THE 2021 season resumed around the national leagues on the weekend with plenty of blowouts and close contests. With three rounds of football in the bank, the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders.
In the SANFL, North Adelaide claimed the biggest winning margin of the round as they defeated Norwood 16.15 (111) to 2.7 (19). North Adelaide forward Lewis Hender led the way for his side with six majors from 14 disposals and seven marks, constantly getting the better of his opponents, and tripling the number of goals scored by the opposition side. Teammate Mitchell Harvey chimed in with three goals of his own, while Lee Minervini added a couple of goals to the tally as well. Nick Pedro and Declan Hamilton fought hard for Norwood despite the disappointing deficit.
An inaccurate Sturt side was able to secure its first win of the year, taking down West Adelaide 12.21 (93) to 6.7 (43) on Saturday afternoon. With 20 more scoring shots than their opponents, the margin could have been a lot bigger had Sturt converted more of its shots on goal. Casey Voss (32 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and James Battersby (33 disposals and eight clearances) found plenty of the ball for the winners while Joshua Patullo kicked a game-high three goals. Tom Lewis could have had a day out, but much like his side, his inaccuracy prevented this. He finished with 20 touches, 10 tackles and 0.5 on the scoreboard. For West Adelaide, Kaine Stevens fought his way to 25 disposals while Isaac Johnson kicked a couple of goals.
Glenelg did not let wayward goalkicking hinder its performance too much, defeating Central District 10.16 (76) to 5.12 (42). Forward Lachie Hosie kicked 3.3 in a typically dangerous performance while ruckman Jack Hannath performed strongly on his way to 16 disposals, six marks and 31 hitouts. For Central District, Ethan East and Justin Hoskin kicked two goals apiece while Harry Grant (25 touches and seven marks) performed admirably through the midfield.
South Adelaide’s strong final quarter helped them get over the line to remain undefeated after three rounds. The 12.9 (81) to 10.12 (72) win over Port Adelaide keeps them at the top of the ladder while Port slip to 1-2 for the season. Former AFL duo Bryce Gibbs (25 disposals and a goal) and Matthew Broadbent (28 disposals) led by example, hurting the opposition with their ability to consistently find the footy, while Liam Fitt and Sam Skinner both kicked three goals for the winning side. Port Adelaide skipper Cam Sutcliffe was as inspirational as ever with 29 disposals and three goals, while Tom Rockliff had 41 touches.
Woodville-West Torrens bounced back from last week’s loss in perfect fashion as they belted Adelaide 24.11 (155) to 11.6 (72). It was a clinical performance from a side that had no passengers. Tyson Stengle and Zane Williams each booted four goals, while ruckman Jack Hayes (33 disposals, ten marks and three goals) and Riley Knight (34 disposals, two goals and 10 clearances) were strong through the midfield. Adelaide ruckman Kieran Strachan had 51 hitouts and was a standout in a disappointing side.
In the TSL, Glenorchy broke away from a brave Lauderdale side in the second half, as they ran away with the win 10.7 (67) to 5.11 (41) at KGV Oval. Glenorchy forward Callen Daly kicked four crucial goals for the victors while midfielder John Geard delivered a best on ground performance in the win. For Lauderdale, full-back Oscar Shaw was influential, keeping his opponent to one goal, while Billy Rolfe kicked two goals from the midfield.
Blundstone Arena hosted its first match since 2019, as home side Clarence held off a comeback from North Launceston to walk away winners 12.1 (73) to 9.8 (62). Clarence kicked remarkably straight as they thrived being back on their home deck for the first time in nearly two years. Oliver Preshaw backed up last week’s three goals with four this week in an impressive display. Baxter Norton and Jack Preshaw were influential through the midfield for all four quarters. For North Launceston, Jack Rushton was excellent in a losing side while Bradley Cox-Goodyer had another three-goal performance.
In the final game of the round, reigning premiers Launceston put the Tigers to the sword in a convincing win of 17.9 (111) to 5.12 (42). Jake Hinds had a best on ground performance through the midfield, kicking three goals while winning plenty of clearances, while Jay Blackberry also kicked three goal while finding a lot of the ball. Up forward Dylan Riley kicked four goals, while Alec Wright was excellent down back. For the Tigers, Micah Reynolds impressed in the backline while Tom Wright kicked two goals.
Up in the north of the country, the grounds saw plenty of football action. Palm Beach Currumbin got the job done against Noosa, winning 14.11 (95) to 10.8 (68). Palm Beach defender Matthew Gahan was his side’s best on the day, while Mitchell Johnson kicked four goals for the winners. At the time of publication, Noosa’s stats had not been released.
In a high scoring affair, Labrador did enough to get the win against Redland-Victoria Point, defeating their opponents 16.12 (108) to 12.15 (87). Kicking 6.6 in the first quarter, Labrador set up their win early and never gave the opposition a sniff. Matthew Warren backed up last week’s strong performance with a best on ground effort this week for Labrador. For the visitors, Blair Rubock kicked four goals while ruckman Andy Hollis was his team’s best again this week.
An impressive final quarter from Maroochydore saw them take down Mt Gravatt at home 11.19 (85) to 9.10 (64) as they remain on top of the ladder after the third round of action. Just a four-point game at three quarter time, the home side kicked the final two goals of the game to seal the win. Daniel Fleming and Benjamin Sloan were strong for the victors while Jake Warren was influential up forward, kicking two goals. For Mt Gravatt, Jonah Licht’s four goal haul kept his side in the game and backman Gavin Grose marshalled the troops in defence all day.
Broadbeach were simply too good for Morningside as they turned a two-goal deficit at quarter time into a 13.8 (86) to 4.9 (33) win. The next three quarters saw Broadbeach kick 13 goals to two in what ended up being a one sided affair. Broadbeach wingman Bradley Lowe kicked four goals in a best afield performance while Liam Nelson had another strong performance. For Morningside, ruckman Bradley Hodge battled hard all game.
A clinical performance from Surfers Paradise resulted in a nice percentage boost as they defeated Sherwood Districts 19.14 (128) to 5.10 (40). On top from the opening quarter, Surfers Paradise were unable to be stopped as they kicked their way to the top four. For the winners, Nicholas Hay was once again one of his side’s best performers from centre half back, while up forward Daniel Van De Werken was strong with four goals. For Sherwood Districts, Jack Austin put his all into bringing his side back into the contest.
Over in the west, round three of the 2021 season saw plenty of great football action around the state, starting at New Choice Homes Park, where East Fremantle got the handy win over East Perth 13.10 (88) to 9.9 (63). East Fremantle kicked eight goals in the third term to essentially put the game to bed, and a late East Perth fightback couldn’t get them over the line. Hugh Dixon kicked two for the winning side and was named his team’s best performer. He had plenty of help in teammate Milan Murdock who had 27 disposals and eight marks. Matthew Young fought admirably in a losing side.
Moving to Revo Fitness Stadium, Claremont hosted Perth, and used the home ground to their advantage as they snagged the 16.14 (110) to 12.6 (78) win. Six goals to two in the third term separated the two sides as Claremont’s victory ended up more comfortable than first thought. Jye Bolton’s 33 disposals and eight marks were impressive for the victors, while teammate Harrison Mccracken kicked four goals up forward. For Perth, Brady Grey (31 disposals and seven tackles) can hold his head high despite the result on the scoreboard.
Peel Thunder fell short of a miraculous comeback, defeated by an impressive South Fremantle 11.11 (77) to 14.11 (95). A six goal to two final quarter gave Peel Thunder some hope, but time ultimately beat them. South Fremantle’s Haiden Schloithe was a clear best on ground, kicking three goals to go with his 33 disposals in a dominant display. Playing for Peel Thunder, Connor Blakely will be close to an AFL recall for Fremantle after a 25-disposal performance on Saturday.
Swan Districts proved too good for West Coast, who simply couldn’t get their hands on the ball with 74 less disposals. The Districts dominated play and ran out winners 13.16 (94) to 8.7 (55). Swan Districts’ Matt Riggio was a force with 32 disposals, 15 marks, nine inside 50’s and a goal to clearly find himself best on. Jesse Palmer kicked 4.4 and was looking dangerously close to a day out. For West Coast, AFL listed Brayden Ainsworth’s 32 disposals should keep him in contention for selection at the next level.
The final game of the round delivered an absolute thriller, with Subiaco dragging themselves over the line against West Perth to win 14.10 (94) to 14.7 (91). In the closest game this weekend, West Perth kicked five final quarter goals, but just couldn’t make the last step to snatch the win. Subiaco’s Gregory Clark was immense with 37 disposals, eight tackles and a goal to lead his side to the narrowest of victories. Ben Sokol and Jordan Faraone each walked away with a bag of four. For West Perth, Tyler Keitel’s four goals nearly proved to be the match winner.