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The King’s Memorable Moment

Norwood's Matthew ''The King'' Panos snaps the match-winning goal on his left foot. Picture - Cory Sutton


Norwood fanatics call Matthew Panos ”The King.”

And if any other SANFL supporters were left in any doubt as to the reason why, they now know after the 31-year-old etched himself into Grand Final folklore with his moment of brilliance to win the 2022 title-decider.

With the Redlegs trailing by five points, the 2014 Jack Oatey Medallist had one last opportunity to make a statement as the ball was thrown in from the scoreboard pocket at the northern end of Adelaide Oval.

Closely-checked by North Adelaide defender Cameron Craig, Panos knew he had to get separation if he was to be any chance to earn a shot on goal.

Enter Jacob Kennerley.

The disciplined Norwood midfielder, who had carried a heavy load as acting captain throughout the majority of the minor round, stepped up when it mattered most.

In selfless fashion, Kennerley blocked the run of Craig, ensuring Panos would receive the space required to rove the ball beautifully from ruckman Harry Boyd.

And by timing his run to hit the ball at speed, there would be no opportunity for a Rooster to tackle him as he snapped truly on his left boot, much to the delight of the red-and-blue faithful.

”I just knew I had to get on the move at the forward stoppage,” Panos told SANFL Radio in the changerooms after the match.

”I can’t remember, maybe it was Nick Lowden or someone put a nice block on, I read the tap to go over the back.

”I sort of fumbled around and whacked it on the left foot. It just went in but I will say it was never in doubt.

”That feeling after the goal is something that will probably never happen again.”

By now, Panos will know it was Kennerley who paved the way for him to put Norwood in front by a point with less than a minute to play.

But it was no surprise that it was Panos to produce the match-winning play, having already done so in Round 8 this year, when he kicked the winning goal against Adelaide at The Parade.

It was his comeback match after spending 628 days on the sidelines recovering from a serious knee injury, likened to one received in a car accident.

Like that night, Norwood’s No.4 doesn’t need to get many touches to influence the outcome of a match.

He only finished with 12 disposals in the Grand Final but his opening term major, also kicked with a left-foot snap was arguably just as valuable as his last.

At the time, the Redlegs were being swamped by the fresh Roosters, who soon opened up a match-high 19 point lead before quarter-time.

But then Panos struck again with a perfectly-timed goal assist to teammate Baynen Lowe, his swift handball setting up Lowe to dribble through Norwood’s second for the day on the verge of the first change.

Whether it be the start or finish, the King is always making his presence felt when wearing his red and blue robes.

Norwood’s Matthew Panos celebrates after kicking the match-winning goal in the 2022 Grand Final. Picture – Cory Sutton

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