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Premiership season 2023 - Round 12 Review

Total Crowd 7,788 (Avg 1,558)

Hi Footy fans...

The best country footballers converged on Nuriootpa this past weekend for the SA Country Football Championships. Six teams with players from all over the South Australian rural landscape, condensed into six teams. This is perhaps one of the true best of the best tournaments in Australia, with only six sides from a combined 24 individual competitions and with so many players in the mix, only a select few get to play. Take the Northern side for example. This mob is made up of players from as far as the Far North league where the mines are, the Spencer Gulf and even Broken Hill. That's a big area to cover, especially for those selected to come together as they do. Not that the other sides have it easy either, with the tumultuous times weathered in the South East zone and the changes to the structure of football there. But now with an even number of country competitions, is it time to perhaps start a bonafide representative football program instead of a regional combine? The details could surely be worked out by the SANFL and its member leagues. A competition styled like the time-honoured Cup competitions around the world with a knockout format? Perhaps one where qualification is required through a ranking system? The big reward could be that the last two sides standing could square off during the SANFL finals and play on Adelaide Oval to decide the champions. Its all dream talk of course and one can only imagine the possibilities.

Welcome to the Round 12 edition of the SANFL Wrap-Up.

The entire programme for the weekend would be played out on the Saturday afternoon, starting with the Battle of the Birds at the Maughan Thiem Kia Oval between the Eagles and the Magpies. These two feathery rivals of Port Road last met little more than a month ago in Round 8, where the Eagles almost bottled it before emerging victorious. The Magpies had only themselves to blame of course, their accuracy on goal was just woeful and were trailing by 16 points at the final change after kicking 2.10. They had some tit-for-tat in the final term, with Port bagging a quartet of goals over seven minutes to snag the lead in early in injury time. But the final decisive blow came with the last score of the game, the Eagles landing one last major to escape with a three-point win. Their fortunes have taken a dive since that win, dropping the three games in between including last week's against a resurgent Panthers at Woodville, while the Magpies climbed to fourth with victory over West. The Magpies started with a bang with a major on the board after just 17 seconds, but would be down by five points at quarter-time as the Eagles scored 3.1 to 2.2 to kick things off. The Eagles dominated the first 12 minutes to take their advantage out to 19 points, but the 'Pies would do so over the remaining minutes, allowing the Eagles just one further behind. All scores counted the Magpies kicked 4.2 to 2.3 to go into the rooms at the long break with a six-point lead. With more than a few newcomers into the side, the Eagles were going to find it difficult to maintain their intensity against a side fielding at least a dozen AFL-listed players. All things considered, they were not going too badly but things were about to swing the Magpies way. When play resumed, the Eagles managed to get level after 10 minutes after conceding the opening goal. But they were back behind the eight-ball soon afterwards and would find themselves adrift by 13 points after a 4.1 to three goal third term. The visitors then had the life strangled out of them in the final term, held scoreless by the Magpies as they kicked 3.5 on their way to a six-goal victory. Jackson Mead was Port's best all-round man, notching up 26 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances. Young gun Max Beattie was the Eagles' best, with 26 disposals, 12 tackles and six marks.

From the western suburbs to the inner east we go now for the second match of the weekend, to the Coopers Stadium in Norwood where the Redlegs faced the Tigers. These two last met in Round 4, with the Tigers winning by five goals at Brighton Road. The gaps at the changes were never more than a couple of kicks, but the Tigers shook off the Norwood challenge in the final stanza with five goals to two. The opening term was of particular annoyance to the Redlegs, having four more scoring shots but notching up nothing but behinds. Their lead was ripped away from them just before half-time and they wouldn't get within cooee of them from there. Though the Redlegs have managed to finally bank points over the last three weeks including their surprise victory against Sturt at Unley, the Tigers are all but dominating at the moment and their last quarter blitz against Centrals saw them take a 10th straight win last week. The Redlegs made an early challenge but were let down by some wayward shooting in the opening quarter for a return of 2.4, allowing the Tigers to lead at the change. In fact it wasn't until the last minutes of the first quarter that they were back in the lead, held to 1.2 for more than 20 minutes before two goals deep in time on put them up by four points. The Tigers put some space between them by the long break though, breaking out to a 21-point half-time lead after scoring 4.2 to 1.3 in the second period. Norwood did put out a response in the third term, but again, their goal-kicking boots were in need of tuning up with the Tigers still in front at the final change despite the 'Legs running them more than a little ragged. The reigning premiers could have at least evened the scores, but would have to settle for a two-goal deficit at the final change after kicking 2.4 and keeping the Bays to a mere 1.1. But in similar fashion to what they did against the Bulldogs last week, the Tigers lifted in the ending period and would finish the day with an 11th straight win, kicking 5.4 to 2.4 to run out five-goal victors. Matt Allen was once again in the focus as best afield for Glenelg, he chalked up 28 disposals as well as 11 marks, nine tackles and six clearances. For Norwood it was Declan Hamilton with 24 disposals, nine tackles and four clearances.

Now we're going to the outer southern suburbs and into the Flinders University Stadium in Noarlunga for the SANFL "Civil War" of south and north between the Panthers and the Roosters. Last time these sides met it was back in Round 8, the Panthers raiding the chookhouse at Prospect for a 27-point win. South's second term run of five goals to three set them up for victory, as well as the Roosters' third term inaccuracy where they scored 1.5. South weren't having the best day in front of the sticks themselves, but were making more of their chances. That was only a month or so ago, in between then and now the Panthers lost the next two matches but recovered last week against the Eagles and Woodville for a three-goal triumph. The Roosters also lost their next pair of games as well, but would then shockingly defeat the third-placed Adelaide by nine points last weekend. The weather was going to play a massive role in the proceedings this afternoon, the trademark Noarlunga winds blowing and swirling, making life extremely difficult for both today. There would only be a few goals managed in the entire first half, the Roosters would be in front at the break with a five-point advantage after landing the last major in the opening term. The Roosters were putting up a hell of a defence as well, with the Panthers making several forays into attack but ending up with rushed behinds with the board reading 2.3 to 1.4 at quarter-time. That gap would stay as such at the half-time break after both sides scored three behinds each in the second term. South scraped into the lead in the fourth minute to open the second half, but then a trio of North goals across five minutes put them back in control. All scores counted, North scored 3.1 to 1.3 as they went into the final change with a 15-point advantage. And that's the way it would stay to the end, the scrappy weather-beaten contest ending with both sides scoring 1.2 each to finish off, the Roosters leaving Noarlunga with the points. Prior to their victory against the Crows after the split round bye, North coach Jacob Surjan pulled his group together for a chat. Whatever was said must have had an effect, however post match today he would be adamant that they haven't yet reached their full potential. Campbell Combe was named best for the red & whites, with 25 disposals plus 10 tackles and clearances. The Panthers named Oliver Davis as their standout, with 23 disposals, eight marks and tackles, as well as four clearances.

The fourth match for the round takes us to the western side of the city and to the Hisense Stadium in Richmond where the Bloods took on the Double Blues. Westies almost pulled off a heist to end all heists for 2023 at Unley back in Round 8, but couldn't take advantage of a wayward Sturt who would win by four points. The Bloods led for the bulk of the day, much more efficient in their shooting in contrast to the Blues. The only thing the Blues had more off was desperation and it showed on the scoreboard with just eight goals from 23 scores. West dropped off in the final term, kicking just one goal to Sturt's 2.4, those four behinds keeping Sturt's unbeaten run intact as it was at the time. The Bloods have been playing above themselves for the past month, but despite some good showings have only taken one win from the three since that last meeting. The Blues run over the last three weeks has been identical, their win against North sandwiched by some embarrassing losses including last week against Norwood. The football gods decided to give the western suburbs a bit of moisture in addition to the winds and in similar fashion to what was going on down south, impacted here as well on the scoreboard. Both sides managed just a single goal each in the opening term, a pair of missed chances by the Bloods saw them up by two points at the first change. The Bloods looked to have adapted better in the second term, though the winds forced a few shots wide as well. Along with three behinds each, the home side kicked two goals to the Blues' one as their lead stretched to eight points going into the half-time break. When play resumed however, the Blues went on the assault as the rain started falling, holding the Bloods to three behinds and scoring 3.2 for themselves to take over control of the lead, going into the final change nine points ahead. The final term was a nail-biter, the Bloods weren't giving up but despite kicking the only goal of the quarter, the visitors' defenders held firm and along with three behinds would escape Richmond with the chocolates. The six-point victory was also the Blues' 16 consecutive defeat of the red & blacks. James Battersby is surely one of the frontrunners for the Morton Medal, named best afield for Sturt with his 33 disposals, nine tackles and six clearances. The Bloods would name Kobe Ryan as their best on ground, with 26 disposals and 11 tackles.

The last game for the weekend will take us out past the northern suburbs and into wine country, the Centennial Park Oval at Nuriootpa providing the backdrop not just for the SA Country Football Championships, but the clash between the Bulldogs and the Crows. The Bulldogs faithful were in raptures back in Round 3 at Elizabeth, Centrals putting on a rare showing against Adelaide for a hard-fought four-point win. The Crows accuracy went begging this day, they had six more scoring shots than the Bulldogs but put 15 shots wide. It was the last score of the game that did it for Centrals, a high tackle and subsequent free kick in front of goal handing them victory. But its been hard recapturing that magic since then, dropping more than a few gettable games ever since. They went down to the Bays hard last weekend, while the Crows also stumbled against North. Now there was not that much rain to speak of out at the Barossa when game time came around, but the wind was quite fierce at times and unfortunately for the Bulldogs, for most of the day the travelling Centrals fans would bemoan the lack of situational awareness. They would often kick the ball forward only to see it boomerang well away from the intended target. It took a short time, but the Crows adapted so much better and the clinic was on in earnest. Adelaide began with a 3.2 to 1.3 opening term to lead by 11 points at the first change, then launched out to a 39 point advantage going into the sheds at the long break after bagging 6.4 to the Dogs' single major. The Dogs were also coughing up a swag of turnovers as well, the more finely tuned and strong Crows outfit showing them how it was done. In addition to the continued ignorance of the wind that was taking their kicks out of bounds either on the full or resulting in the last touch rule being applied, there was just no polish. The Crows stretched their lead out to 46 points come the final change, adding a further 3.3 to 1.2 in the third quarter. It was just a sorry showing by the Dogs, their only highlights were the two goals they managed in the final term, along with a behind. Adelaide added a further 4.5, running out 68-point winners in the end. Alarming stat for the Dogs... 11 of Adelaide's goals came from turnovers. Matt Crouch was best for Adelaide, with 31 disposals, eight tackles and five clearances. The Dogs named Jez McLennan as their best, he managed 22 disposals, five marks and four tackles.


Saturday July 8
Port Adelaide 13.10 (88)
Woodville-West Torrens 8.4 (52)
1,411 @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, Woodville

Glenelg 13.9 (87)
Norwood 7.15 (57)
1,756 @ Coopers Stadium, Norwood

North Adelaide 6.9 (45)
South Adelaide 3.12 (30)
815 @ Flinders University Stadium, Noarlunga

Sturt 5.8 (38)
West Adelaide 4.8 (32)
1,245 @ Hisense Stadium, Richmond

Adelaide 15.14 (104)
Central District 5.6 (36)
2,561 @ Centennial Park Oval, Nuriootpa

None known at time of post.

Port -- Duursma (rough conduct)
Norwood -- Carroll (rough conduct)
North -- Mayes, Wissman (forceful contact), Hilder (striking)
Sturt -- Lewis (rough conduct)
Adelaide -- McAdam (rough conduct)
Central -- Munn (rough conduct)

Glenelg -- 22pts (11-1-0), 61.7%
Sturt -- 20pts (10-2-0), 51.6%
Adelaide -- 16pts (8-4-0), 60.7%
Port -- 12pts (6-6-0), 49.2%
North -- 12pts (6-6-0), 47.3%
Central -- 10pts (5-7-0), 44.9%
W-WT -- 8pts (4-8-0), 48%
South -- 8pts (4-8-0), 44.6%
West -- 6pts (3-9-0), 46%
Norwood -- 6pts (3-9-0), 43.2%

The South Australian youngsters hit a speed bump in the form of eventual champions Victoria Metro in their last outing of the AFL U-16 National Championships on Friday, going down by five points at Southport on the Gold Coast. It was perhaps the second term that proved costly for the Croweaters, down by just two points at quarter-time they were then kept to two behinds in the second quarter as the Vics kicked to a 27-point half-time lead. SA did mount a hell of an assault in the second half, restricting the old enemy to 2.5 for the entire second half, but their accuracy on goal would prove the killer for the Croweaters. They kicked 6.9 to fall agonisingly short of a successful title defence. Josh Reichelt was SA's best afield, notching up 29 disposals, seven marks and six rebound-50's. For the tournament itself, team captain Dyson Sharp was the overall MVP of the series and awarded the Kevin Sheehan Medal. A few days later in Melbourne, the young ladies' squadron made short work of Metro at Avalon Airport Oval in Werribee in their second outing of the AFL-W U-18 series. After accounting for WA over a month ago, the Croweaters went from a goal in front at quarter-time to more than five goals ahead by the half-time break after kicking four unanswered second term majors. They would only allow a further three goals to the Vics for the rest of the game, piling on the punishment with seven more goals of their own to run out 58-point winners. Forward India Rasheed was best afield with 26 disposals, while fellow goalie Lauren Young bagged five goals. The ladies will face Queensland next in a curtain raiser to the Adelaide vs. GWS match on Saturday at Adelaide Oval.

U-16's -- Victoria Metro 9.10 (64) def. South Australia 8.11 (59)
U-18 Women's -- South Australia 13.8 (86) def. Victoria Metro 4.4 (28)

COUNTRY SERIES -- Eastern win Men's title, but denied Women's pennant
The Eastern Zone Men's side emerged victorious in the Men's section of the 2023 Think! Road Safety SA Country Football Championships in Nuriootpa and Angaston, belting the Central Zone side by 53 points in the Grand Final to go undefeated in the tournament. The Eastern Side had to go through Eyre Peninsula and Northern first, accounting for both by 16 and 30 points respectively in the two-half format opening day on Saturday. Central Zone would have Northern to begin with as well, winning that game by 39 points, then a fight against Southern Zone for an 11-point win. But when it came to the title match at Nuriootpa, the Eastern side, made up of the Hills, Murray Valley, Riverland and River Murray leagues, would run rampant over the Central outfit from Adelaide Plains, BL&G, North Eastern & Yorke Peninsula. Eastern would take out the Don McSweeny and Bill Murdoch Medals, which went to Samuel Callins and Adam Klun as player and coach of the tournament. Unfortunately the Women's side couldn't replicate that triumph, going down to Central in their deciding clash. Central's women were strong across their section of the tourney, undefeated in their games against Northern and Southern, while Eastern were probably the favourites given the wins they notched up against Eyre Peninsula and Northern. The Centrals ladies would emerge three point victors. The player of the series award was shared between Mardi Masson of EP and Elizabeth Wilson of Central, with the former also winning the best U-21 player medal. Central coach Shaun Ribbons won the coach's award.

Next weekend in Round 13...

Saturday July 15
West Adelaide vs. Central District; Hisense Stadium, Richmond @ 1:10pm
Glenelg vs. Adelaide; Stratarama Stadium, Glenelg @ 1:10pm
Port Adelaide vs. North Adelaide; Alberton Oval @ 2:10pm
Woodville-West Torrens vs. Norwood; Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, Woodville @ 2:10pm

Sunday July 16 @ 2:10pm
Sturt vs. South Adelaide; Wigan Oval, Unley

So until next weekend... see you at the Footy!

R-12, Ladder

Team GP PTS %
GLEN 12 22 61.71
STURT 12 20 51.64
ADEL 12 16 60.66
PORT 12 12 49.17
NORTH 12 12 47.25
CENT 12 10 44.88
W-WT 12 8 47.98
SOUTH 12 8 44.59
WEST 12 6 46.04
NORW 12 6 43.23


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.