Tag: Mitch Grigg

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: Youngsters press claims for senior call-ups

A BUNCH of up-and-coming talents pressed their claims for senior selection across the state leagues this past weekend, with finals time drawing closer in the top tier. The West Australian Football League (WAFL) made its return after a week away due to lockdown, while it was business as usual around the nation with just over a month of home-and-away action left to play out. We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean moving forward in this week’s state leagues wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

The Battle of Bell Street headlined Round 13’s action in the VFL, with the Northern Bullants holding on to win by a single point against traditional local rival, Coburg. Players did justice to the resumption of this long-standing rivalry, though the Lions’ last ditch surge was not enough to snatch victory at Piranha Park. Bullants big man Daniel Hughes took home the inaugural Harold Martin Medal as best afield, having finished with 18 disposals and 35 hitouts.

While the Bullants picked up their third-consecutive win, Footscray avoided a major boilover to remain undefeated in 2021, defeating Sydney by seven points on the back of a six-goal final term. The Bulldogs twice trailed by as many as six goals throughout the contest, but did enough to power past the plucky Swans outfit. Patrick Lipinski‘s claims for a recall remain strong after 36 disposals and a goal, while tall Sydney pair Logan McDonald (14 marks, four goals) and Patrick McCartin (27 disposals, 11 marks) dominated the airways.

Collingwood and Geelong remain fixed in the top eight after earning their own closely contested victories, downing 2019 grand finalists Richmond and Williamstown respectively. The Cats lead at every break in their 12-point triumph, while senior-listed midfielder Charlie Constable (30 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) continuing his ominous form, while young forwards Jack Ginnivan (four goals) and Noah Cumberland (five) were sensational in the Magpies’ five-point salute on enemy territory.

While Port Melbourne was thumped by 95 points in Frankston on Friday, the Borough’s home deck was used on Saturday to field the clash between Greater Western Sydney (GWS) and Gold Coast. The Giants, who had a handy mix of AFL-listed players and academy products, ran out 40-point winners with Zach Sproule (five goals), Matt De Boer (35 disposals, three goals), and senior skipper Stephen Coniglio (36 disposals, eight tackles) proving a class above.

Casey and Sandringham were the other Victorian sides to register premiership points in Round 13, while Southport returned to the fray with a resounding 109-point romping of Brisbane. The result sees the Sharks sit a win clear in second, still an equal amount of points away from current frontrunner Footscray. The Round 14 fixture has also been announced, with both Sydney teams having the bye while Queensland travel is set to resume for a trio of Victorian clubs.

South Australia (SANFL):

Ladder position counted for plenty in Round 14 of the SANFL, as all of the top five sides registered wins against their bottom five counterparts. The handful of fixtures took part on a super Saturday of state league action, which did little to really shake up the order of things ranking-wise.

Reigning premier Woodville-West Torrens opened proceedings with a 19-point win over the bottom-placed West Adelaide, despite managing just nine goals from 30 scoring shots. Westies tidied up the margin with three final term consolation goals, but the Eagles’ scoring power was all too much in the end. Jack Hayes had a day to remember for the victors, clunking 20 marks (seven contested) and booting two goals, while prolific small forward Tyson Stengle managed 3.4 from eight touches.

Competition frontrunner Glenelg pushed its undefeated streak out to 13 games with a 30-point win over Sturt, kicking away in a five-goal to one third term. Bays spearhead Liam McBean booted six goals in a commanding display, as Lachie Wilsdon snared eight in North Adelaide’s 48-point salute over Central District. The likes of Harrison Wigg (42 disposals, nine clearances), Samuel McInerney (24 disposals, five goals), and Campbell Combe (29 disposals, two goals) were among the Roosters’ other outstanding individual performers.

North’s win opened up a gap to Port Adelaide in sixth, after the Magpies went down to Norwood by 36 points. The usual suspects were amongst it for the Redlegs, with Mitch Grigg (31 disposals, seven clearances, one goal), Richard Douglas (30 disposals, eight clearances), and Brad McKenzie (24 disposals, two goals) all in the thick of things. South Adelaide was the weekend’s other winner, with pick one contender Jason Horne (19 disposals, one goal) again catching plenty of eyes as his Panthers got the better of Adelaide.

Tasmania (TSL):

Launceston took out a crucial TSL top-of-the-table clash on Saturday, downing North Launceston by 53 points to strength its spot as the league leader. The Blues now boast a two-game gap to their closest rival, and consolidated their latest victory with five goals to nil in the final quarter. Brayden Pitcher booted six majors to spearhead the Blues’ win, Jake Hinds and competition stalwart Jay Blackberry took out votes as the best two players afield.

Fellow top four sides Tigers and Clarence also picked up wins against the bottom two teams, in North Hobart and Lauderdale respectively. The Tigers accelerated during a five-goal second term to end up 40-point victors on the road, while Colin Garland snared another bag of six goals as his Roos wrapped up a 49-point win on home turf. Both sides remain locked on 32 points, with Clarence ahead in third by 0.23 per cent.

Western Australia (WAFL):

The WAFL returned after last week’s lockdown with crowds enjoying five fixtures across a stacked Saturday of state league football. The home sides won out in four of those games, while Subiaco shot back to the top of the table as the race for minor premiership honours heats up.

Claremont’s one-point loss to South Fremantle opened the door for Subiaco to reclaim top spot on percentage, though all three teams now sit level on eight wins with a two-pronged chasing pack ready to pounce at just one game adrift. The top five looks relatively set, with a three-game gap now opened up between Swan Districts in fifth and Peel Thunder in sixth.

Swans scraped past the ever-improving West Coast by two points to remain in the hunt with West Perth, as the Falcons had a much easier time defeating East Perth by 30 points. Geelong champion Harry Taylor returned to East Fremantle and booted four goals as Corey Warner, the brother of Chad made his League debut, but their efforts were not enough to help overcome the Thunder in a 26-point loss.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

State Leagues wrap: Finals spots shaken up

THERE were some key changes to finals calculations across the state league this weekend, with ladder leaders soaring as the following packs jostle for position. Victorian sides still await their return, but it was business as usual in South Australia and Tasmania, while West Australian fans had two fixtures to take in on Saturday and Sunday. We run you through all the results and outstanding performances in this week’s state league wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

Teams from everywhere but Victoria carried the Victorian Football League through another round of action, with three AFL reserves sides taking the field across a pair on Saturday afternoon fixtures. The first saw Gold Coast complete a dramatic turnaround against Sydney Swans, with first year utility Joel Jeffrey putting the SUNS ahead in the dying stages having trailed by as much as 38 points in term two. An eight-goal third quarter blitz set up the 17.5 (107) to 16.8 (104) victory, with Jeffrey among four SUNS to boot three goals. Brayden Fiorini racked up a game-high 45 disposals upon returning to the grade, as Sydney bigman Hayden McLean claimed four majors.

In the day’s second fixture, over at Blacktown International Sportspark, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) stormed home with seven final term goals to topple Aspley by 49 points. Having been trialled in numerous roles, GIANTS youngster Jake Riccardi returned to his familiar forward post and bagged eight goal to spearhead his side’s victory. Up the other end, competition leading goalkicker Matthew Hammelmann snared six of the Hornets’ nine major scores, as teammate Matthew Payne led all comers for disposals (32). Young GIANTS Tanner Bruhn (25 disposals, two goals) and Kieren Briggs (23 disposals, 28 hitouts, one goal) were also outstanding.

With Victorian teams back in training as of last week, a return normal programming should be just around the corner. Southport currently tops the ladder at 6-1 having played twice more than most other teams, while Casey Demons and Footscray remain undefeated at 5-0 to sit second and third respectively.

South Australia (SANFL):

Woodville-West Torrens moved up to second spot with a comprehensive 68-point drubbing of Port Adelaide, seeing the Magpies drop to fifth. The Eagles broke away with 10 goals to one after half time, with Jack Hayes (28 disposals, three goals) and James Tsitas (41 disposals, eight clearances) among the prominent figures. Jarrod Lienert was kept busy for Port, registering 14 rebound 50s among his 26 disposals as first year forward Ollie Lord showed some promise with two goals and three contested marks.

The Eagles overtook South Adelaide in second, as the Panthers went down to Norwood by nine points. Mitch Grigg continued his return to form for the Redlegs, racking up 34 touches and booting three goals in the win while Matthew Nunn (29 disposals) and Richard Douglas (19, one goal) also played key hands. Former AFL veterans Matthew Broadbent (25 disposals) and Bryce Gibbs (24, 11 clearances and one goal) stood up for the Panthers, as 200-gamer Joel Cross also hit the scoreboard and top draft prospect Jason Horne booted a goal from his 19 touches.

Ladder leader Glenelg moved to an ominous 10-0, defeating North Adelaide by 23 points as Liam McBean (five goals) and Matthew Snook (34 disposals) took hold. Meanwhile, Adelaide jumped Sturt after its 10-point win over the Double Blues, which saw senior-listed players Jackson Hately (31 disposals, seven clearances and one goal) and Billy Frampton (three goals) knock on the door for a call-up.

Tasmania (TSL):

Round 11 of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) went largely as expected, with ladder position telling the story of all three results. The round of action opened on Friday night as Tigers stormed KGV to come away 22-point victors over Glenorchy, seeing the visitors stretch the gap to their weekend opponents to three wins. Max Collidge booted three goals for Tigers, while Riley Oakley snared two for the Magpies as Edward Cole and Nathan Blowfield were named best afield for their respective sides.

North Launceston maintained its chase for top spot on Saturday, doubling Lauderdale’s score to win by 35 points in enemy territory. 14 of the combined 15 goals scored were kicked at one end of the ground, with the Northern Bombers dealing more damaging blows in the first and third terms. Jay Foon booted a game-high three goals and was named the victors’ best player, while Phillip Bellchambers snared two for Lauderdale as Rhys Sutton earned the coaches votes.

Competition leading goalkicker Dylan Riley enjoyed another day out, booting eight majors in Launceston’s 103-point thumping of North Hobart. Riley has bullied the Demons this season, kicking 18 goals in two meetings – including a season-high bag of 10. Alec Wright also featured prominently for the table topping Blues, while Callum Fitzpatrick was named the best for North Hobart after a tough outing.

Western Australia (WAFL):

Claremont rose to the top of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) ladder in Round 10, coming from behind to beat Peel Thunder by seven points on Saturday. The Tigers trailed at each of the first three breaks, before piling on five goals in the final term to sneak ahead at the clutch. Jye Bolton continued his dominance with another 35 disposals and nine inside 50s for Claremont, as youngster Jack Buller booted four goals in the win. Fremantle-listed midfielder Luke Valente was Peel’s biggest ball winner (26 disposals), as the Thunder again yielded a heavy amount of rotations.

The round’s sole other fixture came on Sunday, with East Perth causing a boilover to beat reigning premier South Fremantle by five points. The Royals were ahead at each break and while South remained within striking distance, they were unable to turn the tables and snatch victory. The Bulldogs still sit pretty comfortably in third though, with the Royals’ second win sees them remain ninth. The likes of Angus Scott (26 disposals), Angus Schumacher and Shayne Hill were terrific for East Perth, as Chad Pearson (29 disposals) led all comers and Brandon Donaldson (four goals) proved potent going forward for South Freo.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

State leagues preview: Pressure on undefeated sides

AS the weekend approaches, state leagues around the country prepare for another big round of footy. With high stakes across the board, don’t be surprised to see some thrilling contests.

Victoria:

The VFL will be holding less games this week, with eight teams set to have a bye this weekend as the competition breaks up the matches with the added interstate teams. However, this does not mean there will be a shortage of exciting matchups.

The Casey Demons were hoping to maintain their spot on top of the ladder with a win over the Sydney Swans at Casey Fields on Sunday morning, however that encounter has been delayed due to COVID-19 related issues. The Demons find themselves in first place after starting the season 3-0 with a handy percentage and their big win over North Melbourne last round will give them plenty of confidence despite not being able to head into a clash with the struggling Swans side. Sydney have started the season with just one win from their three games, with their heartbreak from last week’s three-point loss a driving factor for the Swans players.

Sunday afternoon will also see the Carlton Blue travelling to Whitten Oval to take on the undefeated Footscray Bulldogs in a tantalising matchup. Carlton have been no slumps this season, winning two out of their first three matches, and dominating Essendon by 49 points in round three. They will fancy themselves against the Dogs here, but it will be a tough task to slow down their opponents. Footscray soundly defeated the Northern Bullants to the tune of 43 points last week, marking their third win by over seven goals. Prized Bulldog Jamarra Ugle-Hagan continues to find his feet at this level, so expect him to have a big presence in the forward line. Carlton’s Will Setterfield will be looking to perform at the level that has seen him collect over 25 disposals in each of the last two games.

South Australia:

The SANFL season is flying as South Australia’s premier league heads into their sixth round of action. The most intriguing matchup of the round comes first as the Woodville-West Torrens host the South Adelaide Panthers in a clash that will prove vital for each of the two sides. The Panthers have lost just the one match from their first five games, good enough for second place on the ladder. Their chances will be bolstered by the return of Matthew Broadbent and Liam Fitt, while 17-year-old Matty Roberts will make his debut after a strong performance in the U18’s last round. The Eagles sit just behind their opponents in third place, having won one less game, but will be driven by last round’s loss to Port Adelaide. The inclusion of star forward Jack Hayes will give them a huge confidence boost heading into a crucial game on Saturday afternoon.

The Central District Bulldogs will be looking for their second win for the season as they prepare for this round’s match against Norwood at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have had a less than ideal start to the season, finding themselves on the bottom of the ladder after six rounds, and have decided to change things up at selection. Key forward Connor McLean has been named in the forward pocket, in an attempt to stretch Norwood’s defence. Norwood could be recalling Mitch Grigg, who is named on the extended bench after his shocking relegation to the reserves in recent weeks. Grigg collected 20 touches in last week’s match, so don’t be surprised to see him line up for the senior side this week.

The SANFL showdown always delivers a buzz around Adelaide, with this year proving no exception, as the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows prepare to go to war on Saturday afternoon at Adelaide Oval as a curtain raiser to the AFL match between the two sides. The Power find themselves just inside the top five based on percentage, but last week’s ten-goal win over the Eagles will see them enter this match with their tails up. Experienced defender Tyson Goldsack will debut for the side having overcome a knee injury, while potential draftee Jase Burgoyne will line up for the Power in his debut as a part of his work in the Power’s Next Generation academy. The Crows sit on the same amount of wins as their fifth-placed opponents, but find themselves down the pecking order in eighth place. They will unleash Tasmanian development player Oliver Davis on the wing, after being recruited from Clarence for the rest of the season.

Kicking off the Sunday football action, the North Adelaide Roosters will host the West Adelaide Bloods at Prospect Oval on Sunday afternoon, with both sides keen to take home a very important win. The Roosters have started the season with just the one win from five games, so a triumph in this match would be vital for reigniting their 2021 season. They will welcome back utility Sam McInerney, who will play his first match since 2019, following a series of back injuries, while former Hawk Billy Hartung has been named on a wing in his first game of the year. The West Adelaide Bloods will be hoping to ride the momentum of last week’s win over Central District into this week, as they look to enter the top five with a victory on Sunday. They will be welcoming mature-age recruit Nick Steele, who will be lining up at centre-half-forward for his first SANFL match.

Sturt face a tough task this round, as they face off against the top of the table Glenelg at ACH Group Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the round. Sturt have started the season with two wins and three losses from five games, with their round five triumph over the Crows coming by just one point. They have not confirmed their changes yet, with all inclusions named on the extended bench, and one of these inclusions is former Power player Riley Grundy, who could debut to boost his side’s backline. Glenelg have started the season like a house on fire, winning all five of their matches to date, and will be looking to keep their unbeaten streak rolling. As a result of their hot start, they will likely enter the clash unchanged.

Western Australia:

The sixth round of WAFL action kicks off with an absolute blockbuster, as Claremont travel to Leederville Oval to face off against a fired-up Subiaco side on Saturday afternoon. Claremont have not put a foot wrong in their start to the season, ending round five with a 4-0 record as the dominant team of the competition. Forward Jack Butler kicked five goals from nine scoring shots, so expect Subiaco to send their best defender to keep an eye on him all day. Subiaco started the season 3-0, but were handed their first loss of the season by South Fremantle in round five, so look for them to come out eager to make amends. Ruckman Lachlan Delahunty will play a crucial role in his side’s success, and if he can back up last week’s 21 disposal and 29 hitout effort, Subiaco’s midfield should gain ascendancy.

Perth will be hoping to move up the ladder with a second consecutive win as they prepare to take on a Peel Thunder side in a similar situation. Both sides sit at 2-2 on the season and a third win could see the victor move into the top four after this high-stake game. Perth broke a two-game losing streak with a five-goal win over East Fremantle last round in a promising display and would love to back it up this round. Brady Grey played his best game of the season last week, with 29 disposals, 11 marks and nine tackles, and was crucial in the win, and should prove important again this week. Peel Thunder dominated West Coast last week, crushing their opponents by 79 points, so they will be confident in their ability heading into this clash. Blair Bell is fresh off a six-goal haul against the Eagles, so keep an eye on his presence around goal.

Swan Districts will be looking to edge closer to top spot on the ladder with a win over a faulting West Perth team at Provident Financial Oval on Saturday afternoon. Swan Districts are on a three-game winning streak to see them currently sit with a 3-1 record in second place and will be heavy favourites this week. Midfielder Samuel Fisher is averaging 34.5 disposals on the season in a blistering start and should rack up plenty of the ball in this clash. West Perth have only managed the one win in the 2021 season, and look unlikely to snatch one here, but if they do, it could kickstart a promising campaign.

East Perth will have the opportunity to grab their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, as they travel to Fremantle Community Bank Oval to take on South Fremantle. East Perth have started the season with a disappointing 0-4 record and sit second last on the ladder. Last week’s performance was promising as they pushed second placed Swan Districts right to the final siren, only falling two goals short of a massive upset. If they can bring a similar effort this week, they may finally sing the song. Edward Simpson booted five snags in the loss and should once again give defenders a headache. South Fremantle have won two games in a row to finally build some momentum as the season progresses. A win here could push them into the top three, so they will be eager to walk away victors. Haiden Schloithe has displayed his talents as a goalkicking midfielder all year so expect Saturday to prove no different.

The final match of round six will see East Fremantle host a West Coast side that is yet to compete all year, as the sides go head-to-head at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. East Fremantle are making a strong push for the top four, but last round’s loss to Perth made that slightly harder. They will be looking to grab this game with both hands early on, with Cameron Eardley likely to prove influential through the midfield. West Coast have simply looked off the pace all year, yet to register their first win and have been soundly beaten by plenty of sides. A bright spot for the season has been Hamish Brayshaw, who will look to find plenty of the ball around the ground.

Queensland:

QAFL action begins at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon, as Surfers Paradise host Noosa at Sir Bruce Small Park, as both sides look to recover from shaky starts. Surfers Paradise have won just the one game so far this year, and a loss here could see them fall right down in the race for the flag. Luckily for them, they face an out of form side, and a win would likely pump some life into their season. Look for Alby Jones to back up last week’s strong outing. Noosa are yet to win a game after four games and will be desperate to change that with a win this round. They were competitive against Sherwood Districts, but missed an opportunity to defeat a side that was also searching for their first win. Ryley Buntain has delivered two fantastic performances in losing sides, so he will be eager to walk off a winner.

Labrador will be thrilled with the opportunity to jump up the ladder as they head into Saturday afternoon’s clash with Mt Gravatt at Cooke-Murphy Oval. Labrador sit fourth on the ladder with three wins and one loss from their matches this year, and a win could see them reach second depending on results around the league. Heading into the match as favourites, their motivation will be high to continue to set themselves up as the season progresses. Former AFL gun Pearce Hanley has been on fire in the last two weeks, so if he is once again allowed to roam free, Labrador will be hard to stop. Mt Gravatt have won only the solitary game this year but have had two byes in five weeks. Nevertheless, a second win is crucial, and Saturday provides a perfectly good opportunity. Gavin Grose’s start to the year has been eye catching and should continue in this match.

A fresh Morningside team will be hosting Redland-Victoria Point at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon in an exciting matchup. Fresh off the bye, Morningside will be ready for the challenge from a strong Redland-Victoria Point side, as both sides look to climb the ladder with an important win on Saturday. Redland-Victoria Point’s Harrison Kerr has booted 11 goals in his past three games and will need to be held accountable if Morningside are to slow down the scoring of their opponent.

Sherwood Districts will be looking to cause an upset as they prepare to host an impressive Maroochydore at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Sherwood Districts have only won a single game this season, while their opponents have won three, so a boilover here looks unlikely, but stranger things have happened. Maroochydore sit second on the ladder, and if ladder leaders Broadbeach are beaten this round, a big win in this match could see them move to the top of the table. Keep an eye on Maroochydore’s Jacob Simpson, who has performed strongly all year. Sherwood Districts’ William Fletcher has been equally impressive and has also put his hand up as one to watch.

Wilston Grange face the tough task of slowing down the ladder leaders, as they host the undefeated Broadbeach at Hickey Park on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange have a 1-3 record after four games in an underwhelming start to the year, but a win here would truly send a message to the rest of the competition. They have the ability to kick a winning score, highlighted by Will McKenzie’s seven goals in his last two games. Broadbeach will be a tough beast to tame though. 4-0 on the season, they simply know how to get the job. With the top spot comes the pressure, and they will be eager to show they can more than handle it. Liam Nelson has been strong in the last three games and will be hoping to maintain this.

Tasmania:

The sixth round of TSL football kicks off with a bang as Clarence host competition powerhouse Launceston at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon. Launceston have looked unstoppable but face arguably their toughest challenger this week on their home deck. Clarence have looked fantastic this year, especially since returning to Blundstone Arena, and will fancy themselves a strong chance to knock off the reigning premiers on Saturday. The inclusion of experienced forward Josh Green should make them more dangerous forward of the ball. Launceston will be regaining stand-in captain Jake Hinds after serving his suspension, while Dylan Riley will be eager to continue the run of form that has seen him boot 19 goals in the last two matches.

Another key clash this weekend comes in the form of North Hobart taking on Glenorchy at North Hobart Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit with a 1-3 record and changing that to 2-3 is crucial for the season moving forward. North Hobart will bring in ruckman Logan Elphinstone to establish some midfield dominance. Glenorchy will be regaining the services of experienced midfielder Sam Rundle who should prove a crucial inclusion to the side.

The Tigers and North Launceston will clash at UTAS Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the final match of the round. The Tigers have a 3-2 record and had their colours lowered by a firing Clarence side last weekend, so they will be desperate to get back on the winners list. Star Elijah Reardon was kept reasonably quiet last round so he should be keen to bounce back in this game. North Launceston sit at 2-2 having played one less game than their opponent, but will regain the services of Bradley Cox-Goodyer, setting up a thrilling clash.

Picture credit: The Examiner

State Leagues Preview: Key games across the board

STATE league football will continue over the weekend with plenty at stake for the teams involved. With some sides looking for their first win and others trying to keep themselves ahead of the pack, expect plenty of thrilling action this weekend.

Victoria:

The third round of VFL action kicks off this weekend with Collingwood taking on Gold Coast at Olympic Park Oval on Friday afternoon. Gold Coast registered their first win last weekend over Sydney by 14 points, getting on a roll and will be looking to back it up this weekend against the Pies. Suns midfielders Will Brodie and Brayden Fiorni fired in the engine room last round and will need to do the same if they are to grab their second win of the season. Collingwood couldn’t back up their Round 1 win with another last week, falling to the Bombers by 35 points in a disappointing second half. Big man Mason Cox will miss due to suspension while the side will look extremely different with plenty of injuries at AFL level. The Pies depth will be tested here, which should make the win even sweeter if they can pull it off.

The Sydney Swans and the Geelong Cats will make for an interesting matchup when they face off on Saturday afternoon at Tramway Oval. With a 1-1 start to the year, the Swans will be eager to the return to their Round 1 form, which saw them take down the Giants by 26 points. If they are to take down this Cats side, experienced heads such as Sam Gray and Lewis Taylor will need to lead by example. The Cats will be fully refreshed after a bye last weekend, and will be looking to back up their Round 1 effort which saw them run out 79-point winners. Forwards Ben Jarvis and Josh Jenkins combined for eight goals, and if they can do something similar this weekend, it will be hard to stop the Cats.

In a battle of cross-town rivals, Carlton will travel to Windy Hill to take on Essendon on Sunday afternoon as both sides look for their second win to take them up the ladder. The Blues clinched a massive 69-point win over the Lions last weekend, which should give them a world of confidence heading into this match. A combined 12 goals from former AFL listed players Ben Crocker and James Parsons drove the Carlton win and if either can get off the chain again this weekend, Essendon coaches will have plenty to ponder from the sidelines. The Bombers took down the Pies last weekend, and should be looking to use the win as a spark for their season following a Round 1 loss. Tom Cutler was Essendon’s best in the win with 27 disposals and three goals, so expect the Blues to pay some attention to him throughout the match.

South Australia:

Round 5 of state league action kicks off with a blockbuster match, as Norwood host South Adelaide at Coopers Stadium under lights on Friday night. Norwood has landed a selection bombshell heading into the match, stunningly dropping dual-Magarey Medalist Mitch Grigg, who had just 14 disposals and a goal in last week’s 18-point loss to West Adelaide. Brad Mckenzie will line up on a wing in his return to the side while Brad Carroll is also confirmed to return to the side. Highly touted youngster Fraser Turner will finally debut for South Adelaide, named to start on a wing. The former Richmond utility has been named on the extended bench for consecutive weeks and will finally get his chance against Norwood. Liam Fitt will miss following a nasty head knock while Anthony Biemans is expected to miss multiple weeks following a leg injury.

North Adelaide will be looking to erase the memory of last week’s heartbreaking loss with a win this week over Glenelg at Prospect Oval on Saturday afternoon. North Adelaide fell to Woodville-West Torrens by three points in Round 4, and this pain will still be fresh in their minds. They could be bolstered by the return of star defender Cameron Craig, who has been named on the extended bench following a hamstring injury, but changes are yet to be confirmed. Don’t be surprised if Glenelg choose to not make any changes at selection this weekend, following a 10-point win over Port Adelaide last round, with no changes confirmed to the lineup that achieved that feat.

West Adelaide and Central Districts will go head-to-head, with the winner certainly moving up the ladder following their clash at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Both sides are in the bottom half of the ladder sitting at 1-3, so a win on Saturday afternoon is crucial for both these sides. West Adelaide will unleash a new player, as Canberra Demons recruit Lucas Meline is named to line up in the midfield for his first game in the new colours. There have been no confirmed outs at the time of publication. Central Districts coaches have been busy shuffling the magnets with four confirmed changes to their team. Rhett Montgomerie, Connor Mclean and Jacob Templeton will all miss through injury while Nick Gillard has been omitted. Fraser Fort, Wyatt Patterson, Cooper Dahms and Travis Schiller have been named as their replacements.

Bottom placed Sturt will have the opportunity to move up the standings as they host Adelaide at Unley Oval on Sunday afternoon. Sturt have not been able to register a second win on the season and will be desperate to take this opportunity against the Crows. Forwards Abe Davis and Josh Hone will return to give Sturt a boost while Charlie Parker will debut for the side across half back. Sturt will lose the services of Jordan Houlahan and Matt Crocker through injury while Adam Trenorden has been dropped. Adelaide will be waiting for AFL emergencies to affect their lineup but will certainly be without midfielders David Mackay (AFL) and Luke Pedlar (injured). Nick Murray has also earned an AFL call up.

In the final SANFL game for Round 5, Port Adelaide will return to Alberton Oval to host Woodville-West Torrens on Sunday afternoon in a key clash for both sides. Port Adelaide currently sit with a disappointing 1-3 record, and with Trent Burgoyne and Matt Appleton both ruled out through injury, a chance to improve this record seems unlikely. In saying this, don’t rule out the Power just yet, with plenty of talent around the ground, they won’t give up without a fight. Woodville-West Torrens have worked their way to a 3-1 record and will see this weekend’s match as the perfect opportunity to improve this. They will be without the services of former AFL forward Daniel Menzel, who will miss with an ankle injury and has been replaced by debutant Cooper Sharman.

Tasmania:

TSL action kicks off on Saturday with Clarence travelling to the Twin Ovals in Kingston to take on the Tigers. The Tigers found their form again last week, defeating Glenorchy by 24 points in the ANZAC day clash. The side will go in unchanged following the victory, and the obvious player to watch is Elijah Reardon who should continue his blistering season this weekend. Clarence had the bye last weekend and have brought in some firepower to combat this Tigers team, while the Roos have brought in Oliver Davis, Baker Smith, Darcy Gardner, Colin Garland and Jacob Young to make their side look much stronger. Expect a close contest.

Lauderdale will be keen to bounce back after last round’s 93-point belting at the hands of a brutal North Launceston side, and this round’s matchup against a struggling North Hobart side will get their hopes up. Lauderdale have shaken things up at team selection in order to conjure a response from their side. Among the ins are Tyler Martin, Luke Hodoninczky, Bryce Walsh and Ozzie Warmbrunn as the Bombers fight for their second win. North Hobart were embarrassed by Launceston last round, conceding 25 goals and losing by 125 points, and they have also opted to change things up at team selection. The Demons are bringing in Johnathon Pullen, George Mcleod, Jye Menzie, Tyler Mcginniss and Will Splann. Both sides have plenty to play for here.

Glenorchy face a tough obstacle if they want to bounce back from last week’s loss, and that obstacle comes in the form of an outrageously in-form Launceston side. The Magpies were defeated by the Tigers to the tune of a 24 point margin but face an even tougher task this week in the Blues. Glenorchy will need to change things up if they are to upset the juggernaut, and the team selection reflects this. The Magpies will lose former Blue Sam Rundle but will be bringing in Riley Best, Darrean Wyatt, Joshua Whitford, Dominic Brown and Isaac Manson. The Blues have made only one change in their quest to remain undefeated, bringing in hard-running midfielder Miller Hodge at the expense of Grant Holt who has been omitted.

Western Australia:

The fourth round of the WAFL was unfortunately cancelled last weekend as Western Australia battled a minor COVID outbreak. This has since been resolved and Round 5 is scheduled to go ahead, with all sides nice and refreshed. The first game of the round will see East Perth welcome Swan Districts to Leederville Oval as they attempt to find their maiden win of the 2021 season. In Round 3 they fell by 25 points, in a promising display. They aren’t far away from a win and this weekend could be the drought breaker. Expect centre half-back Nathan Blee to find plenty of the ball as he did in Round 3. Swan Districts are tracking nicely, sitting in third place on the ladder and looking to improve on their 2-1 record with a win this weekend. The team regains former Eagle Lewis Jetta who is sure to break the game open with his blistering pace.

East Fremantle will host Perth at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon in a match with implications for both sides. A win for East Fremantle keeps them in touch with the top of the ladder as they currently sit in fourth place and a loss could see them slip down the standings. Perth are barely keeping in touch with the top five, but a win here could potentially see them enter the top half of the ladder. Keep an eye on East Fremantle half-back flanker Cameron Eardley, who racked up 26 disposals and 14 marks in Round 3.

Claremont will be looking to extend their undefeated streak as they welcome West Perth to Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Claremont couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season, and they currently hold a 3-0 record, along with Subiaco. West Perth’s start to the season hasn’t quite been as successful. They sit in sixth place on the ladder with a 1-2 record, and face a serious challenge to improve this in Round 5. Can Aaron Black continue his strong form and lead his side to an upset over this powerful Claremont side?

Speaking of undefeated sides, Subiaco are as good as it gets this year. They sit on top of the ladder and will be keen on staying up there this weekend with a win over South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco were able to sneak past West Perth in Round 3 and will probably need a slight lift if they are to keep their spot on top of the table. Meanwhile South Fremantle took down Peel Thunder in Round 3 and will give themselves every chance to walk away with the upset win here. Expect South Fremantle’s Haiden Schloithe to play a big role in the result of this game, fresh off best on ground honours in Round 3.

The final game of the round sees some Sunday footy action as the Peel Thunder will face off against West Coast at David Grays Arena. West Coast have struggled to fly this year and will be keen to get some runs on the board after a 0-3 start to the 2021 season. Peel Thunder have started the season 1-2, good enough to see them sit seventh after three rounds. They will be eager to return to their Round 2 form which saw them with a triple-digit win over East Perth. Pending AFL selection, should Connor Blakely play, expect him to find plenty of the ball for Peel Thunder.

Queensland:

The fifth round of QAFL action sees plenty of exciting matchups. The first will see Maroochydore look to remain undefeated with a win over a surging Labrador side. Maroochydore are yet to lose a game in the 2021 season, but expect Labrador to push them right to the final siren. Labrador have only lost the one game so far, and an upset here would push them into the ‘contender’ category by the end of the weekend. Former Lion and Sun Pearce Hanley has worked his way into the season for Labrador and should prove a headache for Maroochydore players and coaches.

Redland-Victoria Point have started the season in strong fashion, with two wins from three games, and will be looking to snatch a fourth as they travel to Southside Toyota Oval to face off against Mt Gravatt on Saturday. Mt Gravatt have had two byes so far, but still sit at 1-1, with the loss coming against an in-form Maroochydore side. Mt Gravatt forward Jonah Licht has kicked 10 goals in his two games this season, and if he can prove dangerous around the big sticks again, it is hard to see his side losing.

The last two teams on the ladder in Noosa and Sherwood Districts will clash on Saturday afternoon at Rococo Oval, in a vital match for both sides. A perfect opportunity for both teams, whoever emerges victorious could find themselves with a spark to start their season, while the other will be left in no man’s land on 0-4 and much less likely to make finals. Sherwood Districts midfielder William Fletcher has enjoyed a consistent start to the season and could play a key role here, as he has proved himself as a goal kicking midfielder. No matter what happens, one of these sides will be singing the song for the first time in 2021.

In a battle for a second win, Palm Beach Currumbin and Wilston Grange will face off at Salk Oval in the final match of Saturday QAFL action. Not much separates these sides, with both teams sitting on a 1-2 record, this is another vital clash in the fifth round of action. A second win could see either side move into the top five, which is crucial heading into a sixth round. At the time of publication, team lineups had not been released.

Finally, a seemingly unstoppable Broadbeach side will host a struggling Surfers Paradise side at Subaru Oval on Sunday afternoon. Broadbeach are yet to lose a game and boasting the best percentage in the league, they sit on top of the table. Surfers Paradise are a completely different story, having only won one game in their first three, and in dire need of a second. The key question is can they contain Broadbeach forward Sam Jasper, who is fresh off a bag of eight goals last weekend? This matchup will prove important in determining a winner.

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 8 – Bays halt Redlegs’ charge to enter top four

AN action packed weekend of SANFL action saw reigning League premier, Glenelg jump back into the finals placings, as North Adelaide continues to peck at the heels of frontrunner, Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) after a great escape. The Eagles are also soaring atop the Reserves standings, while an upset at the hands of Central Districts saw Sturt overtaken by Norwood at the Under 18s level. All that, and more in our Round 8 recap.

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West Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

League: West Adelaide 11.9 (75) def. by North Adelaide 11.10 (76)
Reserves:
West Adelaide 3.7 (25) def. by North Adelaide 11.11 (77)
Under 18s:
North Adelaide 17.13 (115) def. West Adelaide 9.7 (61)

Seventh placed League strugglers West Adelaide very nearly pulled off the result of the round, but came up short by the narrowest of margins against their Northern adversaries under Friday night lights. The Bloods looked to have sealed the unlikely win on multiple occasions as they bridged over two goals clear of the Roosters, and they even had their chances to get back on top late in the piece. It was not to be, as North Adelaide ensured it would remain level on points with the table-topping Eagles.

Harrison Wigg was North’s top ball winner with 33 disposals, followed by the likes of Andrew Moore and skipper Alex Spina on 27 apiece. Will Combe‘s four goals were also important, with two coming in the final term. Jordon Boyle and Brett Turner both found plenty of the ball for Westies, while Connor Fairlie and Hugh Haysman provided a key spark when required.

North Adelaide’s Reserves moved a step closer to finals contention as they dispatched of the Bloods by 52 points, while West Adelaide’s Under 18s remain winless after eight outings on the back of another heavy loss. Elliott McNamara did most of the damage in that game with six goals, but Matthew Borg was arguably best afield for his two majors from 36 disposals, as the Roosters came home strong with an eight-goal to one final term.

South Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

League: South Adelaide 6.15 (51) def. by WWT Eagles 11.6 (72)
Reserves:
South Adelaide 8.2 (50) def. by WWT Eagles 14.9 (93)
Under 18s:
WWT Eagles 12.6 (78) def. by South Adelaide 11.13 (79)

South Adelaide’s Under 18s ensured the Eagles wouldn’t get away with a hat-trick of wins over their club, as rising AFL Draft prospect Brayden Cook inspired them to a dramatic come-from-behind victory. Utilised out of the goalsquare in the closing stages, Cook finished the game with five goals from 22 disposals, while Jack Flett’s last-minute behind decided the result.

Bottom-ager Arlo Draper (19 disposals, one goal) was another to turn the game for Souths through midfield, while Harry Spacie (22 disposals, seven marks) was again prolific for the winners. For WWT, the centre bounce trio of Jase Burgoyne (32 disposals, five clearances), Max Litster (30 and eight), and Caleb Poulter (28 and five) again worked well, but could not quite help their side hold on in the end.

The Eagles fared much more comfortably in the senior grades though; as the Reserves remained undefeated with a 43-point win, while the League side led at the final three breaks to get up by 21 points. James Rowe again got busy with four goals, supported by two from bigman Jake von Bertouch, while Sam Overall booted three for Souths.

With Joseph Haines kept quiet, Joel Cross (24 disposals) was again the Panthers’ leading ball winner, but Victorian WWT mid James Tsitas led all comers with 25. It was a fitting result for Eagles 200-gamer, Matthew Goldsworthy, who found the goals in his memorable milestone outing.

Sturt vs. Central District

League: Sturt 16.11 (107) def. Central District 5.12 (42)
Reserves:
Sturt 9.7 (59) def. by Central District 16.9 (105)
Under 18s:
Central District 10.10 (70) def. Sturt 7.11 (53)

Sturt remains just a game off the League top four after pumping Central District to the tune of 65 points, leaving the Bulldogs winless after eight games. Conversely, Centrals enjoyed another big win in the Reserves, picking up their seventh victory. The Dogs’ Under 18s discovered that when it rains, it pours, as they picked up a second-straight victory, knocking Sturt off top spot in the junior ranks.

The League result was won by way of the Double Blues’ much superior firepower after quarter time, and Jake Sutcliffe was the man to reap the most reward with a game-high six goals. He led a pack of five Sturt multiple goalkickers, with no Bulldogs player able to replicate the feat. James Battersby and Abe Davis were mega through midfield with 33 touches each, while James Boyd and Travis Schiller added a major to their own ball winning exploits for Centrals.

Speaking of ball winning, Tom Powell (39 disposals) continues to lead the way in that department at Under 18s level, but could do little to stop his side slipping to second place with a loss this weekend. Austin McDonald (28 disposals, nine clearances) and NT recruit Brodie Lake (19 disposals, one goal) stood up to the strong Sturt midfield, while Matthew Borlace provided plenty of drive from defence, and Leek Alleer worked well both ways off the wing.

Norwood vs. Glenelg

League: Norwood 5.11 (41) def. by Glenelg 10.14 (74)
Reserves:
Norwood 7.5 (47) def. by Glenelg 12.7 (79)
Under 18s:
Glenelg 8.6 (54) def. by Norwood 13.10 (88)

Glenelg stamped its authority as the reigning League premier, cutting short the glory of Norwood’s winning run to rise back into the top four. The Bays got away early and never looked back, coming out 33-point victors on Saturday night. Luke Partington was back to his best with 31 disposals for the winners, bettered only by teammate Matthew Snook (34 disposals), and followed closely by fellow former-AFL player, Billy Stretch (27).

Tommy Pinyon again found the goals for Norwood with two majors, while Brad McKenzie breached the 30-disposal mark, and Mitch Grigg found it 28 times. Elsewhere, the Tigers went two games clear among the Reserves top four, but again had its depth fall short at Under 18s level. Norwood took full toll, claiming a 34-point win, as well as top spot with a formidable 7-1 record.

Academy guns Henry Nelligan and Cooper Murley combined for 63 disposals and 18 clearances on the inside of midfield, while Michael Cavallaro racked up 32 touches on the outside, and Alexander Scali booted three goals. Riley Davis matched that feat for Glenelg, with William Watts (30 disposals), Kye Dean (26), and Jayden Davis (22) all pitching in to continue their solid runs of form.

SANFL Round 8 Preview: Ladder implications as the midway point rolls in

SOUTH Australian National Football League (SANFL) Round 8 will see a heap of tense contests across all three major divisions, with a couple of significant clashes heading up the round in terms of ladder positioning. In the League competition, the clash between Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) Eagles and South Adelaide will have huge bearings on where the likes of Glenelg and Norwood lie at the end of the round given Glenelg have a chance to leapfrog Norwood into the top four – and potentially nab third – if South drops too the ladder leaders.

West Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

League:

The Roosters and Bloods will kick off round eight under Friday night lights at Hisense Stadium. Jacob Surjan‘s North Adelaide have pieced together a strong start to the season and appear to have cemented their spot in the top four for the time being. The red and whites will be looking to continue their winning ways, despite boasting a lengthy injury list. Meanwhile, West Adelaide are in a rebuilding phase, but will still be eyeing off a couple of scalps in the latter stages of the season.

It certainly was not the prettiest of victories, but North Adelaide got the job done on home soil against the Double Blues on Saturday. The Roosters have scored the least amount of points of the top five sides, but their rugged midfield has stood up well so far in season 2020 and applied an abundance of pressure. Vice captain Andrew Moore has been Mr. Consistent, averaging 25 disposals, 5.6 tackles, 6.9 clearances and nearly a goal per game. His fellow deputy Tom Schwarz has also accumulated plenty of the ball, averaging 24 touches 4.7 tackles and 5.1 clearances, while hard-at-it on-baller Campbell Combe remains the league’s number one tackler and currently sits a whopping 14 ahead of second place. West Adelaide trailed the ladder-leading Eagles for the entire match on Saturday afternoon but there were still some bright spots. The Bloods recored more disposals (plus-19) and clearances (plus-8) than their opponents and generally used the ball well (83 per cent kicking efficiency), but were unable to generate enough chances and perhaps overused the ball at-times, finishing -16 for inside-50s. The Roosters will be well aware of Kaine Stevens contested ball winning capabilities and Jordon Boyle‘s ability to both accumulate the footy at will and use it effectively (averaging 24 disposals at 83 per cent efficiency). Stevens and Boyle sit inside the top ten for disposals and, with the support of Brett Turner, must step up against a hard-nosed Roosters midfield.

Westies captain Tom Keough is the Bloods main man in attack, having booted a team-high 11 goals this season. Alongside the veteran, Lyndon Hupfeld adds some much-needed x-factor and recruit Josh Koster will continue to improve after returning from injury last weekend. The Bloods forwards must also pay attention to Rooster Harrison Wigg, who has already proven to be one of the best off-season acquisitions. His precise ball use off half-back has been integral in turning defence into attack for North and should be nullified if West are to claim victory. At the other end of the field, Robbie Young proved he is a valuable component of the Roosters side after booting three goals against Sturt. Fellow small forward Kym LeBois has booted 13 goals this season and is as lively as they come. Their speed and energy in attack is infectious and has sparked the side on several occasions this year.

The Roosters and Bloods faced off in round one earlier this year, with North Adelaide pulling away in the second half after a tight start to the game. Lewis Hender proved the match winner, booting seven straight goals. The Bloods will no doubt be putting plenty of time into him, but the excitement machine will fancy another bag under Friday night lights. The Roosters injury list continues to be of concern, with Ben Jarman and captain Alex Spina the latest to enter the casualty ward. Both will face a test to prove their fitness, as will Bloods ruckman Andre Parrella and key defender Josh Ryan. West midfielder Dallas Willsmore is expected to miss two-to-three weeks with a hamstring injury.

Reserves:

The Bloods and Roosters reserves will be eager to bounce back from hefty losses when they meet on Friday evening. Both sides have struggled this season but a win could provide a much-needed confidence boost.

Under-18s:

It’s been a similar story at under-18s level, with both sides seemingly anchored at the foot of the ladder. However there will still be plenty of talent running around at Prospect Oval. West’s Bailey Chamberlain continues to accumulate a heap of the ball and teammate Luke Young is amongst the competitions best contested markers. For the Roosters, Matthew Borg and Kallis Freer have been the standouts, along with exciting half-backman Blayne O’Loughlin. The athletic Lam Simon continues to show some encouraging signs and AFL Academy Hub duo Jamison Murphy and Tariek Newchurch have also performed well.

 

South Adelaide vs. Woodville-West Torrens

League:

The Panthers and Eagles will meet at Flinders University Stadium in a clash between two likely finalists. Woodville-West Torrens have won seven on the trot, but South Adelaide remain the only side to knock them off in season 2020, after recording a narrow victory at Adelaide Oval back in round one.

The Panthers are one of three sides currently sitting at four wins and three losses, following back-to-back defeats at the hands of North Adelaide and Norwood. South have been up to the challenge every week this season, with their three losses coming at a combined margin of just 17 points. Coach Jarrad Wright must be frustrated with their tight losses, but he will be pleased with the efforts of Joseph Haines. An intercept machine, he has provided plenty of run and carry from defence and used the ball with precision. However, terrific defender Tom Highmore sustained an ankle injury last round and is set to miss up to five weeks. Given the Eagles’ overhead prowess, his injury could not have come at a worse time. Eagle-brothers Jack and Nick Hayes have been outstanding in season 2020, hauling in 14 and 12 contested marks respectively. Jake von Bertouch has also played a pivotal role in the air, taking 13 contested grabs. The trio have booted a combined 32 goals this season. On the rare occasion they don’t stick their marks, small forwards James Rowe and Tristian Carcuro have been ready and waiting to pounce on the crumbs. After both kicking four majors in the win over West, Rowe sits second in the league for goals (22) and Carcuro in eighth with 12.

It’s been relatively smooth sailing for the Eagles over the past few weeks, recording comfortable victories against cellar dwellers Central Districts and West Adelaide in consecutive rounds. And whilst they boast the league’s best forward-line, their defence has also stood tall and conceded the least amount of total points against. Teenager Lachlan Jones has been very impressive down back, as has Tasmanian recruit Rhyan Mansell. Veteran Patrick Giuffreda is as reliable as they come and key defender Pierce Seymour has also performed well. Perhaps most impressive is that the side has been without skipper and key defensive general Luke Thompson, who has not played since round four due to a thigh complaint. The Panthers missed a couple of key chances in-front of goal against the Redlegs at the Parade, but their small and medium forwards have been good so far this season. Liam Fitt is a difficult match up for any opposition defence and Eamon Wilkinson and Beau McCreery are both clever around goal. Of course, the midfield battle will also be a tantalising one, with the likes of dual-Magarey Medalist Joel Cross, former-Port Adelaide veteran Matthew Broadbent and Hayden Sampson going head-to-head with Angus PooleJimmy Toumpas and Joey Sinor. South Adelaide’s young talent has been a real positive this season, with 17-year-old Jason Horne joining Zac Dumesny and McCreery in making their league debuts in 2020.

Although South will sorely miss Highmore, Woodville-West Torrens could regain as many as four senior players, with Matthew Goldsworthy, Jesse Lonergan, the aforementioned Thompson and Jordan Foote all set to face fitness tests. The Eagles mounted a substantial comeback and even grabbed the lead late in the game against the Panther in round one. But South were able to hold their nerve and open the new season with a victory. With both sides boasting plenty of talent, this clash is set to be a beauty.

Reserves:

The Eagles Reserves remain the only undefeated side across all competitions after seven rounds of action, following a comprehensive 88-point demolition of the Bloods. Meanwhile, although inconsistent throughout the year, the Panthers knocked off the Redlegs by 80 points last weekend. With both clubs coming off resounding triumphs, this clash, like the league match to follow, promises to be a close encounter.

Under-18s:

At under-18s level, South Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens find themselves jostling for a spot in the top four. These two clubs have met in the past two Under-18 Grand Finals and boast plenty of talent. Panthers half-forward Brayden Cook caught the attention of AFL recruiters after his four goal effort against the Redlegs. Speedster Phoenix Spicer has also booted nine goals this season and his long runs on the wing have been breathtaking at times. For the Eagles, midfielders Jase Burgoyne and Caleb Poulter have been prolific and Henry Smith has shown some good signs up forward.

 

Sturt vs. Central Districts

League:

The Bulldogs will make the trip across cross-town to Peter Motley Oval to face the Double Blues in the traditional Saturday afternoon time slot. There is no denying it has been a tricky season for the ‘Dogs. But to their credit, they haven’t dropped their bundle and have fought until the final siren each week. It has also been tough going for Sturt, who have lost four in a row after being defeated by the Roosters at Prospect last round.

The Bulldogs, much like the Bloods, are in a rebuilding phase and don’t quite boast the talent level of the top SANFL clubs, but they managed to hold their own in the midfield against the reigning premiers. They were narrowly edged in the hit-outs, clearances and inside-50s, but were more efficient in front of goal than the Tigers. Travis Schiller collected 39 touches and James Boyd gathered 32 and a goal, with both generating plenty of forward-50 entries and winning their fair share of clearances. Troy Menzel and Jarrod Schiller have also been solid contributors this year, with the former collecting a career-high 31 disposals to go with 13 marks. In the Double Blues engine room, skipper James Battersby and Sam Colquhoun have been terrific, accumulating an abundance of the ball, alongside dual Magarey Medallist Zane Kirkwood.

Perhaps Sturt’s biggest concern this season has been their inefficient forward line. Key forward Jake Sutcliffe has booted eight goals in six matches and leading goal kicker Josh Hone has kicked a major in all but one match. However, lacking a genuine focal point, ruckman Dan Fahey-Sparks has spent considerable time up forward in recent weeks, in the hope his size and marking ability can indeed provide a spark. He booted two goals in the loss to the Roosters and another couple in round six. Central Districts’ Justin Hoskin is capable of booting a bag up forward, with his six goals in round four a good example. However he has been held goalless in four of his six games, including by Sturt in round one. Teenager Corey Durdin has been good for a goal per game and, although injury prone, John Butcher has given the ‘Dogs a genuine target in his four matches this season.

The Bulldogs could regain Trent Goodrem and Kyle Jenner from their respective injuries, with both listed as available for selection. However Nick Lange is questionable after he sustained an ankle injury last round. For the Double Blues, Ash Johnson remains a week away from returning from his own ankle complaint. The Double Blues and Bulldogs faced off at Adelaide Oval in round one, with Sturt winning by 15-points in a close affair. Expect their round eight meeting to be a similarly tight and low-scoring contest.

Reserves:

Despite their senior sides siting in the bottom half of the ladder, Sturt and Centrals reserves teams have enjoyed a strong start to the campaign. The Double Blues lost to the ‘Dogs in round one and to the Eagles a week later, but have played some excellent football ever since, recording five straight victories. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs sole defeat was a one-point loss to the Eagles in round six. 

Under-18s:

Sturt appear destined to feature prominently at the pointy end of the SANFL Under-18 season. Tom Emmett has been terrific up forward and midfield trio Will SpainMani Liddy and Tom Powell have received plenty of attention for their onball dominance. The Bulldogs earned their first points of the season after defeating the Tigers last weekend. Ruckman and tall forward Saxon Evans turned some heads with a terrific performance, headlined by four goals and 32 hitouts.

 

Norwood vs. Glenelg

League:

Norwood will be seeking revenge after the Tigers beat them by three points in the opening round. With the ‘Legs and Bays possessing two of the most talented lists in the league, this Saturday night clash should be closely fought.

Norwood found themselves in a spot of bother early on in the year, recording three losses to start the season. However they have dug themselves out of the hole beautifully and have appeared to be back to their best in recent weeks. The Redlegs have relied heavily upon their star-studded midfield hitting the scoreboard, but coach Jarrod Cotton will have been impressed by the efforts of tall forward Tommy Pinyon and speedster Anthony Wilson, who both booted two goals in the win over South Adelaide. Pinyon has been particularly impressive across the past month of action, having booted 12 goals in four games. However Glenelg boasts the most dominant key forward in the competition in Liam McBean. An aerial master, McBean was inaccurate in front of goal against the Bulldogs, booting four goals and four behinds, but is well-placed to defend his Ken Farmer medal as the league’s leading goal kicker. His partner in crime Luke Reynolds is also a star in his own right, but was held goalless on Saturday for the first time since round 17 of 2018, though small forward Darcy Bailey bobbed up to kick three.

Redlegs ball-magnet Matthew Nunn missed three matches (rounds three through five) earlier this season and his value to the Norwood midfield cannot be understated. A hard-nosed onballer, Nunn is a strong tackler and clearance specialist who compliments the likes of Richard Douglas, Matthew Panos and Mitch Grigg. He could go head-to-head with perhaps the best in-and-under midfielder in the competition in Glenelg’s Matthew Snook. A genuine warrior in the Tigers midfield, Snook and teammates Luke Partington and Bradley Agnew have accumulated plenty of the ball throughout the season to-date. The Norwood midfield has received plenty of credit for its brilliance, but the Tigers array of working class on-ballers will be up for a fight. They will, however, need ruckman Jack Hannath to nullify the impact of Norwood’s Sam Baulderstone both at the contest and around the ground. The big man has been in tremendous form and is up there with the leagues best players when on song.

The Tigers have proven time and time again that they are willing to play their youth, with potential Crows father-son Luke Edwards the latest to make his league debut. Luke Parks has been outstanding down back since breaking into the senior side against the Redlegs in round one. He took three contested grabs on debut and currently sits equal-third with von Bertouch for total contested marks – an impressive feat for such a young player. Unfortunately, Edwards suffered some concussion and could miss the clash with Norwood. The Redlegs themselves are likely to be without skilful utility Lewis Johnston (quad) and former-Western Bulldog Declan Hamilton (ankle).

Reserves:

At Reserves level, the Tigers find themselves in fourth spot in the ladder, ahead of Norwood in seventh. Glenelg started the season well but have struggled in the past few weeks, recording three losses in a row. A Redlegs win could spark them into life and trigger a finals push in the second half of the season.

Under-18s:

Norwood’s under-18s have been very impressive so far in 2020, with their terrific midfield leading the way. Bottom-ager Cooper Murley continues to show why he is a likely early pick in next years draft, while fellow midfielders Michael Cavallaro and Jack Saunders, key forward Finn Heard and intercept-defender Daniel Fairbrother have also impressed. The Bays have been without a number of their stars due to school football commitments, but Harry McInnes‘ five goals ignited his side.

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 7 – Race for the last finals spot hots up

ROUND 7 of the SANFL saw the League finals race hot up, as Norwood triumphed over South Adelaide to create a mid-table bottleneck. Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) continues to lead the way in the top grade and remain undefeated at Reserves level, while Sturt and Norwood have broken clear atop of the Under U18s standings. Read all about that, and more in our wrap of the action.

>> SCROLL for full results 

WWT Eagles vs. West Adelaide

League: WWT Eagles 11.2 (78) def. West Adelaide 4.6 (30)
Reserves: WWT Eagles 16.15 (111) def. West Adelaide 3.5 (23)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 6.8 (44) def. by WWT Eagles 8.17 (65)

The Eagles picked up a hat-trick of wins over West Adelaide on the weekend, headlined by senior performances which kept them top of the tree. Their 48-point League drubbing was earned in a seven-goal to one second half, while the Reserves hardly looked challenged en route to a 88-point triumph. At an undefeated 7-0, the Eagles remain a game clear atop the two’s ladder and are nothing short of a finals lock. Westies’ haul of just two wins across the three grades stands, as they sit bottom in the Reserves and Under 18s competitions.

James Rowe and Tristan Carcuro did the damage in the Eagles’ League victory with four goals each, while Jack Hayes was again dynamic with 24 disposals and eight marks. Remarkably, Nick Hayes booted six behinds from his 16 disposals and 12 marks. Christopher Hall (24 disposals), Jimmy Toumpas (23), and Joseph Sinor (21, one goal) found plenty of the ball.

Speaking of, Kaine Stevens racked up a game-high 30 touches for the Bloods, followed closely by Aaron Anderson. Riley Thilthorpe took on the ruck duties, winning 18 hitouts to go with 14 disposals and six marks, while Brett Turner (22 disposals, one goal) and Patrick Fairlie (22 disposals, five clearances) benefitted from his ruckwork.

Jase Burgoyne continues to thrive at Under 18s level for the Eagles, accumulating a game-high 37 touches in his side’s win. He starred as part of the midfield rotation alongside Caleb Poulter (27 disposals, eight marks), Max Litster (26 disposals, seven clearances), and Harrison Dawkins (23 disposals, one goal).

It was a familiar story for the Bloods as Bailey Chamberlain boasted the highest numbers (34 disposals, six clearances), while the defensive trio of Eduard van den Berg, Zac Venning, and Kane Sherlock combined for 22 rebound 50s. Luke Young also chimed in with three goals up forward.

Central District vs. Glenelg

League: Central District 11.5 (71) def. by Glenelg 15.14 (104)
Reserves: Central District 18.5 (113) def. Glenelg 11.10 (76)
Under 18s: Glenelg 13.9 (87) drew w/ Central District 13.9 (87)

Central Districts’ Under 18s became the second Bulldogs outfit to play in a draw this season, after proving unable to separate from the Bays after four hard-fought quarters. Centrals’ Reserves had no trouble bouncing back from last week’s defeat to go 6-1 in second place, but the Tigers were again victorious at League level as they continue to push for a top four spot.

Luke Edwards made his League debut in the Bays’ fourth win, running out alongside older brother, Jackson as both notched just over double digits for disposals. In another game which opened up after half time, Liam McBean managed to add four goals to his formidable season tally, while Luke Partington claimed two from his team-high 31 disposals. Matthew Snook also found the big sticks with one of his 29 touches.

Travis Schiller was busy all day for the Bulldogs, accumulating 39 disposals, nine clearances, and seven inside 50s, while James Boyd and Troy Menzel also cracked the 30-disposal mark. Victorian Jack Toner continued his solid start to SANFL League life with 20 touches, while Justin Hoskin and Murray Stephenson both bagged a couple of goals each.

Controversy clouded what was a ripping game of Under 18s football, which ended in a draw between two well-matched sides. Centrals looked to have done just enough as Kobe Wilson slotted home a goal in the final minute to reclaim the lead, only for a Harry McInnes behind after the siren (and nearly 27 minutes played) to level up the scores. The Bulldogs led by as much as four goals in the third term, before Glenelg went a kick away from pulling off the miracle comeback.

McInnes played a key role with 5.4 from his 12 disposals, while Riley Davis booted two from a team-high 20 touches. Lewis Cowham slotted back into the Centrals side to notch a game-high 24 disposals alongside Austin McDonald, while Saxon Evans snagged four majors from 18 disposals and seven marks, with 32 hitouts adding to his big performance.

North Adelaide vs. Sturt

League: North Adelaide 8.14 (62) def. Sturt 6.7 (43)
Reserves: North Adelaide 5.4 (34) def. by Sturt 18.10 (118)
Under 18s: North Adelaide 10.9 (69) def. by Sturt 12.6 (78)

North Adelaide remains level on points with League table toppers, WWT on the back of a 19-point win over Sturt. On trend with the previous two games, the Roosters broke the contest open after half time with seven goals to Sturt’s two, after the sides managed just a goal each in the opening half. The Double Blues gained redemption with wins in the other two grades though, remaining a finals threat in the Reserves, and climbing to the top of the Under 18s ladder.

Harrison Wigg (31 disposals) led a trio of key Roosters ball winners, with Cameron Craig and Andrew Moore both finding 29 touches of their own. Robert Young (three goals) and Kym Lebois (two) were North’s lone multiple goalkickers, while Harry Morrison was one of two Sturt players to bag a couple of majors. James Battersby maintained his consistent run for Sturt with 32 disposals, while Abe Davis racked up 31 and Sam Colquhoun, 28. Young guns Casey Voss and Jed McEntee also continue to impress.

Will Spain provided good fold through midfield for the likes of Tom Powell and Mani Liddy as Sturt’s Under 18s got back on top at the right time to secure a sixth win for the year. All three players picked up over 20 disposals, while Tom Emmett kicked three goals.

Kallis Freer made an emphatic return for North with a team-high 28 disposals, while Matthew Borg and Kyle Brazell both managed 26 touches and a goal each. Jamison Murphy and Tariek Newchurch were others to return and find the goals, with diminutive defender Blayne O’Loughlin putting in another terrific shift in the back half with 25 disposals and eight rebound 50s.

Norwood vs. South Adelaide

League: Norwood 10.10 (70) def. South Adelaide 9.12 (66)
Reserves: Norwood 3.8 (26) def. by South Adelaide 15.16 (106)
Under 18s: South Adelaide 12.4 (76) def. by Norwood 15.10 (100)

Norwood’s League side sent a message to its fellow finals contenders, downing South Adelaide by four points in a thrilling contest. The Redlegs stormed back ahead at the end of the third term and managed to hold on throughout the fourth to ensure both sides came out of the clash with 4-3 records. The Panthers Reserves got one back with an 80-point smashing on the road, but their Under 18s fell by 24 points as they both look to get a proper grip on a finals spot.

17-year-old Jason Horne made his League debut for South and looked to have kept up with the pace of the game, with his toughness on show amid a nine-disposal effort. Joseph Haines (25 disposals, eight rebound 50s) and Matthew Broadbent (22 disposals, one goal) were again influential for Souths, while Liam Fitt contributed three goals. Sam Baulderstone was mega for Norwood, amassing 23 disposals, 10 clearances, four marks, 42 hitouts, and a goal in his side’s win. Matthew Nunn and Richard Douglas again ticked over 25 disposals, with Matthew Panos and Mitch Grigg also influential.

Brayden Cook has been garnering attention at Under 18s level, and again caught the eye with four goals from 16 touches for the Panthers. Jack Flett and Harry Spacie (both 20 disposals) were again kept busy in the Souths defence, as Norwood pulled away late for the win. Henry Nelligan stood out in his first game at the level for 2020, booting two goals from 24 disposals and laying 10 tackles. Jack Saunders also managed 24 touches, while Cooper Murley continues to shine having notched a game-high 31 disposals to go with seven marks, six inside 50s, and a goal.

SANFL Round 7 Preview: Huge round set to separate top from bottom

ROUND 7 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) is set to be an interesting one, with some tight matchups and plenty of critical injury outs this round. North Adelaide will hope to continue its winning ways against an improved Norwood outfit at League level, with the Panthers in danger of losing their top three position if the Redlegs can run away with a fourth win on the trot, while ladder leaders Woodville-West Torrens Under-18s will hope for another straight win.

Woodville-West Torrens vs. West Adelaide

League: The Eagles and Bloods will meet at Maughan Oval Avenue on Saturday afternoon in a battle for western suburbs bragging rights. However the two sides find themselves in drastically different situations following six rounds of action. The Eagles continue to set the pace at the top of the SANFL Statewide Super League Ladder after knocking off the Bulldogs on home soil. Meanwhile, West Adelaide suffered a heavy loss at the hands of a rapidly-improving Redlegs side.

The Bloods were competitive early against the Redlegs, booting two of the first three goals. But it was all one-way traffic from then on, with Norwood running out victors by 67 points. West Adelaide were comprehensively beaten in almost all major statistics but most alarming was their inability to get their hands on the footy in the midfield. With Andre Parrella sidelined, 18-year-old Riley Thilthorpe was given the daunting task of competing against Norwood’s Sam Baulderstone. He fought hard and showed some promising signs but the Bloods midfield lost the clearances 41-15 and inside 50s 58-41. No team could expect to be competitive when being dominated in such a lopsided fashion. However it was a different story for the Eagles, whose workmanlike midfield proved far too strong for an inexperienced Bulldogs lineup. They won the clearances 44-24 and inside 50s 48-41 and controlled the match from the get-go. The Bloods used the ball well when they managed to get their hands on it, kicking at 83 per cent efficiency, but struggled without the presence of three of their most important players in lead ruckman Parrella (calf), promising backman Elliott Dunkin (wrist) and key defender Josh Ryan (shoulder). Even though the Eagles controlled much of the play, they laid more tackles than the Bulldogs – a testament to the hard-working, in-and-under nature of their settled side.

Perhaps most encouraging for Woodville-West Torrens coach Jade Sheedy is that his side ground out the win without much influence from damaging small forward James Rowe, who was restricted to just one third quarter goal from six disposals. Defender turned forward Jake Von Bertouch stood up and added three more goals to his impressive season tally, while Jack Hayes controlled the airways in a best on ground performance which included 28 disposals, two goals, 14 marks (four of which were contested) and seven inside50s. Hayes is the leading contested marker in the competition and Von Bertouch sits in a close second. Although the Eagles boast a threatening forward line, the Bloods possess a handy one-two punch of their own with skipper Tom Keough combining in attack with Thilthorpe. The usual suspects fought hard for the Bloods despite the unpleasant result, with Kaine Stevens and Jordon Boyle typically prolific. The midfield duo have been excellent for West Adelaide and will again be relied upon to carry much of the on-ball unit against the likes Jordan Foote, Angus Poole, Joseph Sinor and Jimmy Toumpas. The Eagles ruck combination of Jack Hayes and Jarrad Redden has been extremely effective so far this season, with both players providing good use to the midfielders at their feet while also winning several clearances themselves. While on the topic of clearances, this match features a number of strong stoppage specialists, including Blood Brett Turner and Eagle ‘Joey’ Sinor, who thrived off Redden’s tap-work to accumulate 13 clearances against the ‘Dogs.

Unfortunately for West Adelaide coach Gavin Colville, Parrella (1-2 weeks), Dunkin (3-4 weeks), Ryan (3-4 weeks) and Josh Schiller (4-6 weeks) will all miss several weeks through injury. The Eagles reported no new injuries from last weekend. One of the Bloods two wins in 2019 came against the Eagles in round four. They were victorious by 37 points that day but went down by 60 points when the two clubs faced off in Round 10. Needless to say, the Eagles will come into this clash brimming with confidence, having yet to drop points since their round one loss to the Panthers. Despite starting as underdogs, the Bloods will be hoping to improve on their disappointing round six showing.

Reserves: The form of the Bloods and Eagles reserves sides has been similar to that of their league counterparts in 2020. The Eagles reserves sit at the top of the ladder and remain the only undefeated side across all three tiers of SANFL football after six weeks of action, following a heart-stopping one-point win over the Bulldogs last weekend. West Adelaide sit in seventh place after recording their fifth consecutive loss of the campaign against Norwood.

Under-18s: The Eagles and Bloods under-18s sides both currently sit outside of the top four but, however this clash will still feature a number of talented juniors. West Adelaide ball-magnet Bailey Chamberlain was again terrific in the Bloods engine room despite the loss to Norwood on Saturday evening, while fellow AFL Academy Hub members Caleb Poulter and Henry Smith were amongst the Eagles best in their win over Central Districts.

 

Central Districts vs. Glenelg

League: Glenelg will travel north to face the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. The reigning premiers returned to their winning ways with an 18-point victory over Sturt at Brighton Road on Saturday, after loosing their previous three matches. In contrast, Central Districts’ winless woes continued with a 30-point loss to the ladder leading Eagles.

The Bulldogs failed to score in the first quarter at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. And despite mounting a four goal to one second term comeback, the damage had already been done. Whereas the Tigers were able to keep the Double Blues goalless in the opening quarter and capitalise upon a strong defensive start by taking a 21-point lead into the first break. The Bulldogs were comprehensively beaten by the Eagles in almost all the major statistical areas. Although they were able to generate some run across half-back at times, Centrals were unable to get their hands on the ball through the middle and failed to apply any significant scoreboard pressure. Interestingly, the Tigers midfield lost the hit-outs, clearances and inside-50s but won the possession battle and, unlike the Double Blues, made the most of their shots on goal, which proved to be the defining factor in the Sunday afternoon clash. To their credit, the Bulldogs have fought hard throughout the year but appear to lack the star quality possessed by their rivals, particularly through the middle of the ground. Glenelg, in comparison, boast class on nearly every line, headlined by league leading goal-kicker Liam McBean and tough in-and-under onballers Matthew Snook and Bradley Agnew.

James Boyd leads all comers in terms of disposals and has played somewhat of a lone hand in the engine room throughout the year. Despite Boyd’s ability to accumulate disposals at will, he needs more support from Travis and Jarrod Schiller if the Bulldogs are to match it with the Tigers in the contested ball. The aforementioned duo of Snook and Agnew have been ultra consistent throughout the opening six rounds, winning an abundance of clearances and applying plenty of tackling pressure. Both sit inside the top ten in the league for these categories. Up forward, the potent combination of McBean and Luke Reynolds have combined for 33 goals between them in just six matches. The Dogs backline struggled to nullify Eagles talls Jack Hayes and Jake Von Bertouch and will again face an uphill battle to restrict the aerial dominance of the Tigers duo. It has been a tough year so far, but despite their struggles, coach Jeff Andrews will urge his chargers to focus open the positives. Troy Menzel has shown flashes of his obvious talent and booted two goals last round. Small forward Lachlan Grubb recently joined fellow teenagers Corey Durdin and Jordan O’Brien in the senior side and all three have looked comfortable at the level. The coaching staff have also shown plenty of faith in young ruckman Brody Thompson, who managed 21 hit-outs against veteran Jarrad Redden, while the return of Justin Hoskin has provided the inexperienced Dogs with some much needed leadership. Rhett Montgomerie is already amongst the leagues best contested markers in just his

Glenelg reported no new injuries from their league clash, however the Bulldogs will be hopeful of regaining former skipper Trent Goodrem and key position duo John Butcher and Ryan Falkenberg, all of whom have been listed as a test. The Bays defeated the Bulldogs twice on their way to the flag last season and will be expected to take the two points in this clash. However a youthful Central Districts side will be hoping a first win of 2020 is just around the corner.

Reserves: The Bulldogs league side suffered their first loss of the season last weekend but remain well on track to qualifying for a finals berth. Although the Tigers have suffered back-to-back losses, this clash could have several repercussions come finals time.

Under-18s: The Tigers under-18s have struggled after loosing several of their best players due to the return of the school football competition. However the work of midfielder Hagan Wright hasn’t gone unnoticed. Central Districts have also been affected, with Prince Alfred College midfielder Lewis Cowham missing from the side for the past two weeks. Fellow on-baller Shay Linke has stepped up his absence, alongside Austin McDonald. The athletic Leek Alleer is another one to watch in the red, white and blue.

 

North Adelaide vs. Sturt

League: North Adelaide will look to consolidate their position in the top four when they host Sturt at their Prospect Oval home. After three consecutive defeats, the Double Blues sit sixth on the ladder and must start stringing some wins together if they are to push for a finals spot.

The Roosters midfield was significantly bolstered during a busy off-season with the signings of Billy HartungAndrew Moore and Cam Hewett. Although Hartung and Hewett have spent some time on the sidelines, when up and running they are amongst the best on-ballers in the competition. The Roosters recorded less disposals and marks than the Panthers, but it was the engine room which really helped the red and white get on top. They finished plus-28 in tackles, plus-5 in the hit-outs, narrowly won the clearance battle and concluded the game up plus-12 for inside-50s. Led by skipper James Battersby, Sturt’s on-ball quality is well-known by SANFL watchers, particularly given the clubs success in recent years. Although perhaps down on their output of seasons gone by, the Double Blues midfield remains capable of matching it with the best. Despite losing the key disposal statistics, they won the hit-outs, clearances and inside-50s against Glenelg but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard, booting eight goals and 16 behinds at ACH Group Stadium. In fairness, seven of these behinds were rushed. The result, an 18-point loss, could well have gone Sturt’s way if they converted their multitude of opportunities in front of goal.

Has anyone taken bigger strides in season 2020 than Roosters hard-nut Campbell Combe? The inside midfielder laid another 16 tackles in round six, nine more than co-captains Moore and Tom Schwarz, who laid seven apiece. Combe averaged 20 disposals, five clearances and 5.7 tackles in 18 games last season, but is travelling at 22 touches, almost seven clearances and a league-leading 11.3 tackles in his six games so far in 2020. After cementing his spot last year, Combe has now become one of the league’s best in-and-under midfielders and complements the Roosters outside types such as Robbie Young and Jarrad Allmond. The Double Blues recruited Abe Davis in the hope he could play a similar role as a big-bodied midfielder and he took some positive steps last round, racking up 26 touches and six clearances. The aforementioned Battersby and prolific Sam Colquhoun are both terrific stoppage players and will make for an interesting on-ball battle. Roosters half-back Harrison Wigg has been providing excellent drive from defence with his damaging left-foot, but Sturt’s Sam Wundke still sits at the top of the league when it comes to rebound-50s. It will be a battle between youth and experience when Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks meets Rooster James Craig in the ruck. Although Craig may out-duel him in the contest, expect Fahey-Sparks to work hard around the ground. He is averaging five more disposals than Craig and booted two goals in the loss to the Tigers. In attack, Lewis Hender has been terrific for North, booting 15 goals. Small forward Kym LeBois has contributed eleven of his own and the tall duo of Mitch Harvey and Keenan Ramsey have booted a combined 13. Sturt has kicked the least amount of points of any side in 2020, and will be expected to rely upon their midfielders to push forward and impact the scoreboard.

The Double Blues will be without Tom Lewis and Ash Johnson who sustained ankle injuries in the reserves, while Rory Illman will also spend some time in the recovery room, nursing a hamstring complaint. North still boasts a lengthy injury list but will be hoping Elliott Chalmers can recover from his hip concern. Sturt took care of the Roosters in both encounters last season but both clubs will field significantly different sides this time around.

Reserves: Sturt are flying at reserves level and have won four on the trot after knocking off the Bays away from home last weekend. The Roosters kept themselves in the hunt with an important win over the Panthers but still sit two wins and percentage behind fourth place.

Under-18s: Sturt’s under-18s were outstanding against the Tigers on Sunday evening and will enter the clash with North Adelaide as favourites. Tom Powell has been the league’s best performed player to-date and forms one-third of Sturt’s terrific midfield trio, along with Mani Liddy and Will Spain. North were beaten by the Panthers at Noarlunga in round six, but keep an eye on Shaun Bennier after he booted four goals.

 

Norwood vs. South Adelaide

League: The Panthers will head east to take on Norwood at the Parade in the match of the round. South Adelaide have made a consistent start to the season and remain on track in their quest to win the club its first flag since 1964. Things weren’t so convincing early on for the Redlegs, who suffered two close losses in the opening fortnight and were soundly beaten by the Eagles at Woodville. However since then, Norwood have charged into the top four and look more like the well-balanced outfit we’ve come to expect.

The Redlegs made light work of the Bloods at Hisense Arena and it all started in the middle. The ‘Legs boast arguably the best midfield unit in the competition so it was no surprise to see them dominate the hitouts, clearances and inside-50s. Their ability to win the contested ball allowed them to control much of the game and finish with a remarkable 107 more disposals than their opponents. Jarrad Cotton‘s men were also clean both in general play and in front of goal, finishing with 83 per cent kicking efficiency and 66 per cent scoring efficiency, and took 163 marks to West’s 115. The Panthers, on the other hand, took a lead into quarter time and outscored the Roosters in a tense final term, but were ultimately downed in a hard-fought encounter at Prospect Oval. South won the disposals battle and finished plus-17 for marks, but the Roosters midfield proved too good in the end. The midfield battle will once again play a major role in deciding Sunday afternoon’s clash.

The defensive duo of Joseph Haines and Tom Highmore have been the glue of the South Adelaide side in 2020. Both marking machines, they also accumulate plenty of the football whilst providing rebound from the defensive 50. The 27-year-old Haines is averaging 8.5 marks and 22 disposals at 94 per cent kicking efficiency, whilst Canberra product Highmore is averaging 9.3 marks to go with 22 touches at 81 per cent. Their ability to win the ball in the air but then distribute it cleanly has been instrumental to South’s early success. However Norwood key forward Tommy Pinyon will enter the clash in good form, having clunked a couple of contested grabs and nailed three goals last weekend. Joel Cross, Matthew Broadbent and Ben Heaslip have been excellent in the Panthers engine room, while 20-year-old Hayden Sampson and draft hopeful Zac Dumesny have both made successful contributions in their respective roles at league level. However the Redlegs onball unit is as formidable as they come. The likes of Matt PanosRichard Douglas and Mitch Grigg are all dominant ball-winners but, more importantly, hit the scoreboard on a consistent basis. The trio combined for no less than nine goals against the Bloods and simply must be denied opportunities in front of goal. They are all expected to feature prominently come Magarey Medal night too. The clean-kicking Lewis Johnston is a weapon wherever deployed and Matthew Nunn slotted back into the side seamlessly, accumulating 33 disposals and six clearances. Add former-Kangaroo and Lion Ryan Bastinac into the mix and you have yourself a seriously threatening midfield which has just started to click in recent weeks. Of course, it helps when Sam Baulderstone provides you with first-use in the middle then acts as another midfielder with his clearance-winning capacity and work rate around the ground. He will pose a challenge for Panthers ruckman Cameron McGree, however the 21-year-old is improving each game. South Adelaide teenager Beau McCreery has impressed up forward and is leading the clubs goal-kicking so far, having booted ten majors in six games.

Panthers speedster Malcolm Karpany will spend another stint on the sidelines after injuring his calf, but South will be hoping dynamic forward Liam Fitt is indeed declared fit after sustaining a shoulder injury. The Redlegs reported no new injuries but several senior players remain sidelined. Norwood got the better of the Panthers on both occasions last season, but South Adelaide appear to be an improved outfit in 2020 and will be looking to get themselves back onto the winners list immediately.

Reserves: The Panthers and Redlegs reserves sides achieved their first victories of 2020 over the past fortnight but face an uphill battle to qualify for the finals, given the six-point (three-win) gap between themselves and the fourth-placed Bays. Regardless, one club will be feeling more confident of grabbing a place after this match-up.

Under-18s: Given the form of Norwood and South Adelaide’s under-18 sides, this clash should be entertaining. But it shapes as being all about the 17-year-olds. Panthers bottom-ager Jason Horne has taken the competition by storm in 2020 and appears destined to be an early selection in next years draft. He has led the Panthers to a four and two start to the season and could go head-to-head in the midfield with fellow bottom-ager Cooper Murley, who has also been ultra impressive in his own right. Keep an eye on these two going forward as they prepare to lead South Australia’s 2021 draft crop.

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 6 – Roosters down Panthers to keep touch with Eagles

ROUND 6 of the SANFL was an important one for teams at the pointy end of the League standings, with North Adelaide crucially downing South Adelaide to jump the Panthers for second spot. Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) continues to set the pace, having flexed its muscle against the winless Central District. The Eagles also find themselves atop the Reserves ladder, joining Norwood this week as the only two clubs to achieve wins across each grade. We recap the action from all four triple-headers.

>> SCROLL for full results 

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

League: WWT Eagles 11.13 (79) def. Central District 7.7 (49)
Reserves: WWT Eagles 10.7 (67) def. Central District 10.6 (66)
Under 18s: Central District 7.15 (57) def. by WWT Eagles 15.13 (103)

WWT’s trio of wins over the Bulldogs counted for a lot in the senior grades, with the Eagles flying ahead atop the League and Reserve ladders. Jack Hayes was the League star this week with 28 disposals, 14 marks, and two goals in a mammoth effort, beaten out only by teammate Joseph Sinor (29 disposals) and Centrals’ James Boyd (31) in the ball winning stakes as a bigman. State Under 18 gun Lachlan Grubb had 11 touches on debut for the Bulldogs.

While a five-goal to nil head start in the opening term was reigned back by the Bulldogs, WWT was in control throughout to come away 30-point winners. The Eagles’ Reserves now stand alone as the sole undefeated side left in the grade, having ended Central District’s five-game winning streak in a one-point thriller. A far more straightforward victory capped off the three-peat at Under 18s level, with the Eagles running out 46-point winners.

Brayden Calvett booted 4.4 from 19 disposals in a big effort for the victors, while the likes of Jase Burgoyne (31 disposals, one goal), Max Lister (25 and two), and Caleb Poulter (25 and one) all hit the scoreboard in big ball winning displays. Henry Smith was also good for two goals from his 13 disposals and seven marks. For Centrals, Shay Linke played somewhat of a lone hand; with his 29 disposals 10 more than the next best Bulldog, and his two majors ensuring he would finish as his side’s lone multiple goalkicker.

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

League: West Adelaide 8.9 (57) def. by Norwood 19.10 (124)
Reserves: West Adelaide 5.9 (39) def. by Norwood 13.7 (85)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 9.4 (58) def. by Norwood 14.12 (96)

Norwood became the second of two clubs to pull off a straight sets weekend, trumping West Adelaide in all three grades – on the road, no less. The Redlegs look to be putting it together at League level, with their 67-point thrashing of the Bloods making for three wins on the trot. A positive weekend was also had for the Reserves as they picked up their first win, while the Under 18s moved into second in extending West Adelaide’s winless run to the tune of 38 points.

Plenty of Redlegs saw a heap of the ball in their League outing, with Richard Douglas (35 disposals) leading a pack of four more teammates to crack the 30-mark, including Mitch Grigg (32 disposals, two goals) and Lewis Johnston (34 disposals, one goal). Johnston and Brad McKenzie combined for 32 marks, while Matthew Panos (27 disposals, four goals) and Ryan Bastinac (29 and two) only extended the list of outstanding individual performers for Norwood.

Kaine Stevens again led the way for Westies with 31 touches, while Murray Waite was dangerous up forward with two majors. The Bloods’ League and Reserves sides remain second-last with one win in each competition, but are firmly planted to the bottom at Under 18s level at 0-6.

Bailey Chamberlain was again a shining light for the Bloods in the junior grade, collecting a game-high 36 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances, five inside 50s, and six rebound 50s in a lone-handed display. Cooper Murley was not far behind for Norwood with 14 clearances from his 34 disposals, while Samuel Duke (four goals), Jackson Murphy (three), and Marcus Roberts (two) were among those to do most of the scoreboard damage.

North Adelaide vs. South Adelaide

League: North Adelaide 9.12 (66) def. South Adelaide 8.10 (58)
Reserves: North Adelaide 11.8 (74) def. South Adelaide 8.9 (57)
Under 18s: South Adelaide 14.9 (93) def. North Adelaide 7.13 (55)

North Adelaide completed the senior double over its Southern counterpart on Saturday, with the League points most significantly ensuring the Roosters remain level with frontrunners, WWT. After sneaking ahead at half time, North looked to be cruising in the run home, but were made to earn the win after a late surge from the Panthers. Holding firm, the Roosters came out eight-point winners.

Andrew Moore was instrumental in the victory, booting three important goals from his 25 disposals. Harrison Wigg just beat him out with 28 touches, while Lewis Hender (three goals) and Mitchell Harvey (two) were lively inside forward 50. Thomas Highmore was typically stoic in defence for Souths, clunking seven marks among a team-high 26 disposals. Matthew Broadbent wasn’t far behind with 24, and Joel Cross came to life in the second half to finish with 20 disposals and a goal.

The Roosters’ Reserves also came away with the chocolates in their hitout, getting up by 17 points, but South Adelaide got one back in the Under 18s with a 38-point triumph. Both sides sit just outside the top four at Reserves level, while South’s 4-2 Under 18s record sees them placed firmly in the finals race.

Brayden Cook (26 disposals, two goals), Jason Horne (25 and one), and Jamison Snelling (21 and three) were among the many outstanding performers for Souths, finding both the ball and the big sticks. Shaun Bennier booted four goals for North as their only multiple goalkicker, while Matthew Borg and Blayne O’Loughlin had 26 touches apiece, followed closely by Harvey Harrison.

Glenelg vs. Sturt

League: Glenelg 12.10 (82) def. Sturt 8.16 (64)
Reserves: Glenelg 8.5 (53) def. by Sturt 12.9 (81)
Under 18s: Glenelg 5.2 (32) def. by Sturt 18.24 (132)

Glenelg’s League flag unveiling spurred the Bays on to a fighting 18-point win over Sturt in Sunday’s lone fixture, helping them improve to 3-3. A plucky Sturt outfit pushed them all the way, but the Tigers were able to hold on as they look to push back into the top four. The Double Blues got the wood over their weekend adversaries in the Reserves and Under 18s though, with the juniors’ 100-point win a particular highlight.

Liam McBean‘s five League goals again spearheaded Glenelg’s effort, as Matthew Snook continued his rich vein of form with 29 a game-high disposals. The usual suspects – James Battersby (28 disposals, 11 clearances), Sam Colquhoun (28 and seven), Abe Davis (26 and six) – all stood up again despite being on the wrong side of the result.

One of the best individual performances again belonged to Tom Powell in the Under 18s, as he dominated for 39 disposals and three goals. Mani Liddy (29 disposals, two goals) also made an impact, while Zabien Parker-Boers booted four goals and Tom Emmett, three. Jayden Davis and Hagan Wright combined to lead Glenelg’s ball winning effort, with the former also adding two goals to his side’s cause.