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Premiership season 2023 - Round 18 Review

Total Crowd 11,779 (Avg 2,356)

Hi Footy fans...

We have come to the end of the home and away section of the season, next week begins the race for the 2023 premiership and the Thomas Seymour-Hill Trophy. We were guaranteed a new premier quite a while ago, the Redlegs' flag defence going completely off the rails. Some other things unfortunately haven't changed, the Bloods again rooted to the bottom of the league. The Panthers season was yet another spent at the wrong end of the ladder and now a trio of players are hanging up the boots. The Eagles are well into pre-season 2024, beginning with a search for a new coach after dual premiership coach Jade Sheedy flagged his intention to finish up at season's end. But there was still time for some last minute twists ahead of the finals, with a three-way dance to decide the participants for next weekend's Elimination Final. In fourth position is the Magpies, a missed chance for victory against South putting them well within reach of the sixth-placed Roosters. In the middle of this was the fifth-placed Bulldogs, chasing their first appearance in finals since 2017. The last of the dominoes for the minor round would fall here -- could the Roosters pull off a heist, perhaps set-up a Northern Derby eliminator, or would there be a re-match of this weekend's combatants? The final round of the 2023 SANFL Premiership Season is here... read on.

Welcome to the Round 18 edition of the SANFL Wrap-Up.

All five games would be played out at the same time on the Saturday afternoon, the first one takes us to the Maughan Thiem Kia Oval in Woodville for a western suburbs stoush between the Eagles and the Bloods. The Eagles made it eight consecutive victories against the Bloods back in Round 7 at Richmond, they were never truly threatened at any stage as they ran off to a 56-point victory. It was practically over by half-time, the Eagles out to a 45-point lead after bagging eight goals to one in the first half. Westies put just four more goals on the board after this to the Eagles' six. At this time of year, the Eagles were fifth and the Bloods were eighth. Even eighth for this season may have been acceptable for the Bloods, but instead would now find themselves cellar dwellers once more. The Eagles pulled off one of the shocks of this year with their win over Glenelg last week, while the Bloods one-point win was short lived when the match officials realised a Norwood behind wasn't recorded on the board. The opening term would boast 10 goals split down the middle for each side, the Eagles would lead by three points at the first change with four behinds to Westies' one. The second term was almost a complete reverse with not much happening in front of the sticks with both sides kicking just one goal each, the gap was drawn back to two points going into the long break with a pair of behinds to West and one to the Eagles. The Bloods' efforts to keep within touch came under threat late in the third quarter, the home side kicking one goal and burning a trio of chances in the first 16 minutes. The Eagles responded to kick three of the next four majors, with an additional behind the home side held a one-goal lead. The last goal of the third term was the beginning of the Bloods' fightback, they kicked three more goals and a behind to start the final quarter to lead by 13 points after seven minutes. The Eagles kicked back into the lead early into time-on, but a pair of late goals by the visitors would give the 2023 wooden spooners something to cheer about. All scores counted, the Bloods scored 5.2 to 3.2 to win by a goal to finish off their year on a high. Kobe Ryan was the Bloods' best afield with 29 disposals, nine tackles and seven marks, while the Eagles named captain Joseph Sinor as their best with 36 disposals, 10 clearances and seven marks.

Next up in the day's action, we head to the outer northern suburbs and into the X-Convenience Oval in Elizabeth where the Bulldogs took on the Magpies. The last time the Bulldogs defeated the Magpies was back in 2018, emerging victorious at Alberton by 22 points in Round 18 of that year. Since that time other than sitting out 2020, it's been all black & white with seven straight wins by the 'Pies over the northerners including back in Round 9 at Queen Street by 23 points. The Bulldogs were down by two goals at the first change and despite Port's horrid accuracy in the second term, couldn't even raise a gallop of their own in that period. In the end, Port had more runners and a couple of embarrassingly easy goals made possible by the Dogs' skill errors. But last week, a breakthrough for the Bulldogs, after a fortnight of consecutive one-kick defeats would instead win one of their own at Prospect. The Magpies would have to settle for a single point after a draw with South at Noarlunga. Both were in mathematical danger of slipping out of the five and early on it looked like it would be the Bulldogs, who were held to just two points in the opening term. But with Port managing only three goals from nine scores, the game wasn't already over before it began with only a 16-point lead at quarter-time. The Magpies extended their advantage out to 27 points by the 15-minute mark of the second term, but then that same fight Centrals displayed last week started showing itself later, a goal at the half-time siren cutting the deficit down to a couple of kicks. All up the Dogs scored 3.4 to 1.1, Port leading by seven points at the long break. Port threatened to break away once again when play resumed, but despite conceding one more major the Dogs still weren't out of it as a heart-stopper was looming for the final term. The visitors outscored the Dogs 4.1 to three goals, the Magpies leading by 15 points going into the final change. Centrals would then produced one of the best quarters of attacking football this season, if not in recent memory. The Magpies kicked the opening goal of the last quarter, but then the Dogs bagged eight of the next nine goals to take over the lead for the first time all game, overtuning the three quarter-time deficit to run out 15-point winners and guarantee their place in the finals. Harry Grant was named best for Centrals, with 29 disposals, six marks and five clearances, while Jackson Mead was Port's best with 30 disposals along with seven marks and tackles.

The third match for the weekend sends us out to the bay-side city of Glenelg and into the Stratarama Stadium for the "Clash of the Cats" game between the Tigers and the Panthers. The Panthers became the Tigers' fourth victim of their 11-match winning streak during the first half of the year, going down by 41 points at Noarlunga back in Round 5. South's final quarter was just abysmal, only adrift by five points at the final change before the Bays kicked an unanswered six goals. That's been one of the trademarks of the Panthers' season, getting well within range but just unable to find some finish. The Panthers accuracy cost them a victory against Port last week, one last shot on goal ending the game at 97 points each, while the Tigers were ambushed at Woodville in a shock 22-point defeat from the Eagles. A win today would guarantee the minor premiership and a berth in the second week of finals. The Panthers had a spirited start, dictating a good deal of the opening quarter but an inability to string majors together would cost them by the first change, the Tigers' shooting was only a little better as they scored 4.4 to 2.4, going into the huddle with a two-goal lead. It was more of the same from South in the second term, but a lot more inaccuracy from Glenelg would allow the Panthers to keep well within strike going into the second half. The Tigers kicked 1.6 to the Panthers 2.2, the deficit just 10 points at the long break. However the blue & whites' hold on the Bays' forwards was about to slip off in the second half, South's goal at the nine minute mark of the third term would prove to be their last for Season 2023 as the Tigers asserted themselves from here onwards as they took advantage of a raft of turnovers. The Tigers kicked 5.2 to take their lead out to six goals and they knew from there that the reward of a week off in finals was theirs. South added a further four behinds to their score in the final term, the home side putting the stamp on the minor round of 2023 with a further 4.4 to run out 10 goal winners, not the way that the Panthers wanted to farewell three of their standouts. Matthew Allen was named Glenelg's best with 26 disposals, seven marks and three goals, while the Panthers named Joseph Haines with 38 disposals and eight tackles.

Game number four for the Saturday arvo takes us to the inner north and into the Prospect Oval for a match that also had some top-five ramifications, the battle between the Roosters and the Double Blues. The Double Blues did it the hard way the last time they played the Roosters, winning by 16 points in Round 10 at Oxford Terrace. The Roosters led by a kick at half-time, the Blues kicked 2.6 in the opening term and then held to nothing in the second. They could very well have buried the Roosters in the third term alone had they been more accurate, but would hold a five-kick advantage at half-time instead of perhaps as much as nine kicks. But you can't argue with results, the Blues holding off a late charge to claim the points. Sturt's place in the Qualifying Final was already locked away several weeks ago, though their opponents in the upcoming match outworked them last week at Unley. North's narrow loss to the Bulldogs at home put them on a knife's edge, needing the Magpies to do a job on them but we already know how that turned out. Early on it looked as though their season was already over when the game began, the Blues running out to a 27-point quarter-time lead after kicking 5.4 to 1.1 to begin the afternoon's proceedings. A couple of early second term chances went begging for the Roosters, the Blues keeping the status quo going into the long break with their 3.1 to 2.3, the deficit stretching to 31 points come half-time. The Roosters first half attacks were riddled with forward entries reeking of desperation, easily reeled in by Blues defenders, as well as a swag of turnovers not doing their cause any good. But the second half was shaping up a different story as that desperation allowed the red & whites to start reeling back Sturt's advantage. Going into third quarter added time, the Roosters had cut the gap down to 13 points, having scored 4.1 to 1.1. One last goal to the visitors put it back to a four-kick ball game, a 19-point lead to the Blues at the final change. North opened the final term with the first three goals and at the 10th minute it was a one-point difference. It was an arm-wrestle for the ensuing 10 minutes, but soon enough the Blues left the home side in desolation, three majors in time on -- and Centrals' comeback at Elizabeth -- burying North's season. All scores counted it was Sturt with 5.3 to 4.1, the Blues going into finals with a 27-point victory. Tom Lewis was named best for the Blues, with 31 disposals as well as seven marks and tackles. For the Roosters, they voted in Andrew Moore as their standout with 22 disposals, 10 clearances and seven tackles.

The final game for the round and closing match for the regular season sends us to the inner east and into the Coopers Stadium in Norwood where the Redlegs hosted the Crows. It was a dirty afternoon on the ground and in front of the sticks for these sides back in Round 7 at The Parade, the Crows winning the outing in the wet. There was just four goals kicked in the entire first half, with the 'Legs holding a five-point lead at half-time before the Crows got their accuracy back on track for the second. Adelaide kicked seven goals to two after being held to 1.8 for two quarters, running out four-goal victors and adding to Norwood's failing premiership defence. The Redlegs managed to stay away from the wooden spoon zone last weekend after a draw against the eventual last place finishers in Westies. The Crows sounded a pre-finals warning by beating the Blues, the side they face in the Qualifying Final by 16 points at Unley. The only thing left for the Redlegs was some end of season pride and they started by taking advantage of a wayward Crows forward line, kicking 5.1 to 2.4 to take a 15-point lead by quarter-time. Adelaide could have drawn it to 10 if not for one last shot going wide. Their accuracy didn't improve in the second term in contrast to the Redlegs, repeating their first quarter score while the Redlegs kicked three goals without a miss. But it was a signal of intent if anything, two of Adelaide goals coming deep into added time as the Redlegs went into the changerooms at half-time with a 17-point lead. The momentum looked to have swung Adelaide's direction when play resumed, the whole first half effort by Norwood looked like coming unravelled as Adelaide held them scoreless for the third quarter and kicked 6.3, setting up a 22-point lead going into the final stanza. But amazingly, the Redlegs woke up and returned the favour, holding the visitors to just three behinds and rammed through 7.2 -- three of those goals during time-on -- to finish 2023 on a high, winning by 19 points. But Sturt beware, with the Crows seniors out of finals, there may be some added power fronting up on Sunday. Jacob Kennerley was best afield for Norwood, notching up 23 disposals, seven marks and kicking three goals. For Adelaide, it was Lachlan Sholl with 26 disposals, 13 marks and two goals.


Saturday August 26
West Adelaide 13.8 (86)
Woodville-West Torrens 12.8 (80)
1,595 @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, Woodville

Central District 14.7 (91)
Port Adelaide 11.10 (76)
2,253 @ X-Convenience Oval, Elizabeth

Glenelg 14.16 (100)
South Adelaide 5.10 (40)
3,123 @ Stratarama Stadium, Noarlunga

Sturt 15.10 (100)
North Adelaide 11.7 (73)
2,475 @ Prospect Oval

Norwood 15.3 (93)
Adelaide 10.14 (74)
2,333 @ Coopers Stadium, Norwood

Port -- Visentini (quad)
Glenelg -- Bell, Searle (concussion)
Adelaide -- Smithson (foot)

West -- Johnson (striking), Squire (rough conduct)
W-WT -- Menzel (rough conduct)
Central -- Little (rough conduct), Buechner (striking)
Sturt -- Illman (rough conduct)

LEAGUE LADDER -- 2023 Final Standings
Glenelg -- 30pts (15-3-0), 59.2%
Sturt -- 28pts (14-4-0), 51.9%
Adelaide -- 26pts (13-5-0), 60.4%
Central -- 18pts (9-9-0), 47.6%
Port -- 17pts (8-9-1), 48.9%
North -- 16pts (8-10-0), 46.6%
Norwood -- 13pts (6-11-1), 45.8%
W-WT -- 12pts (6-12-0), 47.3%
South -- 11pts (5-12-1), 44.5%
West -- 9pts (4-13-1), 45.8%

Glenelg not only secured the minor premiership, but also took out the Stanley H. Lewis Trophy for the 11th time in their history. The Lewis Trophy is awarded to the club with the best overall record across the grades, with the U-16's and Womens divisions being added to the criteria back in 2021. Only the league and reserves finished in finals contention, finishing minor premiers in both divisions, while the other three teams finished in fifth position in their respective grades. The Tigers posted 3475 points, with the Double Blues finishing second on 3325 and Centrals in third on 3125. In addition, Lachlan Hosie took out the Ken Farmer Medal with a haul of 52 goals for the season, team-mate and past winner Liam McBean was second with 43, Sturt's Josh Hone was third on 41. Hosie kicked at least one goal in every game this season, with his best tally being six against Port Adelaide in Round 2.

The championship-winning South Australian U-18 women's side has been rewarded with eight selections for the 2023 All-Australian side, with Glenelg captain and Women's league B&F winner Piper Window named as ruck rover and the skipper. Joining Window is 2022 series MVP Shineah Goody, the Eagles' centre earning a second straight place. SA also made up the bulk of the attack, with Centrals premiership player Elaine Grigg joining India Rasheed (Sturt) and Lauren Young (West Adelaide) around the forward zone, while Tiger Poppy Scholz made up a part of defence. On the interchange bench is Jemma Whittington-Charity from Glenelg and Brooke Boileau of South Adelaide. Jason Rivett got his second endorsement in just over a year, his promotion to the head coaching job after the departure of Tim Weatherald would result in him being named All-Australian coach.

So that's it for the regular season, now its down to the business end... FINALS FOOTBALL!

Friday September 1 @ Thebarton Oval
U-16 2nd SEMI-FINAL @ 5:30pm
Sturt vs. Central District

Sturt vs. Central District

Saturday September 2 @ Hisense Stadium, Richmond
U-16 1st SEMI-FINAL @ 4pm
West Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

Saturday September 2 @ Flinders University Stadium, Noarlunga
South Adelaide vs. Woodville-West Torrens

U-18 1st SEMI-FINAL @ 12:25pm
Woodville-West Torrens vs. Sturt

U-18 2nd SEMI-FINAL @ 2:50pm
South Adelaide vs. Central District

Sunday September 3 @ Adelaide Oval
Central District vs. Port Adelaide

Sturt vs. Adelaide

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

R-18, Ladder

Team GP PTS %
GLEN 18 30 59.24
STURT 18 28 51.93
ADEL 18 26 60.35
CENT 18 18 47.63
PORT 18 17 48.85
NORTH 18 16 46.59
NORW 18 13 45.76
W-WT 18 12 47.25
SOUTH 18 11 44.48
WEST 18 9 45.83


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