Eagles soar to 2021 SANFL premiership

WOODVILLE-WEST Torrens has risen to the challenge and gone back-to-back, defeating Glenelg by 67 points in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Grand Final yesterday. In what was a jaw-dropping performance from midway through the first term, the Eagles booted 14 of the last 16 goals to run away with the 15.9 (99) to 4.8 (32) victory. It backed up their semi-final win over the Bays, who heading into the final round of the season, had not lost a game. Though over the next four matches, the minor premiers would lose three of them, enabling Woodville-West Torrens to be crowned 2021 premiers, their second consecutive flag and fifth overall.

WWT EAGLES 5.2 | 6.2 | 10.5 | 15.9 (99)
GLENELG 2.2 | 2.3 | 3.4 | 4.8 (32)

Jack Oatey Medallist: Jack Hayes (WWT Eagles)

Hungry to bounce back from their semi-final loss, the Bays were the first on the board, kicking the early major through Marlon Motlop to hit the front. Daniel Menzel soon replied, before Lachie Hosie put the minor premiers back in front from a goal. The pivotal turning point came via a Menzel brothers spark, as Daniel booted his second, then Troy Menzel (two) and fellow ex-AFL talent Tyson Stengle would combine for three more to head into quarter time with an 18-point advantage.

Remarkably, the second term was an arm-wrestle after the free-flowing first quarter, as just 1.1 was scored between the teams. The sole goal came via Stengle for his second, but it meant the Eagles had now kicked five unanswered goals to the main break, and lead by 23 points. The Eagles were well on truly on top, and in the first 10 minutes of the third term, the game looked all but done, as Angus Poole, Jack Hayes and Kobe Mutch all slotted majors as the favourites had 3.2 to 0.1 on the board at that point, and the lead was way out to 37 points.

Brett Turner converted the Bays’ first goal in over half an hour, but Daniel Menzel again stepped up to slot his third, with the final break lead blown out to 44 points and party time enabled for the Eagles supporters at Adelaide Oval. It certainly was party time, as the two competitive outfits went their separate ways as so often happens in a grand final, with the ex-AFL experience of the Eagles through Stengle, the Menzel brothers and Mutch slotting a combined four last quarter goals, as Jake Comitogianni also hit the scoreboard for the winners, and Matthew Allen kicked a consolation goal midway through the term for Glenelg.

The last three majors came in quick succession for Woodville-West Torrens, as they ran out the game in emphatic fashion, storming to a 67-point win, and earning back-to-back titles to draw level with Glenelg on five flags. It was a well-deserved victory, with the eagles amassing 58 more disposals throughout the match, as well as 11 more clearances, seven more inside 50s and four more rebound 50s. They were simply better all over the park. Glenelg did lay 16 more tackles and constantly put pressure on the opposition, but were eventually overwhelmed late once the result was beyond doubt.

Hayes won the 2021 Jack Oatey Medal for best on ground, following his huge performance of 26 disposals, nine marks – four contested – five tackles, 12 hitouts, seven clearances, three inside 50s and 1.2 for the afternoon. He and James Tsitas (21 disposals, seven tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s) were the best of the non prior AFL listed talents, as Riley Knight (27 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles, eight clearances, eight inside 50s and four rebound 50s) was also superb. Mutch (26 disposals, four marks, 12 tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and two goals) and Jimmy Toumpas (25 disposals, five marks, three clearances, four inside 50s and five rebound 50s) also found a ton of the ball, and the small forward trio of the Menzel brothers and Stengle combined for 10 of the team’s 15 majors.

For Glenelg, Dylan Landt was superb in defence with 11 rebound 50s to go with 26 touches, six marks, three inside 50s, two clearances and two tackles. Through midfield, the trio of Matthew Snook (22 disposals, two marks, nine tackles, nine clearances and five inside 50s), Luke Partington (21 disposals, three marks, five tackles, six clearances and five inside 50s) and Turner (21 disposals, three marks, six tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and two rebounds 50s) were prominent. Max Proud (18 disposals, two marks, three tackles and four rebound 50s) and Billy Stretch (18 disposals, two marks, eight tackles, two clearances and three rebound 50s) were also busy in the loss.

RESERVES:

It was not all doom and gloom for Glenelg, as the Bays’ Reserves got up in their clash over Central District. Glenelg was strong favourites for the flag having finished the season atop the ladder like their League side, but the unbelievable run of the fifth placed Bulldogs had some feeling a fairytale was in the works. Central District finished in the last qualifying finals spot on the ladder, but knocked off West Adelaide (70 points), Sturt (39) and WWT Eagles’ (four) to reach the grand final. In that time, the Dogs defence had kept their opposition to a combined 12.23 (95). Unfortunately Glenelg would prove the measure of all three combined, piling on 14.10 (94) to Central’s 7.2 (44).

GLENELG 3.2 | 3.3 | 7.6 | 14.10 (94)
CENTRAL 3.0 | 5.2 | 6.2 | 7.2 (44)

Bob Lee Medallist: Jonty Scharenberg (Glenelg)

Despite the 50-point final margin, for a large portion of the game it looked like the youth of Central District might upstage the premiership favourites. In the opening seven minutes, the Bulldogs had a couple of goals on the board, and whilst the Bays kicked three consecutive majors, a late goal to Lachlan Grubb meant the Dogs went into quarter time only two points down. Remarkably, the second term belonged to the Dogs, with Rhys Cannizzaro and Jordan Tippens putting them up by 11 points at the main break and in control.

After half-time, Glenelg came out with renewed vigour, slotting the first two majors through Tom Condon and Brodie Newman – to hit the front by two points – before Lewis Cowham got the Dogs back in front. From that point though, the Bays would slam home 9.6 (60) to 1.0 (6) in an unbelievable 45 minutes of football. That included the six goals of the game which sealed the result, after Brett Kennedy‘s major in the seventh minute of the final term cut the deficit to 11 points. Newman finished with four straight majors, as Nicholas Leck and Jack Yates also slotted multiple goals in the win, and AFL Draft prospect Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera joined the party in the final term.

Jonty Scharenberg won the Bob Lee Medal for best on ground, amassing a whopping 32 disposals, five marks, four tackles, eight clearances and nine inside 50s in an undisputed best-on performance. Condon (26 disposals, three marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and a goal) was next best, whilst all their major ball-winners hit the scoreboard. Kyle Crompton (22 disposals, four marks, four tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) and Jackson Edwards (21 disposals, three marks, four tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s, three rebounds and goals) were influential through the midfield, as Newman (19 disposals, four goals, 10 marks – five contested – four inside 50s and four goals was outstanding up forward, and Wanganeen-Milera finished with 19 touches, four marks, seven tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and a goal in the win.

Billy Iles had 18 disposals in a team-high effort, along with 12 rebound 50s, four tackles and two clearances. He was huge in defence alongside Wyatt Patterson (13 disposals, three marks and 14 rebound 50s). Ethan Gant (14 disposals, nine tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s) found his fair share of the ball, whilst youngsters Grubb (10 disposals, two marks, six tackles, two inside 50s and a goal) and Shay Linke (10 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances, two inside 50s, three rebounds 50s and a goal) were also productive. Other South Australian state representative talent in Isaiah Dudley (seven disposals, three tackles, two inside 50s and one behind) and Luca Whitelum (six disposals, five tackles) also got experience on the big stage.

Picture credit: Scott Starkey/SANFL

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