THREE teams are sitting pretty atop the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) League ladder at 4-1 after five rounds, with North and South Adelaide behind Woodville-West Torrens by percentage alone. The trailing pack, which includes reigning premier, Glenelg and Round 5 winner, Norwood find themselves two games adrift – a crucial buffer amid the improvised season schedule. The Eagles and Panthers were the only two clubs to go undefeated across all three grades, placing them firmly in finals calculations at this early stage.
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Glenelg vs. WWT Eagles
League: Glenelg 12.11 (83) def. by WWT Eagles 16.7 (103)
Reserves: Glenelg 6.7 (43) def. by WWT Eagles 13.8 (86)
Under 18s: WWT Eagles 18.16 (124) def. Glenelg 8.5 (53)
Eagles held on for a well-earned 20-point win over Glenelg at League level, capping off a hat-trick of wins over the Tigers for the round. The visitors led by 40 points at half time, and had extended the buffer out to 45 during the third term, but were reigned in by a valiant Glenelg outfit which the Eagles looking a little nervy heading into the final stages.
While the likes of Andrew Bradley (35 disposals, 10 marks), Matthew Snook (31 disposals, 12 clearances, one goal), and Liam McBean returned stellar individual performances for the Tigers, it was the even spread of WWT contributors which proved the defining factor. Joseph Sinor and Jordan Foote led the disposal count with 23 and 21 respectively, while young guns Lachlan McNeil and Rhyan Mansell played their roles well. Lachlan Jones had his hands full with McBean in defence, while James Rowe and Jake von Bertouch both booted four goals up the other end.
The Reserves and Under 18s would follow suit, with a raft of juniors shining through on a super Saturday. Jack Wheare (four goals) and Jay Watson (three) led a brigade of six Eagles multiple goalkickers, with the highly-fancied Taj Schofield and Jase Burgoyne among them. Caleb Poulter was the leading ball winner with 24 touches, outdone only by Glenelg’s William Watts (31 disposals) and Kye Dean (25). William Neumann and Harrison Dawkins were among others to fare well in the Eagles’ winning effort.
Having suffered their first Reserves defeat, the Tigers trail the undefeated Eagles and Central District in third, but remain top of the Under 18s table despite another maiden loss. WWT has risen to fifth in the junior grade, one game out of the finals spots.
South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide
League: South Adelaide 12.7 (79) def. West Adelaide 9.5 (59)
Reserves: South Adelaide 15.11 (101) def. West Adelaide 7.3 (45)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 5.12 (42) def. by South Adelaide 12.16 (88)
South Adelaide cruised home to a 20-point win over West Adelaide to remain in the hunt for top spot, blitzing the Bloods with 12 goals to five across the first three terms – including seven of the first eight majors. While Westies improved in the final stanza with four consolation goals, the damage was already done. The Reserves and Under 18s made it a three-peat for Souths, notching wins to the tune of 56 and 46 points respectively.
Joel Cross again lead all comers for the Panthers’, amassing 26 disposals, five tackles, and six clearances. Joseph Haines (20 disposals) and Thomas Highmore (23 disposals, 11 marks) continued their strong runs of form, while State Under 18 gun Zac Dumesny also stood up with 19 touches. Up forward, Eamon Wilkinson booted a game-high three goals from six touches. Jordan Boyle (26 disposals) and Kaine Stevens (25) led the way for the Bloods from the engine room, with Brett Turner‘s two majors a key spark for his side’s late form, while Dallas Willsmore made a solid return to action.
At Under 18s level, Bailey Chamberlain continued his prolific start to the season with 35 touches for West, but it was Jason Horne who stole the show with 31 disposals and three goals. The Bloods found plenty of the ball, with the likes of Nicholas Couroupis, Eduard van den Berg, Dylan White, and Cade Kennedy cracking 20 disposals, but the Panthers’ midfielders simply had more impact with their possessions. Among them, Liam Hamilton was solid with 26 disposals, while Max Clifton had 22, and Phoenix Spicer and Brayden Cook both found the goals.
South Adelaide now jumps ahead of West via percentage in the Reserves standings despite both sides boasting 1-4 records, while the winless Bloods’ Under 18s remain planted to the bottom as the Panthers soar into the finals placings.
Central District vs. North Adelaide
League: Central District 9.8 (62) def. by North Adelaide 14.8 (92)
Reserves: Central District 11.10 (76) def. North Adelaide 8.8 (56)
Under 18s: North Adelaide 12.13 (85) def. Central District 7.5 (47)
Central District again fell short of its first League win for the year, going down by 30 points to North Adelaide on Saturday. Despite leading at half time, the Bulldogs’ lead was quickly overturned as the Roosters booted nine goals to three after the main break to claim victory. While North’s Under 18s also got up, it wasn’t all bad news for Dogs fans as their side held on to go 5-0 at Reserves level.
Leading League disposal getter James Boyd added another 38 to his mammoth tally for the Bulldogs, just two clear of North’s Thomas Schwarz on 36. Mitchell Harvey‘s four goals came at the ideal time for the Roosters, helping steer them ahead in the third term as the visitors appeared to have all the answers. Keenan Ramsay (three goals) and Kym Lebois (two) were also potent, while Andrew Moore and Jarred Allmond made for a productive inside/outside combination. Luke Habel collected 26 touches for Centrals, followed by Trent Goodrem and Jarrod Schiller (both 22). State Under 18s small Corey Durdin snagged two goals from 15 disposals.
The Roosters’ Under 18s were able to kick away in their outing, with Charlie Dowling booting four goals in a promising display. Leo Coates and Zyton Santillo also found the big sticks on multiple occasions, while Kyle Brazell snared a major from his 24 disposals. Blayne O’Loughlin led all comers from defence with 27 touches, as Matthew Borg (25, 11 tackles) trailed closely. Shay Linke (22 disposals, one goal) and Austin McDonald (21, nine clearances) were again instrumental for the Bulldogs, while Leek Alleer continues to show promise, clunking seven marks in his 18-disposal effort.
Centrals now trail North by a game in the Under 18 grade, sitting at 1-4 in seventh spot. The Reserves are holding up hope for the club with their blistering form to sit top, but a winless League side will be hoping for a swift turnaround during the mid-season period.
Sturt vs. Norwood
League: Sturt 10.13 (73) def. by Norwood 13.10 (88)
Reserves: Sturt 11.14 (80) def. Norwood 5.4 (34)
Under 18s: Sturt 6.10 (46) def. by Norwood 10.12 (72)
Sturt and Norwood competed in the competition’s sole Sunday fixtures, sharing the spoils as the Redlegs claimed a road League win, while the Double Blues got one back at Reserves level. On Saturday, Norwood’s Under 18s also claimed a win, sending the Redlegs to third and level on points with first. The Norwood Reserves are still winless though, and both sides side just outside the top four in the League grade.
There were plenty of big performers as the two senior teams did battle, with Mitchell Grigg slamming home two goals from 27 touches, while Ryan Bastinac marked a successful senior dig with 23 touches and a goal, and Matthew Panos booted two from his 22 touches. For Sturt, James Battersby led all comers with 27 disposals and nine clearances, with Sam Colquhoun trailing on 24, and Joshua Hone bagging three majors from 20 disposals. Jake Sutcliffe and Tom Pinyon also kicked three goals for either side as the Redlegs clawed back from being jumped at the gun.
Sturt’s Tom Powell was again the standout at Under 18s level, this time spilling over the 40-disposal mark and claiming nine clearances in a losing effort. Jack Saunders (34 disposals, six clearances) and Cooper Murley (28 disposals, two goals) were impactful from midfield for Norwood, while Michael Cavallaro (32 disposals), Daniel Fairbrother (29), and Benjamin Ianniello (27) all found plenty of the ball. Mani Liddy and Will Spain did the same for Sturt once again, while Tom Emmett claimed a game-high four goals.