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Premiership season 2023 - Round 5 Review

Total Crowd 7,080 (Avg 1,416)

Hi Footy fans...

The first few weeks of the 2023 SANFL Season have been a hit crowd-wise, relatively good weather bringing in the people on mass with almost 44,000 SA footy-heads passing through the gates. The sun was out, or the clouds just hung around without dumping down on the football fans below. This weekend however would have tested the hardiness of most fans though, with the temperatures starting to drop and rain threatening to fall. As a result, this past weekend's numbers were well down, the overall attendance a touch over 7,000. Amongst all this, the original South Australian rivalry only drew a little more than 1,500 in a rather depressing sign of the times. The Magpies and Redlegs rivalry seems to matter very little in the 21st century, whether it is the two club's average starts to the season and/or fan apathy from both camps toward the other. This is a fixture that at one time, even during the post-AFL and indeed post-Power eras, were highly anticipated games with crowds of more than 5000 whether it was rain, hail or shine. But a steady decline in numbers has been going on since the mid-2010's, with numbers only reaching around that figure or less. A previous poor turnout at Alberton was just under 2,100 back in 2021, that "record" was about to be broken.

Welcome to the Round 5 edition of the SANFL Wrap-Up.

All five of this past weekend's matches would take place on the Saturday afternoon, the first taking place at the Prospect Oval where the Roosters hosted the Crows. The Crows took out both the minor round outings against the Roosters last season, starting with a 38-point win at Prospect in Round 2, then a 27-point win at Whyalla in Round 15. The first game was all Adelaide, aside from a lapse in intensity in the second term. The second game was more interesting, the Roosters unfortunately letting this one slip through their fingers after coming back from a six-kick deficit at half-time. They couldn't find the big sticks in the final term. The Roosters did, however, put the Crows on the road to finals ruin in the 2nd Semi-Final, winning by 10 points. Adelaide got back on course last week inflicting 14-goal hiding against the Panthers at Adelaide Oval, while the Roosters outpointed the Eagles by 16 at Menzies Crescent. North started promisingly to begin proceedings, but some wasted chances on goal saw a nine-point lead at quarter-time instead of perhaps a four-kick advantage with the board reading 2.3 to Adelaide's single major. The Crows would turn all that around in the second term, taking advantage of some key Roosters absentees. Adelaide would keep the Roosters to just one behind and boot a near-unanswered 5.6 for themselves to lead by 26 points at the half-time break. Some of that AFL scoring flair went missing in the third quarter as the Roosters tried like mad to reel the gap back to something more manageable. They were all over the Crows for a good 20 minutes, but only managed 2.5 to bring the visitors' lead to nine points. But in time-on, the Crows kicked a pair of majors to be back up to a 21-point lead at the final change. The last quarter was all Adelaide's, putting the blowtorch to the home side's comeback attempt to keep them down to just 1.2 whilst bagging 5.4 for themselves to run away to a 47-point victory. Adelaide would name Andrew McPherson as their best afield with 29 disposals and 12 marks, while North would vote in Alex Spina as their best with 26 disposals, nine tackles and six clearances.

The next game on the roll sends us way down to the outer southern suburbs and to the Flinders University Stadium in Noarlunga for the "Clash of the Cats" between the Panthers and the Tigers. These sides had just the two encounters in Season 2022, during which the points would be shared with the Tigers winning Round 7 by 34 points at Brighton Road, then the Panthers would emerge victorious in the return match by 45 points at Noarlunga in Round 14. Slow starts marred the away side on both occasions, in the opening terms only the home side managed goals. In the match at Noarlunga however, the Tigers didn't score a goal until the second half, until then they had just six behinds on the board and eventually would have half the scoring shots that South would amass. The Panthers fell to a second-straight defeat last week with a horror outing against Adelaide, while the Tigers continued the Redlegs shocking start to their season. The Panthers had the better of the opening quarter, keeping the Tigers to just one behind. But scoring just 2.2 over 12 minutes would be overcome by the Bays in just seven minutes. A trio of behinds put things right back to square one for the Panthers, though one final goal put them back in front by a point at quarter-time. Glenelg would themselves own the majority of the second term, only allowing the Panthers to score two goals. The inaccuracy bug had paid a visit to their camp though, the Tigers scoring 4.5 to lead by just 16 points at the long break. The Panthers were unable to take full advantage of the trademark Noarlunga winds in the third quarter, fluffing an absolute swag of chances. Though they did keep the Tigers pretty much quiet at the other end, allowing just one behind. South's 1.6 brought the gap back down to five points going into the final change. But where the Panthers failed in that term, the Tigers would not in the final stanza. They used the wind to absolute perfection, leaving the Panthers in their wake to bag 6.1 to South's lowly single behind. The Tigers would run out 41-point winners and secure the Carey-Darley Trophy in the process. Matt Allen was named Glenelg's best, with 19 disposals, eight marks and kicking two goals. Mitch O'Neill was South's best with 24 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles.

Match number three for the Saturday arvo now sends us to the other extreme end of the Adelaide metro, to the X-Convenience Oval in Elizabeth where the Bulldogs faced the Bloods. The Bulldogs took out both games against the Bloods last season, starting with a 20-point win in Round 2 at the Ponderosa and then a 29-point victory at Richmond in Round 14. The early season match was one the Bloods allowed to slip in inexplicable fashion, letting a seven-kick half-time lead slip away little by little as the Dogs kicked 11 goals to two in the second half. At Milner Road, the Dogs overcame an inaccurate opening term to put the game out of Westies' reach, the home side's final term inaccuracy not helping much. The Dogs hung tough with the Blues last week but didn't leave Unley with the points, while the Bloods' first half allowed the Magpies to escape their grasp. They were outdone in the first half, but their second half was far more encouraging. Early on however, it seemed the same habits from their trip to Loxton were still biting as the Bulldogs sprung to a 21-point quarter-time lead after scoring 4.3 to the Bloods' single major. West had a bit more of it in the second term, but inaccuracy on goal was proving a problem. They had every chance to reel it in, but a return of 1.4 to the Bulldogs' 2.2 saw the gap creep out to 25 points going into the long break. One thing that the Bloods were getting a lot of was the umpires' favour, by game's end they would have more than double the amount of free kicks. Their issue was their use of the ball in attack. The home side was about to have a turn with the goal-kicking yips when play resumed, the Bulldogs blowing several big chances to bury the Bloods in that third term. The gap could have been as much as 11 goals, but Centrals' tally of 2.5 to the Bloods' two behinds put it at 40 points going into the final term. Surely the Dogs, who held well against the Blues and down the Crows couldn't blow this, right? Well, no... they didn't. But their final term likely had many a Centrals fan a bit underwhelmed. The visitors went on the assault in a last ditch attempt to nick it, keeping the Dogs to just two behinds. But the score of 5.1 wasn't going to be enough as the Dogs held on for an 11-point win. Billy McCormack was the Dogs' best on ground with 20 disposals, seven marks and five tackles. For the Bloods, their standout was Hamish Ellem, with 24 disposals, nine marks and five tackles.

Onto the fourth match for the day and now we head over to the port of Adelaide and into the Alberton Oval for the meeting between the original rivals in the Magpies and the Redlegs. The Magpies went down in both outings last season against their old-time enemies from the east side, the Redlegs winning at home in Round 3 by 16 points at The Parade, follwed by a three-goal win at Alberton in Round 11. The Magpies opening term at Norwood was the difference maker, down by 21 points at half-time and held at arms length for the rest of the match. Then at Queen Street, it was the cleaner Redlegs that took out the 'Pies, missing only four of their 19 scoring shots compared to Port's 10 from 21. The Magpies finally banked premiership points last week in their trip to Loxton against the Bloods, while the Redlegs have still not done so themselves with the Tigers continuing their pain. As said above, it looks as though the rivalry between these sides is definitely not what it used to be, a paltry 1,500 people coming out to watch as
the Magpies spray a few chances to pile it on in the opening term. They kicked 2.5 to the Redlegs' 2.3 to lead by just two points at quarter-time. The second quarter was pretty much all Port, but the Redlegs backs must have put up a gallant struggle to keep the 'Pies to just 2.3. Their forwards didn't find the big sticks at the other end though, only managing two behinds as the deficit was now out to 15 points going into the changerooms at the half-time break. A number of Port's AFL prospects were keen to get the attention of the Power coaching panel today, with some impressive youngsters getting in on some action. Norwood seemed to spring to life when play resumed in the third term, managing to outscore the Magpies 3.1 to 1.1 as the gap was once more back to just a single straight shot. That single Port goal deep into added time allowed the home side to be in front at the final change, a gap of three points. The Redlegs once again kicked into the lead after 12 minutes in the final term, but again the goal-shooting department was missing their mark and minutes later the Magpies had the lead again and this time didn't surrender it. Port would take out the chocolates in the end, kicking 3.1 to 2.3 to post a seven-point win. The young brigade I spoke of? The standout for Port was one Hugh Jackson, who notched up 23 disposals, 10 tackles and five clearances. Nik Rokahr was best for the Redlegs, with 24 disposals, eight tackles and seven clearances.

The final match to round out the Saturday would take place under the twilight sky and lights of Maughan Thiem Kia Oval in Woodville, where the Eagles clashed with the Double Blues. Its funny how last year's games turned out considering the Eagles didn't finish in the finals, but Sturt did. The Eagles were victorious in both games of 2022, with a 49-point beating at Unley in Round 8 and a seven-point win at Woodville in Round 18. That second encounter was a struggle and a half, with only 10 goals from 29 scoring shots. Long story short, the Eagles made more of their chances while the Blues butchered a lot of their own. The Eagles have won the past six games against the Blues, with that seven-point win the closest and 51 points the highest which was back in Round 2 of 2020. From last week's games, the Eagles dropped a third game on the trot with their loss to North, while the Blues were challenged by a plucky Centrals but got away with a three-point win at home. The Blues started off best with better accuracy on goal but perhaps could have had more on the board if not for some scrappy defending from the Eagles. A late goal kept the home side well within striking distance, the board reading 4.1 to 2.2 with the Blues leading by 11 points at the change. The accuracy went astray for the Blues in the second term, but the Eagles went missing for the bulk of the quarter as Sturt kicked out to a five-goal lead by the half-time siren having added 3.8 to 1.1. The goal-kicking yips would continue for the Blues, but for a big period of the third term the Eagles were still having trouble busting through the Sturt defenders. The Blues would kick to a lead of 40 points going into extra time after scoring 3.4 to two goals. But a trio of late majors to the home side had the gap back to 22 points at the final change. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they couldn't maintain the tempo in the last quarter, the Eagles could only match the Blues scoring with both teams kicking 2.2 to leave the three quarter-time deficit unchanged in the end. The Blues would continue their winning start to the season, winners by 22 points. James Battersby continues to lead by example, he was Sturt's best with 28 disposals, 12 clearances and seven tackles. The Eagles named Connor Ballenden as their standout, with 17 disposals, nine marks and five goals.


Saturday May 6
Adelaide 13.10 (88)
North Adelaide 5.11 (41)
1,509 @ Prospect Oval

Glenelg 13.8 (86)
South Adelaide 6.9 (45)
1,104 @ Flinders University Stadium, Noarlunga

Central District 8.12 (60)
West Adelaide 7.7 (49)
1,283 @ X-Convenience Oval, Elizabeth

Port Adelaide 8.10 (58)
Norwood 7.9 (51)
1,544 @ Alberton Oval

Sturt 12.15 (87)
Woodville-West Torrens 10.5 (65)
1,640 @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, Woodville

South -- Gibbs (broken thumb), O'Neill (shoulder)

South -- Dunkin (striking), Nye (rough conduct)
Port -- Moore (rough conduct)

Sturt -- 10pts (5-0-0), 59.9%
Adelaide -- 8pts (4-1-0), 64.8%
Glenelg -- 8pts (4-1-0), 57.9%
Central -- 6pts (3-2-0), 51%
North -- 6pts (3-2-0), 50.9%
Port -- 4pts (2-3-0), 42.6%
South -- 4pts (2-3-0), 42.2%
West -- 2pts (1-4-0), 46.2%
W-WT -- 2pts (1-3-0), 46.2%
Norwood -- 0pts (0-5-0), 35.9%

WEST END STATE SQUAD -- Training group selected
In contrast to previous years, the initial squad selections for the SANFL State Team has been done over this past week instead of probably a week or so ago, no doubt due to the interruption of the AFL Gather Round. New coach Jade Rawlings will put the group through their paces for the first time on Tuesday night (9/5) at Thebarton Oval, before finalising the side that will take on the West Australian Football League representative side on Friday May 19 at 3:10pm in a curtain raiser to the Port Adelaide vs. Melbourne match. There's also a new chairman of selectors, with seven-time Port Adelaide premiership player and Seven SANFL commentator Tim Ginever replacing Stephen Rowe on the panel. ”It really is a great honour,” Ginever said. ”I’ve still got all of my (State) guernseys, tracksuits, you name it, because it meant so much and it takes so much to be selected in those (State) teams. ”And then you want to honour it, so it means a lot to me to be back involved.” Joining Rawlings in the box will be assistants Jacob Surjan and Darren Reeves, while former state captain Paul Thomas will be doing running duties. Centrals' brothers of destruction James and Chris Gowans, together with Rick Macgowan will also be members of the coaching panel, as well as Adelaide’s SANFL captain Matthew Wright and North Adelaide premiership defender Mitch Clisby.

Central District -- Billy Iles, Jez McLennan
Glenelg -- Matt Allen, Brett Turner, Liam McBean, Lachlan Hosie, Darcy Bailey, Cam McGree, Max Proud
North Adelaide -- Noah Casalini, Cameron Craig, Harrison Wigg, Harrison Magor, Keenan Ramsey, Mitch Harvey, Frank Szekely
Norwood -- Harry Boyd
South Adelaide -- Mitch O'Neill, Sam Skinner, Eamon Wilkinson
Sturt -- Will Coomblas, Marty Frederick, Tom Lewis, Casey Voss, Patrick Wilson, Josh Hone, Connor McFadyen
West -- Josh Ryan
Woodville-West Torrens -- Mitch Hardie, Connor Ballenden, James Rowe, Joseph Sinor

Next weekend in Round 6...

Saturday May 13
Woodville-West Torrens vs. Central District; Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, Woodville @ 2:10pm
Glenelg vs. North Adelaide; Stratarama Stadium, Glenelg @ 2:10pm
Norwood vs. West Adelaide; Centenary Oval, Port Lincoln @ 2:10pm
Sturt vs. Adelaide; Wigan Oval, Unley @ 2:30pm

Sunday May 14 @ 2:10pm
Port Adelaide vs. South Adelaide; Alberton Oval

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

R-5, Ladder

Team GP PTS %
STURT 5 10 59.92
ADEL 5 8 64.84
GLEN 5 8 57.85
CENT 5 6 51.04
NORTH 5 6 50.94
PORT 5 4 42.56
SOUTH 5 4 42.19
WEST 5 2 46.22
W-WT 5 2 46.17
NORW 5 0 35.86


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