Tag: chris curran

State Leagues wrap: COVID chaos and big boilovers

WHILE Victoria has descended into COVID chaos once more, state leagues rolled on in South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia with a bunch of intriguing results produced. While it was largely business as usual in the SANFL, there was a major boilover in the TSL, while the WAFL top five is firming as three teams continue to battle for top spot. We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean moving forward in this week’s state leagues wrap.

South Australia (SANFL):

While Round 16 proceedings are currently under a COVID cloud, Round 15 went ahead without a hitch in the SANFL. There were two clashes between top five teams this past weekend, as ladder position counted for plenty with every higher-ranked side picking up full points across the five-game round.

At the top of the tree, Glenelg extended its perfect run to 14 games with an 18-point win over South Adelaide, who have now in lost three of their last four outings. A three-goal to nil opening term proved the difference, as the Bays put away another finals candidate. Matthew Snook (29 disposals, one goal), Luke Partington (26 and one), and Chris Curran (24 and one) were all prominent in yellow and black, while Bryce Gibbs managed 27 touches, 14 tackles and a goal in his 50th League match, fittingly against his old side.

Saturday’s other top five clash saw reigning premier Woodville-West Torrens power past Norwood, winning by 36 points on the back of a second half surge. The Eagles piled on nine of the last 10 goals after trailing at the main break, flexing their muscle forward of centre. James Tsitas and Mitch Grigg led the disposal count for either side with 29 touches apiece, while Tyson Stengle‘s two goals at the end of term three helped the Eagles push ahead.

Port Adelaide and Sturt remain in the hunt for finals after respective wins against the bottom two sides, though both came by a mere 13 points. The Magpies did enough to get past a plucky West Adelaide on Sunday, remaining one game out of the top five, while the Double Blues bettered Central District in a low-scoring slog to sit two games off the pace. North Adelaide was the weekend’s other winner, downing Adelaide by 54 points to strengthen its standing in third.

Tasmania (TSL):

Clarence has shaken up the TSL top four frame, defeating North Launceston by two points in a major boilover. The Roos led by a single point at half time and after extending the margin to eight come the final break, were made to reclaim the ascendancy via Colin Garland‘s boot at the death.

The result sees Clarence close to within a game of its weekend rival, as the Northern Bombers suffer rare consecutive losses in what was meant to be a celebration for player-coach Brad Cox-Goodyer‘s 200th game.

Brandon Leary booted four goals for the victors in a losing effort for the Northern Bombers, while Garland finished with three and James Holmes was named best afield.

Meanwhile, league leader Launceston escaped a similar scare against Tigers, snaring three goals to nil in the final term to sneak home by 13 points. The Blues trailed at every break after the hosts got the jump, but clawed their way back and pounced at the ideal time.

Fletcher Seymour and Cody Thorp (two goals) were among the victors’ best, while Luke Graham booted a game-high three majors for Tigers as Zach Adams claimed full votes.

In the weekend’s sole non-top four clash, Lauderdale powered past Glenorchy on the back of a 13-goal second half, saluting to the tune of 81 points. Leading a brigade of nine individual goalkickers for the Bombers was Edward Stanley (five), while Tyler Martin (four) and Allen Christensen (three) compounded their side’s scoreboard dominance.

Western Australia (WAFL):

East Perth inflicted the sole ladder change after Round 15 of the WAFL League season, jumping Perth in eight after its nine-point road win over the Demons. Former Carlton-listed pair Rohan Kerr (41 disposals, 10 marks) and Angus Schumacher (33 disposals, two goals) were prominent for the Royals, who held off Perth’s final term surge after leading by an even five goals at three quarter time.

A three-way tie for points from first to third remains after Claremont, Subiaco, and South Fremantle all claimed their ninth wins for the season. Subiaco still leads the way on percentage having defeated West Coast by 20 points, with 10 of the Lions 12 goals coming at one end of Leederville Oval.

Claremont isn’t far behind after downing Peel Thunder by nine points on Sunday, while South Fremantle’s 36-point win over Swan Districts proved a definitive result between finals contenders. Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Jesse Motlop debut for the Bulldogs, booting two goals from 13 touches.

West Perth came away as the round’s other winner after scraping past East Fremantle by five points, overcoming a half time deficit and near-costly inaccuracy to remain clean in fourth. The Falcons were served typically well by Aaron Black (38 disposals, nine marks), as Tyler Keitel and Lachlan Bailey booted four goals for their respective sides.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

Victoria’s recently-extended five-day lockdown saw Round 14 of the VFL scrapped, with the competition currently running on a week-by-week scheduling basis. Victorian teams which travelled to Queensland also had their official fixtures cancelled, though Essendon and North Melbourne combined their reserves to face Brisbane in a scratch match on Saturday. Returning Roos tall Charlie Comben impressed with four goals in that hit-out.

The VFL Women’s finals series has also been impacted, but the VFL says it remains committed to awarding a premier with just the preliminary and grand finals left to play.

Image Credit: Cory Sutton via SANFL

State leagues wrap: Teams deliver monster scores

WITH another weekend coming to a close, we take a look at what happened in state league football around the country, with plenty of massive scores as teams hit their straps.

Victoria:

The VFL had some big wins around the grounds this weekend, including one outside of Victoria, as the Tigers gave the Lions a belting to the tune of 62 points at the Gabba on Saturday morning. The Tigers booted a whopping nine goals in the first quarter, including three to forward Samson Ryan. The lead would only extend from there as the Tigers cruised to a big win over a helpless Lions side. For the Tigers, Ryan and Callum Coleman-Jones combined for eight goals up forward, tormenting Lions defenders, while Josh Caddy had 38 touches and two snags from the midfield. For the Lions, Tom Joyce and Cam Ellis-Yolman fought hard despite the circumstances.

Moving back to Victoria, North Melbourne had their first win of the season, taking down Essendon by 15 points at Windy Hill on Saturday. The game was thrillingly close for all four quarters, with only five points separating the sides at the final break. The Bombers gained a 12-point lead midway through the fourth quarter thanks to a fifth goal from Bombers forward Patrick Ambrose, but this was short lived. The Roos booted four unanswered goals, and stormed home for their first triumph of the 2021 season. For the victors, ruckman Tristian Xerri was a dominant figure, collecting a game-high 36 disposals to go with nine marks, six tackles and 27 hitouts in a marvellous display. For the Bombers, Ambrose’s five goals up forward were impressive, while ruckman Nick Bryan fought bravely.

Over at Ikon Park, the Hawks delivered a dominant performance, taking home the biggest win of the round as they defeated the Blues by 84 points on Sunday afternoon. The Hawks won all four quarters, doing as they please while the Blues struggled to keep up and constantly found themselves on the back foot. Hawk Vincent Adduci was the star up forward with five goals, while through the midfield, Brayden Kilpatrick found plenty of the ball. For the Blues, midfielder Matthew Kennedy found plenty of the ball on his way to 28 disposals on what was a tough day.

South Australia:

SANFL’s round seven action kicked off on Saturday afternoon, and for the Eagles, it was a perfect start to the weekend. At Hisense Stadium, the Woodville West-Torrens produced a masterful performance, defeating the West Adelaide Bloods by 100 points in a completely one-sided affair. Dominant second and third quarters from the Eagles – booting nine goals in each – put the game well out of reach for the Bloods, as they could not compete with a side that was firing on all cylinders. For the Eagles, Jimmy Toumpas had a bout of leather poisoning, finding the ball 45 times, while Daniel Menzel booted five goals up forward, and could have had plenty more if he had converted his four behinds. For the Bloods, midfielder Kaine Stevens worked his way to 32 disposals.

The Central District Bulldogs held off a brave comeback from the Sturt Sabres to walk away 10-point victors at Unley Oval on Saturday afternoon. The contest looked all but over heading into the final term, with the Bulldogs holding a 28-point lead over their opponents following a couple of one-sided quarters. The Sabres refused to give up, fighting hard in the fourth quarter to bring the margin back down, but ultimately couldn’t complete the fightback. For the Bulldogs, it was midfielder Jarrod Schiller who led the way, finishing the game with 26 touches, 10 tackles and a massive 12 clearances, and provided a strong contest with Sabre Tom Lewis, who had 24 touches, eight tackles and five clearances of his own.

Moving to Coopers Stadium, Norwood was able to overcome inaccuracy to defeat the Adelaide Crows by 48 points on Saturday afternoon. The Redlegs kicked 12.20, showing that the margin could have been a lot worse for the Crows had their opponents found the big sticks more. For the Redlegs, Tasmanian forward Jackson Callow was a victim of inaccurate kicking, booting 3.7 from 24 touches, while veteran Richard Douglas controlled things through the midfield with 31 disposals. For the Crows, youngster Will Hamill was influential with his 30 disposals.

At Alberton Oval, the Port Adelaide Power were able to scrape past the North Adelaide Roosters on their way to an eight-point win on Saturday afternoon. A big final term from both sides looked like the game could go either way, but ultimately, it was the class of the Power that got them over the line, with a late goal to Taj Schofield that sealed the result for his side. For the victors, midfielder, Sam Mayes was instrumental in his side controlling the ball, finishing the match with 32 disposals. For the Roosters, Andrew Moore found plenty of the ball through the middle and floated forward to boot a goal in the third term.

In the final match of the round, Glenelg were able to remain undefeated after seven matches, taking down the South Adelaide Panthers by 40 points at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers delivered a strong first half challenge, but the Tigers were able to find the form that has worked for them all year, as they booted nine goals to three in the second half to walk away winners. For the winners, Matthew Allen and Chris Curran found plenty of the ball, while Liam McBean booted three goals up forward. For the Panthers, Bryce Gibbs was typically strong in the midfield, finding the ball 31 times and booting a goal.

Western Australia:

The WAFL resumed following a week off, and the action started at New Choice Homes Park, with Claremont proving too strong for East Fremantle, storming away 42-point victors on Saturday afternoon. Claremont started the game in dominant fashion, booting six goals to one in the first term, and never slowing down from there on their way to a fifth win for the season. For Claremont, Lachlan Martinis found plenty of the ball as he has done so many times this season, and was well aided by Jye Bolton as the pair racked up 33 disposals each. For East Fremantle, Luke English ended the match with 29 disposals in a promising outing.

At David Grays Arena, West Perth were able to keep their form rolling with a strong 28-point triumph over Peel Thunder on Saturday afternoon. Despite coming into the match with one less win, West Perth were clinical in the premiership quarter, booting four goals to none to find themselves with an eventual match-winning lead. For West Perth, Keegan Knott’s six goals proved vital in the end, while Shane Nelson had 37 touches through the midfield. For Peel Thunder, former Bomber Jackson Merrett displayed his knack for finding the ball, racking up 37 disposals through the middle.

The crowd at Mineral Resources Park were treated to an upset, as Perth knocked off South Fremantle by a margin of 20 points on Saturday afternoon. Despite finding more of the ball as a team, South Fremantle’s inaccuracy kept them out of the hunt in the second half, as Perth were able to take their chances on a consistent basis. For Perth, Kristian Cary booted four crucial goals, while ruckman Christian Eyres impressed. For South Fremantle, Dylan Main was the star with 34 disposals and two goals in an eye-catching performance.

East Perth finally notched their first win of the season, as they took down West Coast by 57 points at Leederville Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides entered the clash at 0-5, and East Perth took the opportunity for a first win against a struggling West Coast side. A seven-goal last term cemented the result, while West Coast’s woes continue. For East Perth, Rohan Kerr stuffed the stat sheet with 31 disposals and 12 marks, while Aiden Lynch had 29 touches and a goal. For West Coast, Mark Hutchings fought all day through the midfield, gathering 28 touches.

Subiaco were able to remain in the top two on the ladder with a thrilling win over Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday afternoon. Swan Districts delivered a serious challenge to Subiaco, who were on top of the ladder heading into the clash, but just fell short in the final term. For Subiaco, Gregory Clark was dominant with 30 disposals, 12 tackles, six marks and two goals in a match-winning performance. For Swan Districts, ruckman Corey Gault amassed a whopping 50 hitouts to give his midfielders first use.

Queensland:

There were plenty of big scores from the victorious teams over the QAFL’s eighth round of action. This began at Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon, as Maroochydore were triumphant over Wilston Grange to the tune of 27 points. A tense clash for the first three quarters, the home side was able to break away in the final term on their way to their fifth win of the season. The match proved to be a shootout, as Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard (14 goals in three weeks) and Wilston Grange’s Sam Gribble each booted five goals, but ultimately Scholard got the last laugh with the win.

A massive third term has seen Morningside take home a 27-point win over Palm Beach Currumbin at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon. Despite trailing by 17 points at half time, Morningside booted eight goals to none in the third term to completely turn the game in their favour, and never looked back from there. For the victors, Darcy Cameron-Reeves claimed best on ground honours, while Thomas Griffiths also impressed. For Palm Beach Currumbin, Corey Joyce’s strong form continued, ending as his side’s best for the second time in three weeks.

Over at Southside Toyota Oval, Mt Gravatt were clinical in their 88-point thrashing of Noosa on Saturday afternoon. With a strong 55-point lead at half time, Mt Gravatt never gave their opponents a hint of a comeback, dominating on all areas of the field as they sent a statement to the rest of the league. For Mt Gravatt, Jonah Licht booted five snags up forward, while teammate Luke O’Sullivan also caught the eye of coaches and spectators. For Noosa, Aaron Laskey battled hard all day despite the heavy loss.

Moving to Totally Workwear Park, Redland-Victoria Point were unable to match the intensity of Surfers Paradise, eventually falling by 17 points on Saturday afternoon. Surfers Paradise set the tone early, taking a three-goal lead into the first break. While their opponents fought valiantly to attempt a comeback, the victors proved too strong. For Surfers Paradise, Harrison Fraser delivered his strongest performance of the year, and would have impressed his coaches. For Redland-Victoria Point, Peter Yagmoor was terrific in a losing side, booting two goals.

The final match of the round saw an upset as Sherwood Districts shocked the league to take down Labrador by 40 points at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Booting seven goals in the first quarter, Sherwood Districts dominated all day as Labrador struggled to keep up with the home side. For Sherwood Districts, Thomas Baulch booted six goals up forward, as Labrador defenders tried to find an answer for his clinical play.

Tasmania:

TSL’s eighth round of action kicked off in extraordinary fashion on Friday night, with North Launceston upsetting Launceston with a 15-point triumph at UTAS Stadium. The reigning premiers led at halftime, but were stunned in the second half, as North Launceston simply outplayed them to run away with a fantastic win that would surely give the rest of the league hope. For the victors, Jay Foon was outstanding, booting two goals on his way to a best on ground performance, while Jack Rushton also stood out. For Launceston, Jake Smith fought hard, particularly in the first half.

Over at Blundstone Arena, Clarence were dominant as they took down Lauderdale to the tune of 76 points on Saturday afternoon. The contest was closely battled in the first term, with just eight points separating the sides, before Clarence’s seven-goal second term saw them gain an unassailable lead. For Clarence, Ethan Jackson was terrific all day, while Oliver Preshaw booted three goals. For Lauderdale, skipper Allen Christensen battled hard all day to rally his troops.

The final match of round eight saw a clinical performance from the Tigers, as they smashed North Hobart by 89 points at Kingston Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon. A seven-goal haul from Tyler Carter was the headline of the day, as he claimed best afield honours for the second week in a row. With fluctuating form over recent weeks, the win will surely inject some life into the Tigers’ season. North Hobart’s Samuel Caswell fought hard all day despite the margin.

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 4 – Eagles down Roosters to swoop on top spot

A NEW front-runner has emerged in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), with Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) jumping West Adelaide on Saturday to claim top spot in the League standings. The Eagles and Roosters are joined by South Adelaide as the three teams tied for first at 3-1, with the Panthers claiming their second win on the trot. A three-way arm-wrestle between undefeated sides remains at the Reserves grade, while the Glenelg and Sturt Under 18s are also poised nicely at 4-0 apiece.

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North Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

League – North Adelaide 7.12 (54) def. by WWT Eagles 10.9 (69)
Reserves – North Adelaide 7.7 (49) def. by WWT Eagles 10.6 (66)
Under 18s – WWT Eagles 9.13 (67) def. North Adelaide 8.10 (58)

WWT Eagles enjoyed a fruitful weekend across all grades, completing a three-peat over North Adelaide and crucially, claiming top spot on the League ladder. The Eagles also picked up their first win at Under 18s level to sit just outside the finals placings, while the Reserves are moving along nicely at 4-0 in second place.

The 15-point margin come the end of their League clash may have been the only break WWT led at for the entire contest, but it would have mattered little to supporters as their side finished strongly to secure victory. Small forward James Rowe dealt most of the scoreboard damage with four goals, including two in the all-important final term to prove the difference between the two sides. Lewis Hender snagged three goals for North Adelaide up the other end.

Jordan Foote and Jimmy Toumpas were mega through the middle for WWT, both collecting 34 disposals with the latter also bagging two majors. Youngsters Jacob Wehr (18 disposals, seven rebound 50s), Lachlan Jones (17 disposals, six marks), and Lachlan McNeil (17 disposals, one goal) also continue to thrive. Andrew Moore was the leading inside presence for the Roosters, amassing 33 disposals and nine clearances. Meanwhile, Harrison Wigg (29 disposals, six marks) and Jarred Allmond (25 and 12) covered the ground well.

The Eagles and Roosters are now level at 1-3 in the Under 18s competition, thanks to an even team performance from the latter to edge home on Saturday afternoon. Potential 2021 Port Adelaide father-son Jase Burgoyne was sensational in an altered role, collecting 31 disposals and booting a goal for the victors. Harrison Dawkins (25 disposals, two goals) continued his consistent start to the season, while Caleb Poulter looked dangerous for his 18 touches, and skipper Zac Phillips fared well in the ruck with 31 hitouts. The returning Henry Smith could only manage three behinds.

For North, Kallis Freer (29 disposals) and Jamison Murphy (28) continue to win a heap of ball, combining for 11 clearances and 10 inside 50s. 16-year-old William Dowling impressed with four majors from 17 touches, while Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect Tariek Newchurch was kept goalless in his 15-disposal outing.

West Adelaide vs. Glenelg

League – West Adelaide 10.4 (64) def. Glenelg 7.6 (48)
Reserves – West Adelaide 5.8 (38) def. by Glenelg 9.8 (62)
Under 18s – Glenelg 18.24 (132) def. West Adelaide 3.5 (23)

Tom Keough booted half of Westies’ 10 goals as the Bloods downed reigning League premier, Glenelg on home turf. A four-goal to nil third term set up the hosts’ opening win for the season, as the Tigers managed little in the way of a response thereafter.

The Bloods are now just a point off Glenelg and the finals placings in the top flight, with the Tigers starting to falter in their flag defence. Bays fans would have been buoyed by results across the other grades though, as their side romped to an 109-point triumph in the Under 18s, and a four-goal salute at Reserves level.

Jordon Boyle led all comers on Saturday with 30 disposals, headlined by six clearances. Andrew Bradley earned that title for Glenelg having notched 27 touches, while Chris Curran (25 disposals, 13 marks) and Matthew Snook (24 dispsoals, eight tackles, 10 clearances) worked tirelessly in the losing effort. Magarey Medalist Luke Partington had 23 disposals, and Luke Reynolds snagged three goals.

Keough was remarkably his side’s sole multiple goalkicker, while five other individuals also found the big sticks once each. Gun midfielder Kaine Stevens notched another 24 touches in a well-rounded performance, with the likes of Brett Turner and Patrick Fairlie also playing solid roles in the Bloods’ win.

While Luke Edwards got his chance at Reserves level, the Tigers showcased their depth with a big win over West Adelaide’s Under 18s. Hugh Stagg had a day out with 28 disposals and 3.5 to lead a pack of six Glenelg multiple goalkickers, while Hagan Wright collected 29 touches to lead the ball winning stakes. Riley Holder (26 disposals, two goals), Luke Pedlar (24 and two), and Lewis Rayson (24 and two) were among the many others to impress.

Despite being beaten soundly in each part of the ground, the likes of Eduard van den Berg (24 disposals, eight marks), State Under 18s jet Bailey Chamberlain (22 disposals, four tackles), and Thomas Rundle (16 disposals, five marks, one goal) stood up.

Norwood vs. Central District

League – Norwood 15.14 (104) def. Central District 12.14 (86)
Reserves – Norwood 5.5 (35) def. by Central District 17.21 (123)
Under 18s – Central District 5.6 (36) def. by Norwood 12.8 (80)

Norwood snatched an early lead and never looked back in its maiden League win for the season, downing Central District by an even three goals at Coopers Stadium. Both remain the bottom two sides in the top flight, but the Redlegs now have separation from the winless Bulldogs and are just a game off fourth place.

Changes may be in the works for Round 5 after Centrals cruised to an 88-point Reserves victory to sit pretty atop the ladder at 4-0, but the glory ends there for the ‘Dogs with their Under 18 side languishing at 1-3 in the Under 18s after a second-consecutive heavy loss.

There were still some good signs for the away side at League level, with Justin Hoskin booting a game-high six majors and the enigmatic John Butcher adding three more in an improved scoring effort. The Redlegs still found the edge in that department though, as Tommy Pinyon and Peter Bampton made the most of their combined 16 touches to claim four goals apiece.

Former Adelaide midfielder Richard Douglas showed his class in an absolute blinder, cracking in for 35 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances, and two goals as the best player afield. Mitch Grigg played himself into some better form with 24 touches and a goal, while James Boyd led the way for Centrals with 30 disposals to continue his bright start to the campaign. Troy Menzel had a quiet outing, kept to just 13 disposals and a goal.

A similar story was observed in the Under 18s as Norwood kicked away in an eight goal to three second half, with five Redlegs getting on the board with two majors. Among them, Under 16 All Australian Cooper Murley was again lively with 31 disposals in another display of his class. Mitchell Trepka had a team-high 34 touches, while bottom-age defender Alastair Lord managed 31 and Michael Cavallaro bagged a goal from his 27.

Lewis Cowham again led the way for Central District with 35 disposals, seven tackles, and eight clearances as the prime midfield mover, with Shay Linke‘s 22 disposals the next-best tally. Usual suspect Austin McDonald had it 19 times, while Cooper Kalleske and Wyatt Ryan each found the big sticks among their 18-disposal efforts.

South Adelaide vs. Sturt

League – South Adelaide 10.10 (70) def. Sturt (7.5 (47)
Reserves – South Adelaide 6.7 (43) def. by Sturt 9.11 (65)
Under 18s – Sturt 11.9 (75) def. South Adelaide 11.3 (69)

South Adelaide broke open its tight League tussle with Sturt with a five-goal third term, setting up the Panthers’ 23-point win over Sturt at Flinders University Stadium. Both sides may have been level on wins coming into the round, but South now breaks into the leading pack with another solid win.

The Panthers’ leaders were made to work to get their side on top, with former Port midfielder Matthew Broadbent (32 disposals, one goal) at the forefront. Joel Cross picked up from where he left off with 21 touches and a goal, while gun recruit Thomas Highmore was terrific for his 27 disposals, 12 marks, and five tackles in defence.

James Battersby (29 disposals, 11 clearances, one goal) and Sam Colquhoun (29 disposals, seven clearances) made for ample resistance in Sturt’s midfield, but the Double Blues could not ultimately get the job done. Zane Kirkwood was another to impress with 23 touches, while Ash Johnson joined Souths’ Sam Overall as the only players to bag multiple goals.

If the midfield battle was strong at League level, the Under 18s tussle was just as enjoyable. Prolific ball winner Tom Powell again cracked the 30-disposal mark as the Doubles Blues beat South Adelaide via a late Morgan Ferres goal – his fifth for the game. Partner-in-crime Mani Liddy was also outstanding, notching 25 touches and 10 clearances.

It came against good opposition too, with bottom-age Panthers Jason Horne (23 disposals, nine tackles) and Matthew Roberts (22 disposals, two goals) among the best, with Nicholas Kraemer getting his hands dirty for 10 tackles. Phoenix Spicer again hit the scoreboard, booting two goals in conjunction with three from Liam Hamilton.

In the two sides’ Reserves dig, Sturt again came out on top to slot into fourth at 2-2, with South Adelaide still searching for a win at the level. The Double Blues kicked all of their goals at one end, managing five to nil in the first term and a further four in the third to set up the 22-point win.

2020 SANFL Round 3 Preview: Sides prepare to build momentum

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) is back again this weekend, with Round 3 kicking off and teams hoping to generate some momentum.

Central Districts vs South Adelaide

League: 

The Bulldogs and Panthers were both involved in tight finishes on Sunday, but ultimately failed to take home the two points. However, Central Districts recorded their first points of the new year after drawing with West Adelaide in the final match of round two. Moments before the Dogs and Bloods took to the field, South Adelaide mounted a remarkable comeback against the reigning premiers, Glenelg. Down by 45 points at three quarter time, the Panthers rallied to stem the margin to within a goal with two minutes left on the clock. The Bays held their nerve to survive an almighty scare, but South Adelaide would have drawn confidence from their ability to score heavily in quick succession. Central Districts also struggled early against West Adelaide. After trailing for all of the match, the Doggies piled on goal-after-goal in the last quarter and took the lead, only for the Bloods to square things up before the final siren sounded.

Central Districts’ reliable captain Luke Habel will again look to set his side up from half-back, after accumulating 23 disposals and five rebound-50s last weekend. Joseph Haines (22 disposals, seven marks and seven rebound-50s) played a similar role for South Adelaide, helping orchestrate much of South’s drive from defence, whilst also spending some time on the wing. He may be directed to pay close attention to Central’s Nicholas Lange after his strong performance. Last round, Panthers key defenders Jake Summerton and Ben Haren faced the daunting task of matching up against Glenelg’s dynamic duo Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds and fought admirably, restricting the gun pair to two goals each.

Veteran South Adelaide midfielder Joel Cross has started the season on fire, accumulating an equal league-leading 58 possessions in two matches. In the absence of captain Matt Rose, who will miss 12 weeks with a shoulder injury, Cross was typically prolific around the stoppages against West, finishing the outing with seven clearances. He could go head-to-head in the midfield with Bulldogs gun James Boyd, who has been excellent since returning to Elizabeth after a stint with Woodville-West Torrens. Jarrod Schiller managed just 14 touches against West, but his pressure around the contest and tackling were excellent. Meanwhile, Panthers midfielder Ben Heaslip got things moving for the blue and white, finishing with six inside 50s. He also used his strong 189cm frame to assert himself around the ball, laying seven tackles. Prized Panthers recruit Matthew Broadbent has made a strong first impression at Noarlunga. Despite having been deployed as an attacking-defender during his time at Port Adelaide, Broadbent has spent more time around the ball for South. Bulldogs ruckman Jonathan Marsh battled hard against dominant West Adelaide tall Andre Parrella and this week appears set to do-battle with 21-year-old Panthers ruckman Cameron McGree, who was soundly beaten by Tiger Jack Hannath in just his third game of league football.

The Panthers coaching staff will have been encouraged by the performances of their young small forwards so far. The talented Hayden Sampson continues to go from strength-to-strength, having booted three-straight in the Panthers loss. Fellow smalls Luke Bogle, Eamon Wilkinson and Liam Fitt each kicked two goals, as did full-forward Sam Overall. Although Beau McCreery was quiet against Glenelg, he was excellent on debut in round one. With luckless forward Daniel Menzel ruled out for the season with an ankle injury, Central Districts assistant coach John Butcher took it upon himself to lend a hand in attack. He booted three goals in the draw whilst potential draftee Corey Durdin and former-Blue and Crow Troy Menzel both nailed two. However wingman, Lange stole the show in just his second league match, booting four goals, laying six tackles and taking five marks. Instrumental in the Bulldogs comeback, Lange has emerged as one of the leagues best outside midfielders and poses a genuine offensive threat to South Adelaide’s on-ballers.

Needless to say, both sides will be hoping for fast starts in this encounter. The Panthers got through relatively unscathed in their round two encounter and could regain Malcolm Karpany for the battle at X Convenience Oval. For the Bulldogs, full-back Ryan Falkenberg will miss a month of football after sustaining a calf injury.

Reserves: 

The Bulldogs and Panthers reserves sides will lock-horns following the league match. The Bulldogs remain undefeated in the second-tier competition, after defeating West last weekend. Alternatively, South are still searching for their first scalp of the year after going down to Glenelg by 29-points. The Panthers will likely be without ruckman Damon Freitag, after he injured his ankle.

Under-18s: 

The Central Districts Under-18s will travel south to Flinders University Oval to clash with the Panthers late on Saturday morning. The Panthers midfield has been impressive so far, with rugged skipper Nick Kraemer impressing alongside ultra-talented bottom-agers Jason Horne and Matty Roberts. The brilliant duo, who starred for SA at last year’s Under-16 National Championships, are certainly two to look out for, having combined for a staggering 63 disposals, 22 marks, 18 tackles and 19 clearances in the loss to Glenelg. The Bulldogs can also lay claim to a promising bottom-aged midfielder in Austin McDonald. He has been the standout for the Bulldogs so far. The bottom-agers might steal the show in this one.

 

Glenelg vs North Adelaide

League: 

Only one team will remain undefeated after North Adelaide heads to the bay to face Glenelg on Saturday afternoon. Glenelg have prevailed by the skin of their teeth in their two matches, first defeating Norwood by three points before eclipsing the Panthers by five. The rejuvenated Roosters kicked off their campaign with a comprehensive win over West and backed it up with a narrow victory over the Redlegs. However the reigning premiers are without a doubt the team to beat and will be a tough challenge for Jacob Surjan‘s chargers, particularly away from home. The Roosters appear to be back to their free-flowing style of football which saw them win it all in 2018, but we’ll know for sure if they mean business if they can match it with the Tigers.

Tigers skipper Max Proud and Matt Merrett will likely be tasked with stopping threatening duo Mitch Harvey or Keenan Ramsey, with Chris Curran expected to provide his trademark rebound. New recruit Jackson Edwards has also performed well down back alongside teenager Luke Parks. For the Roosters, classy half-back Jarrad Almond and small defender Elliott Chalmers will play pivotal roles against their former side. Cameron Craig and Tanner Smith will attempt to nullify the influence of Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds. Young key defender Karl Finlay may also be called upon to provide support, whilst talented Roosters recruit Harrison Wigg will be looking to utilise his damaging left-foot to generate drive from the defensive 50.

The midfield battle is tantalising. After a slightly subdued start to the season, Magarey Medalist Luke Partington was back to his best on the weekend, nailing three goals and accumulating 35 disposals to go with six marks, nine clearances and six inside 50s. Matthew Snook has also been at his best in the trenches and currently sits equal-first in the league for disposals. Restricting their dominance at the stoppages will be the number one focus for Surjan and his coaching staff during the week. But after some handy off-season wheeling-and-dealing, the Roosters have a strong midfield of their own, led by vice-captain Andrew Moore and former-Hawk Billy Hartung. The pair have acclimatised well to SANFL football, with both proving their worth in the middle against the ‘Legs. But it has been inside midfielder Campbell Combe who has really impressed for North. Not only did he accumulate 29 touches against Norwood, but he also laid no-less-than 15 tackles. An old-school, in-and-under extractor, Combe and hard-nosed Glenelg midfielder Bradley Agnew are two of the league’s most ferocious tacklers and will be expected to fight hard for their sides in the middle. Despite being drafted by West Coast as a key position player, Matt Allen has proven himself in the guts for the Tigers and popped up to hit the scoreboard last week. Allen and fellow-recruit Billy Stretch have further added to a Tigers midfield which was already brimming with talent. Club captain Alex Spina, recruit Cameron Hewett and vice-skipper Tom Schwarz, who will play his 100th SANFL game, have also been strong across the midfield for the red and white. Glenelg’s Jack Hannath will have his sights set on continuing his strong early season form against North’s James Craig.

The Roosters and Tigers forward-lines feature some of the games most exciting talent. Glenelg’s attack in largely centred around tall timber Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds, who finished first and second in the league for goals last season. North Adelaide’s mosquito fleet, comprised of skilful young gun Frank Szekely, former-Blue Kym LeBois and speedster Robbie Young, have the potential to carve-up even the dourest of defences. Glenelg’s Cory Gregson, Marlon Motlop and Darcy Bailey are well-known threats forward-of-centre and will be a handful for the Roosters small defenders. Keenan Ramsey and Mitch Harvey have provided excellent service for North Adelaide over several years, with the latter converting two important set shots in last Saturday’s win. Lewis Hender will also be eyeing off another bag in his return to Glenelg, where he spent much of his junior career.

The two sides will by eagerly awaited the fitness tests of Alex Barns (North Adelaide) and Carl Nicholson (Glenelg) after they both suffered from concussion in last weekends respective triumphs. North may also regain Ben Jarman from an ankle injury. All eyes will be fixed on ACH Group Stadium on Saturday arvo for what appears set to be a cracking contest.

Reserves: 

The reserves will take to the field a couple of hours before the league sides do battle. Glenelg is yet to loose a match at league, reserves or Under-18s level so far in season 2020, but North Adelaide’s seconds will be full of confidence after beating a talented Norwood line-up by 15-points in hostile territory last Sunday. Keep an eye on promising draft hopeful Cooper Horsnell for Glenelg and North’s Harrison Magor.

Under-18s:

With draft prospect Kaine Baldwin set to miss a second-consecutive season after succumbing to another anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, key forward Riley Holder stepped up, booting four goals in the win over South Adelaide. Prolific Sacred Heart College duo Lewis Rayson and Xavier Robins have made strong starts to the year in the yellow and black. Luke Edwards looks set to front-up for the Under-18s once again, however he could push for reserves selection off the back of a series of promising showings. North Adelaide’s Under-18s were beaten by a strong Norwood outfit in round two, despite the best efforts of skipper Jamison Murphy and midfielder Kallis Freer. Able to turn a game on its head, eye-catching forward Tariek Newchurch will certainly keep the Bays defenders on their toes.

 

Woodville-West Torrens vs Norwood

League: 

After loosing close encounters to Glenelg and North Adelaide, the Redlegs will be eyeing off their first win of the season when they head to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Sunday afternoon to face Woodville-West Torrens. The Eagles league-leading percentage helped them rise to third spot on the ladder following a comprehensive dismantling of the Double Blues last weekend.

Zac Richards was arguably Norwood’s best afield in the loss to the Roosters, gathering 29 disposals, ten marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and three rebound-50s in his role across half-back and through the midfield. He also kicked a goal to continue his strong start to the season. Cameron Shenton was also named in the sides best players after generating plenty of drive from defence and accumulating seven rebound-50s. Brad McKenzie was similarly effective coming out of defence, providing his side with nine rebounds. Key defender Cameron Ball will likely match up against one of the Hayes brothers and could receive some help by the potential inclusion of Michael Talia. Down back for the Eagles, the key defensive pairing of Jake Von Bertouch and Luke Thompson will be tasked with stopping Norwood taels Tom Pinyon and big-man Luke Surman. The experienced Patrick Giuffreda will be relied upon to blanket one of the Redlegs’ damaging small forwards, with recruit Pierce Seymour expected to provide plenty of bounce from the backline.

The midfield battle is likely the greatest strength of this Norwood side, with the likes of Mitch Grigg, Matthew Panos and Matty Nunn consistently ranked amongst the leagues best players. Along with new recruits Richard Douglas and Ryan Bastinac, Norwood has certainly benefitted from the scoreboard impact of their midfielders over the past few years. It certainly helps when are provided silver-service by dominant ruckman Sam Baulderstone. The experienced bigman was terrific around the ground against North, gathering 19 disposals, a goal, five marks and 34 hitouts. However his six clearances were perhaps most impressive. However Eagles ruckman Jarrad Redden and pinch-hitter Jack Hayes have been in some excellent form themselves, combining for 32 disposals, 49 hitouts and ten clearances between them against Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks last round. Eagles midfielders Jimmy Toumpas and Matthew Goldsworthy have hit some good form early on, with the former gathering 27 disposals, five tackles and five clearances against Sturt, whilst the latter nailed two goals from his 23 touches and eight inside-50s. The Eagles will need wingman Jake Comitogianni, mainstay Angus Poole, bash-and-crash inside midfielder Jesse Lonergan and reigning best and fairest Jordan Foote to be on their game if they are to match it with the talented Norwood on-ball unit.

Small forwards James Rowe (Woodville-West Torrens) and Peter Bampton (Norwood) have both proven to be key components of their respective sides forward lines. Both genuine goal kickers, Rowe has started the season well, kicking six goals in two games, whilst Bampton has booted two. Nick Hayes and Jack Hayes have long been the focal point of the Eagles attack and will again prove a difficult match-up for Norwood’s key defenders, particularly in the air. Both are capable of hauling in big grabs and got plenty of time with ball in hand last week, combining for 31 possessions. Youngster Lachlan McNeil also got himself involved in his supporting role up forward, however he will wish he had converted his two behinds into majors. The Eagles simply must restrict the scoreboard impact of the Norwood midfielders, given their potency in-front of goal. Usually a defender, Von Bertouch booted three goals for the Eagles when moved from defence to the forward-line and adds to the threat posed by Woodville-West Torrens’ forward-line.

Norwood will be hopeful young gun Cole Gerloff and half-backman Nick Pedro can overcome their ankle injuries, whilst the Eagles’ Joseph Sinor and Angus Poole will face fitness tests after sustaining concussion and nose injuries in the win over Sturt.

Reserves: 

The two clubs reserves sides will play in the curtain raiser before the league sides do battle, in a re-match of the 2019 reserves Grand Final. The Eagles will certainly be seeking revenge for their loss in last years final day and again appear one of the teams to beat in the second-tier of SANFL football, having recorded wins over South Adelaide and Sturt to kick-off the new season. Meanwhile, Norwood’s title defence has started slowly, recording losses to the Tigers and Roosters in recent weeks.

Under-18s: 

The Redlegs Under-18s looked impressive in their win over North Adelaide on the weekend. Bottom-ager Cooper Murley was terrific in the midfield and up-forward and already appears one of the standouts of the under-18s competition. Prolific defenders Michael Cavallaro and Matthew Dnistriansky were everywhere in the opening fortnight of action, generating much of Norwood’s rebound from defence. For the Eagles, who remain winless, look out for SA Academy Hub member and potential Power father-son selection Taj Schofield.

 

Sturt vs West Adelaide

League: 

The Double Blues kicked just one goal in the second half last week and coach Nathan Grima will be demanding a response on home soil against West Adelaide. The Bloods, on the other hand, were left to rue some inaccurate kicking in-front of goal in the dramatic draw to Central Districts. However there were some encouraging signs shown by several of West’s youngsters.

The aerial work of key defender Sam Wundke was one of few bright-spots in Sturt’s 51-point loss at the hands of Woodville-West Torrens. He took three strong contested marks (five marks in total) and provided excellent rebound from the backline, finishing with eleven rebound 50s to go with 22 disposals. Young defender Malachi Lines didn’t get a lot of the ball (eight disposals) but showed some promise on debut. Veteran small defender Aaron Anderson was the standout down back for the Bloods, accumulating 26 disposals and three rebounds from defence. Elliott Dunkin also continues to show why he received some attention from AFL ranks towards the end of the 2019 season. His rebound from defence, athleticism and shut-down ability may worry the Double Blues forwards. Logan Hill was also good in the draw, whilst full-back Josh Ryan could be tasked with clamping down on Sturt forward Jake Sutcliffe.

Casey Voss was arguably Sturt’s best player on the weekend. Starting on-ball, the son of Brisbane great Michael, proved he belongs at the level in just his third league match. He racked up 24 touches and kicked a goal but it was the 19-year-old’s work around the stoppages which really stood-out, amassing seven clearances. Whilst much of the Bloods attention may be directed towards established on-ballers James Battersby, Mark EvansSam Colqhoun and Zane Kirkwood, they must be wary of newcomer Voss’ abilities around the contest. Voss’ on-ball partnership with fellow 19-year-old Jed McEntee would have impressed Grima. McEntee, a member of SA’s 2019 National Championship side, laid a game-high ten tackles to demonstrate his toughness and excellent defensive pressure. However West’s Kaine Stevens won’t be afraid to teach the fresh faces a few lessons around the ball. His 12 clearances, 26 disposals and five tackles proved invaluable in the Bloods engine room against Centrals. Josh Schiller has had a tough-run with injuries lately, but the inside midfielder’s toughness and contested-ball winning will be vital against Sturt’s talented on-ball unit. Former-Crows top-up player Jordon Boyle has been terrific in his new colours, collecting 55 disposals at 82 per cent efficiency in the opening two games on the wing for the Bloods. Dallas Willsmore‘s link-up ability has also been a feature of the Bloods game-style. The ruck battle between West Adelaide’s Andre Parrella and Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks is intriguing and could prove telling, given they sit first and second in the league for hit-outs, respectively. The athletic Fahey-Sparks has impressed so far in 2020. His tap-work has been strong (accumulated 33 hit-outs against Woodville-West Torrens’ Redden and Hayes last week) and his ability around the ground will get the better of many SANFL ruckman. However the 22-year-old Parrella will prove to be his toughest test yet. The big-man has had a monster start to the season, recording a whopping 92 hit-outs in two matches.

Up-forward, its hard to look past West Adelaide’s ultra-talented draft prospect Riley Thilthorpe. He kicked 1.2 against Central Districts and showed a willingness to get involved around the ground when helping out in the ruck, accumulating ten disposals, 15 hit-outs, five tackles and five marks (two contested). Thilthorpe and skipper Tom Keough, who booted three goals on the weekend, will prove a handful for a Sturt backline without premiership-duo Jack Stephens and Fraser Evans, who both retired in the off-season. Lydon Hupfield has started the year well as a small forward, providing the line-up with energy and goal-sense. Sturt has yet to see the best of boom-recruit Abe Davis, who has failed to fire so far in season 2020. However his strong frame will always ensure he is a danger in attack, along with smalls Josh Hone and Byron Sumner. Athletic tall forward Ash Johnson was electric on debut, taking four contested marks and booting three goals, however he was kept to just one kick against Woodville-West Torrens. However he still managed to break into the highlight real when he almost took an instant mark of the year contender. His liveliness up forward is infectious and presents as another threatening Sturt forward.

The Bloods didn’t pick up an injury during the clash with the Bulldogs, but young forward Josh Koster is still at least a fortnight away from returning from a hamstring complaint. Tom Harms will likely miss another game with a calf injury, but pocket rocket on-baller Tom Lewis could be included for his league debut after making the extended bench last weekend.

Reserves:

Sturt and Westies will play each other at Peter Motley Oval in a curtain-raiser to the league match. Sturt are still searching for their first win of the season whilst West will be looking to return to winning ways after being defeated by a strong Central Districts seconds by 35-points last weekend.

Under-18s: 

A couple of South Australia’s most talented junior midfielders will face-off when Sturt’s under-18s meet West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium. Sturt’s Tom Powell and Mani Liddy have been utterly dominant across the opening two rounds for the Double Blues. Both prolific but quite different in their playing styles, the duo will go head-to-head in an exciting battle against West Adelaide’s Bailey Chamberlain and Lachlan De Cesare. Also watch-out for Sturt forward Morgan Ferres, who bagged six goals against the Eagles. The Double Blues will go in as favourites and have emerged as front-runners of the Under-18s competition, alongside Glenelg.

2020 SANFL club preview: Glenelg

GLENELG took the SANFL by storm in 2019, winning the clubs first league premiership in 33-years. The Tigers recruited well in the off-season, luring several former-players back to the club to bolster an already-talented lineup. Under coach Mark Stone, Glenelg appear well positioned to defender their crown in season 2020.

>>> CHECK OUT OUR GLENELG TEAM PAGE

>>> SANFL WOMEN’S GLENELG TEAM UPDATE

LEAGUE/RESERVES:

Glenelg certainly did not rest on its laurels in the off-season, bringing in a number of handy additions with AFL experience. Premiership captain Chris Curran departed the club, with fellow defender Max Proud set to fulfil the leadership responsibilities. Former Magpie and Swan Jesse White announced his retirement, teenager Will Gould headed north after being drafted by Sydney and Brad Close was picked up by Geelong. Josh Scott and Aaron Joseph also departed the club. Former Crow Jackson Edwards returned from Werribee to add more talent to a strong midfield core. Billy Stretch and Curtis McCarthy returned from Victoria and Matt Allen from West Coast. The ruck stocks also received a welcome boost with the signing of former Docker Jack Hannath. The Tigers also recruited youngsters Mitch Martin (GWV Rebels), Angus Cole (Bendigo Pioneers) and Luke Parks (Sydney Swans Academy).

Reigning Margarey Medalist Luke Partington is the headline act of the yellow and black on-ball brigade. Partington was simply brilliant last season, averaging 29 disposals (82 per cent efficiency), 4.4 marks, 5.5 tackles and 4.9 clearances. Matthew Snook, Brad Agnew and Jonty Scharenberg were all integral to the the Bays premiership success, with the former taking out the Jack Oatey Medal as best on ground in the grand final. Agnew laid 34 tackles in the Bays three finals and has emerged as a midfield aggressor. The inside grunt will be balanced out by the silky skills and class of Marlon Motlop. Recruits Stretch and Edwards are expected to further compliment the Bays outside presence. Up forward, dangerous duo Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds combined for 91 goals last season. McBean took out the Ken Farmer Medal by one goal, over medium-tall Reynolds. The energy and defensive pressure of Cory Gregson will again prove invaluable to the Tigers forward-line. Elsewhere, Former Docker Matthew Uebergang and Max Proud form a strong key defensive partnership, whilst Andrew Bradley has proven his worth in a number of roles over the years.

Glenelg’s reserves finished the regular season in fifth spot, earning them a finals berth. However they were easily accounted for by Central District in the first elimination. With a host of talented youngsters waiting in the wings, Glenelg will be hoping to make it deeper into the finals in 2020.

UNDER-18S:

Potential Crows father-son Luke Edwards, talented tall forward Kaine Baldwin and skilful utility Cooper Horsnell headline the Bays under-18 prospects for the upcoming season. Edwards featured prominently during last year’s National Championships, displaying plenty of football smarts and poise off the half-back line for South Australia. Strongly-built key forward Baldwin played just one match last season before rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). A genuine leader, scouts will certainly not have forgotten Baldwin’s terrific aerial prowess, strength and scoreboard impact. Horsnell has impressed onlookers with his courage and precise foot skills. All three are likely to be drafted and could make a push for senior debuts in 2020.

>>> GET TO KNOW GLENELG UNDER 18S

>>> LUKE EDWARDS AFL DRAFT WATCH

>>> KAINE BALDWIN AFL DRAFT WATCH

>>> MARQUEE MATCHUPS: CONNOR DOWNIE VS. LUKE EDWARDS

>>> MARQUEE MATCHUPS: KAINE BALDWIN VS. DENVER GRAINGER-BARRAS

SANFL weekly wrap: Glenelg gets up in standalone game as five SANFL players are drafted mid-season

IT was a quiet week for the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), with the sole game as part of a split round, and some top-end Under 16s, Under 17s, Under 18s talent and South Australian squad members away from their clubs with trial games as part of National Championships preparation. It was a significant week off-field for the SANFL competition with the mid-season AFL draft impacting the League with five South Australian players drafted. Jamie Morgan and Tom Wyman take a look at what made news in South Australia the past week.

Glenelg vs Port

League: Glenelg 15.17 (107) defeated Port Adelaide 8.10 (58)

Glenelg consolidated its grasp of top spot with a 49-point victory over Port Adelaide in wet conditions at the bay. Defying early inaccuracy, the high-flying Tigers controlled much of the game against their AFL-listed counterparts, before a stellar third-term put the game all but beyond the Magpies grasp. The slippery conditions meant contested ball was key, and Glenelg’s engine room was strong all day, led by young duo Luke Partington (34 disposals, six marks, six tackles, six clearances) and Jonty Scharenberg (23 disposals, five marks, seven tackles and two clearances). Fellow onballers Marlon Motlop and Matthew Snook helped overcome a Magpie onball brigade led by prolific 2016 draftees Joe Atley (31 disposals, four clearances) and Willem Drew (31 disposals, nine tackles, nine clearances), who battled hard through all four quarters. Glenelg defenders Chris Curran and Aaron Joseph controlled the play in the backline, whilst up forward, Liam McBean booted four and was supplemented well by Luke Reynolds‘ pair. Also chipping in with two was medium forward Lachlan Hosie, who was recently drafted by North Melbourne in the AFL’s Mid-Season Rookie Draft. Jack Trengrove was slightly down on his usual output, managing 21 disposals and seven tackles, however Sam Mayes, Kai Pudney and Riley Bonner all won their fair share of the ball.

South Australian Under-18 squad member Will Gould showed his defensive flexibility, manning the 198cm Todd Marshall and 195cm Dallas Hill, before rolling onto the medium-sized Aidyn Johnson, Mitchell Mead and Tobin Cox, at times. Gould spent the entire game on-field, testament to his strong endurance base, and was rarely beaten one-on-one. Additionally, he was able to zone off and take several intercept marks (seven marks in total), often playing as the last man back and filling ‘the hole’ in the defensive-50 to good effect. He was extremely clean by foot, granted most kicks were short, but provided rebound when necessary. Arguably his best moment of the day was a contested, overhead mark deep in defence to save a shot at goal in the first half. His third-man up spoil, which killed the contest and flew 20 metres out of bounds, into the neighbouring cricket nets, further demonstrating the rare talent he possesses. He finished with 17 disposals, seven marks and five rebounds.

AFL Mid Season Draft – SANFL Impact

SANFL clubs were impacted this week, with a drafting of some talent from the competition and putting some SANFL sides into a tough position.

Players drafted from SANFL were:

– Michael Knoll (South Adelaide) – drafted to Sydney
– Lachlan Hosie (Glenelg) – drafted to North Melbourne
– Will Snelling (West Adelaide)- drafted to Essendon
– Cam Sutcliffe (Port Magpies) – drafted to Port Adelaide
– John Noble (West Adelaide) – drafted to Collingwood

SANFL remained firm in its opposition to the mid-season draft despite the competition producing top end talent, the impact on the competition for the remainder of the year for these clubs affected will be detrimental according to SANFL CEO Jake Parkinson’s statement.

With Glenelg losing leading goalkicker Lachlan Hosie, the impact on their forward line will be a watch as they also lost other key forward Josh Scott to injury earlier in the year. West Adelaide lose their two key ball getters and prime midfielders which will make their season harder from here on in.

School/College Football:

Sacred Heart held off arch-rivals Rostrevor by ten points on home soil to remain undefeated, four games in to the Messenger Shield competition. Both sides were without arguably their best players, with state representatives Will Day (SHC) and Cameron Taheny (Rostrevor) both sitting out. For the Hearts, captain Beau Macrae was again excellent in the middle and at half-back, as were South Adelaide duo Zach Dumesny (SA squad) and Marcus Lippett. For Rostrevor, Anzac Lochowiak was solid without being at his damaging best. Sacred Heart now sit as the only undefeated side for the year and look to launch into the second half of the season

In other games, PAC narrowly escaped a scare against Westminster holding on by seven points, whilst PAC were missing some of their top talent in particular Kossie Pickett and Karl Finlay. St Peters accounted for Trinity by 74 points, while Immanuel defeated Scotch by 33 points.

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 5 – Under 18s warm-up for Champs

THERE was plenty of football over the weekend in the South Australia National Football League (SANFL) with plenty of big games and close contests throughout the round. The Academy game also took place allowing the youngsters to compete against Western Australia. Our South Australian writers Jamie Morgan, David Chapman Damon Mattiazzo and Tom Wyman all contributed to the article.

SANFL U18 Academy

Last week saw a host of SANFLs best Under 18 players put through a SANFL Academy camp consisting of a variety of off-field training sessions as well as positional and game instructions. The camp culminated in two games with the squad split into two against a similar squad from WA.

Some U17 talent was also absent from the camp as they had been selected for Australian U17 duties in Melbourne.

The first game was played on Friday afternoon at West Adelaide Football Club. In a tough first quarter it took a while for both teams to gel and the scorers were not troubled early. By half-time it had been a defensive battle and Western Australia led 23 – 20. After half time SA hit the lead with the first goal, but from then on WA ran away with the game. Leading 48-27 at three quarter time and slamming on six goals in the last quarter to comfortably win 86 – 35. For WA it was their running brigade which really tore the SA midfield apart, winning the inside ball and then breaking out of the packs in numbers and using quick hands to move the ball with elite speed. Western Australia were led by midfield general Michael Wright with numerous contested possessions and his relentless chat and encouragement for his teammates. Other on ballers also who impressed included Cameron Anderson, Jye Clark, and Tristan Hobley. 200cm ruckman Callum Jamieson was impressive around the ground as well and also hit the scoreboard making his presence felt on the ground. Jeremy Sharp provided real poise and class, especially rebounding the ball and driving into attack. And 197cm Michael Mallard was also dangerous up forward. For SA the better players included the tall defenders Karl Finlay, Dyson Hilder and Jordan Moore. Midfielder Harry Schoenberg also had plenty of it, and Will Gould was again impressive starting down back and then having a run through the midfield and finishing up forward. Brady Searle was also one to link the play well and small forward Cooper Horsnell capitalised with a couple of goals. In the second game, South Australia won with a kick just seconds before the final siren, with Kysaiah Pickett and Cameron Taheny among those who played for the South Australians. The game was littered with injuries and illness, but gave both sides a good chance to warm up ahead of the National Under 18 Championships.


SANFL Wrap

League
Adelaide 14.6 (90) defeated Centrals 8.7 (55)

Adelaide left X Convenience Oval with the four points, defeating Central Districts by 35-points. Recent first-round draftee Ned McHenry played his best game for the club, amassing 28 disposals, seven marks, 11 tackles, four clearances and a goal to press his case for an AFL debut. Prolific on-baller Patrick Wilson notched up another 30 disposals and seven clearances, whilst Andy Otten was strong in defence, taking 12 marks. Josh Jenkins booted three majors, albeit from relatively easy shots, and key-position draftee Jordon Butts continued to look settled at the level, taking nine marks. Ben Davis and Lachlan Sholl were again impressive for Adelaide, as was skipper Matthew Wright who contributed two majors to the clubs winning margin. For the Bulldogs, Jarrod Schiller was terrific around the stoppages, racking up 34 disposals and 12 clearances to go with a pair of goals. His brother Travis was also amongst it regularly, collecting 35 possessions, as was fifth-gamer Jydon Neagle (27 disposals). Yet, despite winning enough of the ball in the middle, the Bulldogs had just one multiple-goal kicker and were simply outclassed by a youthful Crows outfit.

Port v Eagles

A strong second half was the catalyst for Port Adelaide to get back on the winners list defeating Woodville-West Torrens by 37 points at the Maughan Thiem KIA Oval. Former Demon Jack Trengove was again superb in the middle of the ground gathering 31 disposals, eight marks, eight tackles and kicked two goals to lead his side to victory and potentially extending his lead at the top of Magarey Medal. Ruckman turned forward Billy Frampton made up for lost time, returning from a two game suspension to kick goals while also proving to be an aerial threat with eight marks all inside 50m. Emerging ruckman Peter Ladhams continues his dominant season so far with his ability at ground level with 27 disposals, nine marks, four tackles and 22 hit outs in what is turning out to be a breakout year so far. Sam Mayes and Karl Amon continued their impressive form and push for AFL selection, while Steven Motlop had a quiet game disposal wise with only 17, but kicked two great goals to seal the victory. For the Eagles, Jack Hayes continued to give his side a sniff throughout the day but his efforts of two goals and three behinds with 11 disposals were to no avail. James Rowe was one positive for the Eagles kicking four goals for his side and has become the surprise leader of the Ken Farmer Medal after five rounds of the competition. Former Port and Swans players Jimmy Toumpas and Jordan Foote had 22 and 21 touches respectively in an all-round tough day out for the Eagles. The Eagles find themselves with a 1-4 record as they try to adjust to the new era under coach Sam Lonergan.

Eagles vs Centrals
Reserves: Centrals 15.7 (97) defeated Eagles 14.4 (88)
Under 18s: Eagles 10.18-78 defeated Centrals 2.7 (19)

The Reserves game was a tight tussle all day, with Centrals getting a break in the third term, but Eagles fought back in the last quarter to almost run over the Bulldogs. Flynn Pisani from the Bulldogs was best and is having a very good season to date. Steve Burton also had a standout performance clocking up a game high 38 disposals in a strong display for his side. Connor McLean was very good up forward and finished with three goals. For the Eagles, Jake Weidemann was a presence up forward finishing with four goals, while Jake Camitogianni and Cooper Gaffney were good around the contest for the Eagles.

The U18 Eagles won easily and the shining light was a six goal haul from Michael Frederick for the winning side. He could have ended up with nine if he was able to convert his three behinds but he clearly posed a dangerous figure in the forward line attacking the ball hard. Henry McCabe (son of Luke) again was solid for the Bulldogs finishing with 24 disposals and best for the losing side

Glenelg vs West
League:
Glenelg 10.14 (74) defeated West 8.10 (58)
Reserves: West 11.13 (79) defeated Glenelg 7.3 (45)
Under 18s: West 17.6 (108) defeated Glenelg 4.12 (36)

Glenelg gained its third win of the season with a 16-point victory over West Adelaide under ANZAC Day eve lights at City Mazda Oval. The Bloods led at every change but were unable to stop a Tigers side which came charging home in the last quarter. Lachlan Hosie finished with a bag of three, bringing his season tally to 14 to sit equal-top of the Ken Farmer Medal alongside Eagle, James Rowe. Luke Reynolds also contributed two goals, with Darcy Bailey and Marlon Motlop also booting majors. Motlop was integral in the win, collecting 25 disposals, seven marks and four tackles. He was supported by Chris Curran (24 disposals and eight marks) and Carl Nicholson (18 disposals, nine marks and four tackles). Young duo Jonty Scharenberg (17 disposals, seven marks and three tackles) and Luke Partington (17 disposals and three tackles) continued to build momentum in the engine room. For West Adelaide, Will Snelling dominated around the stoppages in a best-on-ground performance, tallying 27 disposals, five marks, 17 tackles and seven clearances. Veteran Chris Schmidt had 22 possessions, whilst Jono Beech, Mason Middleton and Gibson Turner each kicked two.

West Reserves side had another good win, with Nathan Batley and Kenny Karpany leading the way for the Bloods once again. Sam May is having a consistent season clocking up another 26 disposal and one goal game. Glenelg’s Alex Martini played a solid game in the loss, and Seb Kerrish continues to push for league selection with a 24 disposal game for the Tigers.

Westies Under 18s had a day out with talented Beau Nunan kicking nine goals in a classy performance. For the Bloods, Bailey Chamberlain found plenty of ball finishing with 32 disposals and three clearances, along with Zac Wooldridge collecting 31 disposals and 11 marks. Will Schreiber was best for the struggling Bays.

North vs Norwood
League:
Norwood 15.11 (101) defeated North 12.15 (87)
Reserves: North 12.14 (86) defeated Norwood 7.12 (54)
Under 18s: Norwood 14.8 (92) defeated North 10.9 (69)

Norwood fought off a fast finishing North in the rematch of the 2018 Grand final, but had control of the game for most of the day. Norwood’s class was evident and prime mover Matt Panos again was best for the Redlegs with 27 disposals and three goals to make him a deserved Anzac Medal winner. North showed signs and recently promoted small forwards Liam Verity and Strato Agostoras both hit the scoreboard with two and three goals respectively.

In the reserves, the result went the other way for North. For the Roosters small forward Frankie Szkeley was best with two goals, eight tackles and 17 possessions to provide real dash and spark around the packs. Midfielder Dakota Nixon returned from injury and also provided some poise for the Roosters with 24 disposals and seven clearances. Medium forward Cameron Tiggeman also had a day out kicking five goals, from both set shots and snaps. For Norwood, in a close to best on ground performance running defender Jacob Collins was impressive, with 28 possessions including nine marks as he repeatedly rebounded the ball or drove it forward from defence with a booming kick. Onballer Cody Szust was also strong with two goals and 22 possessions while Josh Richards also impressed with 24 disposals and six clearances for the game.

Under 18s victory went to Norwood as well, Mitchell Carroll was best for the Redlegs in a 26 disposal, 7 clearance game along with Xavier Tranfa who finished with 23 possessions and 6 tackles. For North Jackson Antrobus (son of Tony) had probably his best game for the Roosters, along with midfielder Lachlan Borg who ended up with 22 disposals and 6 clearances.

South vs Sturt
League:
Sturt 14.8 (92) defeated South 11.4 (70)
Reserves: South 11.11 (77) defeated Sturt 10.9 (69)
Under 18s: Sturt 15.13 (103) defeated South 7.3 (45)

Sturt enjoyed a 22-point win over South Adelaide in the League match with Sam Colquhoun having a day out. Colquhoun collected 40 disposals, 10 marks, six clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds in a massive performance, while James Battersby (27 touches, 13 marks, four clearances and two inside 50s) was solid. Zane Kirkwood and Aidan Riley hit the scoreboard for the Double Blues with two majors apiece. For the Panthers, Matthew Rose had 30 touches, nine marks and eight rebounds out of defence, while Nick Liddle racked up 24 disposals, six clearances and six tackles. Ben Heaslip starred in the Reserves with 31 touches, 10 clearances and six tackles for the winning Panthers, while Joel Thiele was his nemesis at the stoppages, racking up 11 clearances himself as well as 27 disposals and six tackles. In the Under 18 demolition by Sturt, it was hard to go past the performance of the week by Sturt’s Charlie Allan. A huge game of 42 disposals, one goal, eight tackles and nine clearances was highly impressive. For the losing side, Max Clifton had a team-high 22 disposals as well as five marks, eight clearances, six inside 50s and four rebounds.

SANFL weekly wrap: Norwood wins in thriller as Tigers tame Crows

FOLLOWING Round 2 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition, our writers Jamie Morgan, David Chapman, Tom Wyman and Damon Mattiazzo recap some of the impressive performances across the weekend.

Glenelg v Adelaide

League: Glenelg 18.7 (115) defeated Adelaide 9.8 (62)

Glenelg collected their first premiership points of the new season by defeating a young Adelaide side under Friday night lights at the bay. Former Richmond Tiger, Liam McBean was the hero for the home side, bagging nine majors from full-forward. He was well-supported by a half-backline comprising of skipper Chris Curran, who amassed 31 disposals and 17 marks, and former-Carlton player Aaron Joseph (24 disposals and six marks). Potential high draft pick Will Gould was solid in defence, collecting 19 touches and seven marks, whilst 2018 state-representative Finn Betterman managed eight disposals in just his second league appearance. For the Crows, Myles Poholke slotted three majors to stake his claim for a call-up and Cam Ellis-Yolmen continued to find the ball, racking up 36 disposals and 7 marks. Recent draftees, Lachlan Sholl (34 disposals, six marks and eight rebounds), Jordon Butts (19 disposals) and Ned McHenry (15 disposals, five marks and five tackles) were also impressive. Expect Hugh Greenwood (19 disposals and 10 clearances) and Jordan Gallucci (16 disposals) to return to the Crows senior onball rotation within weeks.

Central District vs. Norwood

League: Central District 12.14 (86) defeated by Norwood 13.11 (89)
Reserves: Central District 10.8 (68) defeated Norwood 10.7 (67)
Under 18s: Norwoood 13.14 (92) defeated Central District 5.5 (35)

Two of the three clashes between the Bulldogs and Redlegs were absolute thrillers, as the Redlegs claimed victory in the League clash by just three points, before Central District scored the points in a one-point victory over Norwood in the Reserves. All eyes were on potential first round pick, Dylan Stephens who cracked his way into a strong Norwood League side and looked the part, collecting 18 disposals, four marks, three tackles and booting a goal on debut. Lewis Johnston continued his ripping form with 38 disposals, four clearances and seven marks, while for the winners, Jarrod Schiller had 28 touches, eight marks, seven clearances and a goal. In the Reserves, Isaac Saywell had a team-high 29 touches as well as four marks and four clearances for Norwood, while Cameron Taheny was lively up forward, booting three goals from 14 disposals and nine marks (three contested). For Central District, Steve Burton recorded 34 disposals and 13 clearances in a midfield masterclass. At Under 18s level, Henry Nelligan was impressive for Norwood, racking up 28 disposals, 10 clearances, five marks, six tackles and booting two goals in the win, while Xavier Tranfa finished with 26 touches, three marks, four clearances and seven tackles. For the Bulldogs, Rhys Cannizzaro was the one to watch, racking up nine clearances and laying 10 tackles from 27 disposals and five marks.

North Adelaide vs West Adelaide

League: North Adelaide 14.11 (95) defeated West Adelaide 9.12 (66)
Reserves: North Adelaide 6.9 (45) defeated by West Adelaide 13.11 (89)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 7.6 (48) defeated by North Adelaide 14.7 (91)

In the Reserves match, North big man Dyson Hilder started off in a midfield role and after half-time switched to key defender on the dangerous Westies forward. In the Under 18s, North got the win against Westies, led by Harrison Magor with 33 disposals including six clearances, while Charlie Dowling kicked four goals from his 18 possessions and eight marks. For Westies, Bailey Chamberlain had 28 possession and 13 marks to be in his side’s best. In the League clash, North Adelaide ran out 29-point winners as Aidan Tropiano racked up 32 disposals, two marks, six tackles and nine clearances, while Max Thring booted three goals from 30 touches and four marks. For West Adelaide, Christopher Schmidt had a team-high 31 disposals and eight clearances, while John Noble booted three goals from 27 touches and Kaine Stevens finished with 30 disposals and a goal.

South Adelaide v Port Adelaide

League: Port Adelaide 8.10 (58) defeated by South Adelaide 14.10 (94)

South Adelaide continued its fine start to the season with a dominant 36 point win against Port at Alberton Oval. South were led by co-captain Joel Cross who contributed 24 disposals and two goals, while former Eagle Tom Whittlesea made a big impact with five goals for his side. For Port Adelaide, Jack Trengove backed up his 44-disposal game from the opening round with another 42 touches for his side and could be rewarded with a call-up to the AFL side. Matthew Broadbent had 28 touches as he continues to stake his claim for a recall, while Category B rookie Kai Pudney continues to find plenty of the ball with 30 disposals coming from the wing. New Mapgies captain Cam Sutcliffe, and Aidyn Johnson both missed majority of the game with hamstring and concussion problems respectively.

South Adelaide vs. Glenelg

Reserves: Glenelg 10.9 (69) defeated by South Adelaide 14.9 (93)
Under 18s: Glenelg 8.12 (60) defeated South Adelaide 8.7 (55)

South took on Glenelg in Under 18s and went down in a five-point game. Glenelg’s Clayton Symonds (son of Tony) finished with a game high three goals while Sam Liambis led possession count with 24 disposals and nine tackles. Big man Riley Holder backed up another solid game in the ruck. South’s talented Zac Dumesny showed he is in for a big year in a strong performance for the Panthers. In the Reserves, South Adelaide claimed a big win, but it was Glenelg’s Darcy Bailey dominating with 39 disposals, 10 marks, seven clearances, three tackles and a goal, while teammate Declan Carmody is a name to watch, racking up 24 disposals, six marks, four tackles and booting a goal. Key forward Daniel Sladojevic was strong for the Panthers, booting a goal from 15 disposals and five marks (one contested), while Cameron McGree had 28 hitouts from 17 disposals and booted two goals.

Woodville-West Torrens vs Sturt

League: Sturt 12.12 (84) defeated Woodville-West Torrens 11.11 (77)
Reserves: Sturt 7.9 (51) defeated by Woodville-West Torrens 8.9 (57)
Under 18s: Woodville-West Torrens 17.5 (107) defeated Sturt 10.7 (67)

The Under 18s talent at the Eagles disposed of Sturt easily by 40 points and that was with some players up into the Eagles Reserves side. Forward Josh Morris finished with six goals, and Harry Shoenberg played well again. The Eagles Reserves side hung on in a close tussle with young talent, Jackson Mead (son of Darren) again playing well finishing with two goals and 16 possessions, while young Ruckman Sam Michael showed he is up to the challenge against bigger bodies. Teammate Jamie Coff also impressed up forward snagging three goals. Sturt’s Jed McEntee found his feet along with Anzac Lochowiak who looked at ease against the strong Eagles side. Sturt were victorious despite a late charge from the Eagles in the league game. Kysaiah Pickett kicked a goal in his League debut for the Eagles and Jordan Foote was a beast again in the midfield. Ex-Docker Danyle Pearce was also good for the Double Blues.

Season preview: SANFL 2019

AFTER a successful off-season that saw many South Australian National Football League (SANFL) players reach the highest level, the 10 clubs again begin the journey towards the 2019 premiership. Our South Australian writers take a look at how each side is shaping up in the pre-season.

Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

The Adelaide Crows SANFL team will be headlined this season by former AFL-listed forward Matthew Wright who will captain the team into the 2019 season. Wright will also take on a role as a part-time development coach with the club after announcing his retirement from the AFL after three years at Carlton. The club did not draft any players from South Australia and picked up Allies star midfielder Chayce Jones, who played Round 1 in the AFL. Will Hamill and Lachlan Sholl will be intriguing prospects for the Crows, as Ned McHenry should be on the fringes for an AFL debut sometime throughout the season. The Crows also gained Shane McAdam from Carlton through trade after he was selected in the mature-aged pre-draft after a stellar season for Sturt. Out of the Crows SANFL contracted players, Jordon Boyle from Salisbury North impressed the most last season, but Michael McMahon and 2018 Dean Bailey award winner Corey Davey should be their best contributors. With Tom Doedee suffering a season ending ACL injury in Round 1 against Hawthorn, the Crows may potentially consider taking a player at the first AFL mid-season draft to bolster their defensive stocks.

Centrals:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

Central District will be hoping for a swift return to finals football after a rare finals absence in 2018. Former Crow Troy Menzel headlines the new recruits returning after five years in the AFL with Carlton, Adelaide and a dominant premiership stint in the SAAFL with Tea Tree Gully in 2018. The Dogs have also recruited a trio of Neagle’s- Jydon, Matthew, and Jaxon– from Wodonga and will be looking to make the most of the opportunity at the Ponderosa. Tim Auckland– 2018 Adelaide Crows SANFL contracted player- impressed enough to earn himself a contract at the Dogs and will be the one envisaged to replace the outgoing Darcy Fort. Central were one of the club’s to be hit most by AFL Draft, with Jackson Hately (GWS), Jez McLennan (Gold Coast), Aaron Nietschke (Melbourne) and Fort (Geelong) all recruited. 2018 leading goal kicker John Butcher and former Docker Jack Hannath have also both moved onto new opportunities outside of the game.

Glenelg

By: Jamie Morgan

Things have been very busy in the offseason at Brighton Road with some big names to the club. Ex-West Coast midfielder Luke Partington will look to have an immediate impact on the side slotting straight into the middle. Added as well is Ex-Geelong forward and local Glenelg boy, Cory Gregson. Despite his injury troubles whilst in the AFL system, the best of Gregson will compliment a strong Glenelg side. With key experienced players Liam McBean and Brad Agnew back to the Bay, this looks like the strongest Glenelg squad for some years. Despite losing Tobin Cox to Port Power, and some other players moving, the talent coming is excellent. Coach Mark Stone has young talent to work with, with 2019 Top 10 draft hopeful Will Gould showing he is ready for league footy in the pre-season and has been rewarded with a Round 1 berth. Gould is a versatile player with a strong body who will be looking to thrive in his draft year. 2018 SA U18 team member Finn Betterman has impressed also over the pre-season and will be making his debut in Round 1 as well. The Glenelg leaders of Max Proud and Chris Curran will be looking to guide this team to finals and break a long drought for the Tigers. At Reserves and Under 18 level there is plenty of talent keen to impress with SA U18 members Cooper Hornsell and Brady Searle developing nicely.

North Adelaide:

By: David Chapman

The reigning premiers have an uphill start, being docked two wins prior to the start of the season for the 19th man incident in the 2018 Preliminary finals. They have also lost five premiership players to the AFL in the form of Best and Fairest Callum Wilkie, wing/forward Robbie Young, ruckman Jordon Sweet, utility Connor Rozee and small forward Boyd Woodcock. Coming into the mix to replace those will be; back from the AFL, small forward Jake Neade (Power), and mid/forward Ben Jarman (Crows). Also out of country footy and returning to the Roosters with three Mail Medals is former SA U18 captain and midfielder Campbell Coombe and key defender from Keith, Bill Laurie. Rugby convert Jack Blair from NSW also takes up the ruck space. In the trial games, we have also seen some exciting play from small forwards Keanu Miller and Frankie Szekely and winger Mason Neagle. Some of the key youngsters in the mix for the Roosters this year include tall Dyson Hilder, at around 196cm he has played in the SANFL league trials in the midfield, up forward and down back and will be a key cog in the SA U18 champs this year. Also one to watch is key position player, Karl Findlay, picked in the U18 Academy as well, this smooth and calm defender will have a his mix of school, state and SANFL commitments this year. With the Reserves also winning the flag last year there is some depth, but a number of those experienced players have left the club to play some local and country footy. This year North cannot really afford to go on a 1-6 late season run like they did last year. The nucleus of the North success has been their core of hard midfielders, and while the key positions remain unchanged, the impact of losing Wilkie could be the key. However, North will still be a real threat in 2019.

Norwood:

By: Jamie Morgan

Norwood look to again be in the mix for finals after another solid offseason adding ex Port (and Glenelg) Dom Barry and former South Adelaide player Cody Szust to an already strong list. Magarey medalist Mitch Grigg again looks like he will be able to control games from the middle alongside Matthew Panos. Norwood had four of their talented youngsters drafted at the end of 2018 in Luke Valente, Jacob Kennerley, Ben Jarvis, and Kade Chandler, but their core group is experienced and tough and Coach Jarrod Cotton will be looking to go further than 2018. Ex PAC student Cole Gerloff is an emerging talent and should be a consistent member of the league side this year. The Under 18 talent at the Redlegs is again top notch and SA squad members Cameron Taheny and Dylan Stephens are real standouts who will no doubt get a taste at the next level. Both will be keys for SA’s Under 18 title defence and will be watched closely for the Redlegs.

Port Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

For the first time since Port Magpies re-assignment in the SANFL they will not be led by club stalwart Steven Summerton. Taking over the captaincy and marquee spot is former Fremantle utility Cameron Sutcliffe who surprisingly knocked back his original SANFL club Woodville-West Torrens. Sutcliffe has also taken on a role as a development mentor which will aid the draftees’ development and integration into the Magpies setup. Bar Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma, Port drafted exclusively from South Australia and already have Boyd Woodcock and Connor Rozee who played in a North Adelaide premiership in the previous season. Kai Pudney dominated in U18’s level last season and will look to take the next step in the seniors, as will Martin Frederick – who impressed at the U18 South Australia championship win – and will be looking to further his development with senior football. Out of the Magpies SANFL contracted players, ex-Central District forward Dallas Hill will be one to watch, as is Matt Appleton, who played 15 league matches for North Adelaide in 2018 will be an interesting prospect. With the Magpies’ Reserves side disbanded for 2019, all SANFL contracted players that don’t feature in the league side will play for their community clubs when not required. Second year Western Australian player Jake Patmore suffered an ACL injury in a SANFL trail match against South Adelaide and will miss the season, much like ruckman Sam Hayes who suffered the same injury last season but will be looking return to the SANFL side in the near future.

South Adelaide:

By: Jamie Morgan

It has been an interesting off season for the Panthers with some great talent snapped up with losing players Nathan Krueger to Geelong, Keegan Brooksby back into the AFL system at West coast as well as youngsters Tom Sparrow to Melbourne and Jake Tarca to Geelong. Bringing in Malcom Karpany from West Coast will be a handy addition as well as South favourite Emmanuel Irra returning from Port Adelaide, but it is the class of ball magnet Nick Liddle and Joel Cross which always makes South hard to beat. Players ready to break out include Liam Fitt who impressed with every game and Jaiden Kappler is another talent on the rise. South has some quality young talent emerging with big men Damon Freitag and Daniel Sladojevic likely to get an opportunity at the highest level.

Sturt:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

After losing dual premiership coach Marty Mattner as an assistant coach to the Adelaide Crows, the new Sturt era will be under the tutelage of former North Melbourne and Central District premiership player Nathan Grima. Grima was recruited from Essendon Football League side Strathmore and has brought Victorian pair Tom Condon from his former side and 6ft 5in giant Josh Patullo from Footscray’s VFL team from across the border. But their season will be headlined by the return of Sturt product Danyle Pearce, returning after 258 AFL games for Fremantle and Port Adelaide and a 2006 Rising Star award to his name. The Double Blues lost star player Shane McAdam to the AFL as a Mature-age draft pick and Riley Grundy to Port Adelaide late in last year’s draft. Sturt will also miss promising midfielder Tom Lewis – a key asset in South Australia’s successful U18 carnival- to an ACL injury suffered in an early season trial match and will miss the entire 2019 season.

West Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

West Adelaide will hope 2019 can be the season the Bloods can rise back up into finals contention, with coach Gavin Colville into his second term. West welcome back Jack Oatey medallist and the captain of their 2015 premiership Chris Schmidt, partnering the return of Will Snelling back from three seasons with Port Adelaide. Snelling- a hard luck story to be delisted by Port- will be keen to build on his 2018 best-and-fairest SANFL Port season and make a big impact back at his original club. The Bloods have also recruited Dallas Willsmore from Hawthorn after he was delisted at the end of the 2018 season after two AFL games in four seasons with the Hawks. Willsmore will provide more depth in West’s engine room, as West rounded out their acquisitions with Werribee swingman Jade Cleeland and ex-Norwood defender Pat Levicki. The recruits should replenish the loss of star players Chris Burgess and Izak Rankine, who were picked by the Gold Coast Suns, and veterans Aaron Fielke, Daniel Webb, and Shannon Green.

Woodville-West Torrens:

By: Jamie Morgan

There has been some strong ex-AFL talent added to the Eagles side this year, with Jimmy Toumpas (Port), Jesse Lonergan (Gold Coast) and Jordan Foote (Sydney Swans) providing even more class to a finals hardened outfit. With long-time coach Michael Godden departing to take up an Assistant role at Adelaide Crows, the Eagles secured Sam Lonergan as head coach in the off-season. Lonergan brings AFL and SANFL playing and Tasmanian coaching experience to the group and will be looking to have a clean slate after the difficult end to 2018 and the 19th man saga. This side looks ready for finals, and with exciting youngsters in their draft year Kysiah Pickett and Jackson Mead, the mix of experience and youth is spread well. No doubt the Round 1 clash vs 2018 Premiers North Adelaide will have an extra bite to it, with Lonergan’s team wanting to make its mark on the competition early. Midfielder accumulator James Boyd will be important, as will the class of Luke Thompson in defence.