spirit to overwhelm West Adelaide by 15 points at City Mazda Stadium.
Trailing the Bloods by 16 points at the final change, Roy Laird’s men turned the game on its head for the second week in succession with a sensation quarter of football – this time the fourth quarter.
The visitors – with former Crow Troy Menzel looming as an x-factor – slammed on five goals in the final half-an-hour while keeping the hosts scoreless.
And to add further merit to the victory, Central managed this without two players for much of the second half as Marcus Barreau (concussion) and Kyle Presbury (Achilles strain) were sidelined by injury on the interchange bench.
With scores locked together on 37 at the major change, West looked set to take control of the contest when skipper Tom Keough ran into space to mark on a lead before converting his set shot from 35m out on a slight angle.
It gave the Bloods a 13-point lead which was soon whittled back to four before goals to defender Pat Levicki and first-year youngster Keelan Laube pushed the margin back out to 16 at the end of the third quarter.
But then Menzel and his Bulldogs put their stamp on the season by engineering a stirring victory to kick the five goals in succession, two of them to the classy left-footer.
Menzel’s fourth came from a trick set shot 40m out on the wrong side of the ground for a left-footer, but he celebrated in style with a big fist pump once he slotted it through.
Unheralded Cooper Dahms the leapt high to smother his opponent’s kick, gather and handball over the top to Nick Gillard who put the result beyond doubt running into an open goal right on the stroke of time-on.
The Schiller brothers – Jarrod and Travis – continued their tireless work in the midfield to combine for 57 disposals as their hit form continued nearing the end of the minor round.
Dogs captain Trent Goodrem had 23 touches while fellow veterans Kyle Jenner and Luke Habel also surpassed the 20-possession barrier.
Menzel was the significant difference-maker though, finishing with 18 disposals, six marks, three tackles and three clearances to go with his four goals.
Bloods premiership pair Chris Schmidt and Kaine Stevens were the highest disposal-winners for their team with 31 each, while teenager Sam May showed positive signs collecting 18 in just his second game of League football.
Hawthorn recruit Dallas Willsmore continued his late-season form surge with 25 possessions and a goal while 17-year-old Riley Thilthorpe kicked a pair of majors after scoring three the previous week against Sturt.
CENTRAL 3.4 5.7 6.10 11.11 (77)
WEST 4.0 6.1 10.2 10.2 (62)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Central: J. Schiller 30, T. Schiller 27, Goodrem, Jenner 23, Habel 22, Hoskin 19, Menzel 18.
West: Schmidt, K. Stevens 31, Waite 27, Willsmore 25, Batley 23, Dunkin 22, May 18.
GOALS – Central: Menzel 4, J. Schiller 2, Fort, Gillard, Hoskin, Jenner, Presbury.
West: Keough, Thilthorpe 2, Cleeland, H. Haysman, Laube, Levicki, K. Stevens, Willsmore.