SANFL Round 1 Double Header
Sunday June 28th, Adelaide Oval
Match Reviews by Sarah List
Match 1: North Adelaide 15.6.96 d West Adelaide 10.7.67
After a three month delay, the SANFL finally kicked off to a socially distanced crowd that was excited for Round one. In an altered season without the Adelaide and Port Adelaide sides (what’s an SANFL season without Port?), eight clubs were left to challenge for the premiership. North and West burst out of the blocks, both looking like they had been champing at the bit to get started. The opening quarter saw tight tagging and relentless pressure in a see-sawing affair that saw goals traded one for one, with the Roosters leading by a solitary point at quarter time. The second quarter was equally intense, with both sides missing opportunities to score. Westies passing, however, was on point, and their accuracy was rewarded with an early goal. North continued to answer every Westies score, and Lebois produced some magic to sneak a reply sideways through the big sticks. Three more follow-ups by the Roosters had them stretched to the biggest lead of the match of 18 points and was the first display of domination by either side for the afternoon. This was not to last though, and the Bloods clawed two goals back to head into half time trailing by just five points. The third quarter proved to be the turning point for the match, with North scoring four goals to Wests solitary one. Wests started to lose focus, and their tough matchups did not provide rewards as they rushed passes that lacked accuracy and were rapidly turned over by Norths more direct play. The differences in the sides were reflected in the scores with North stretching their lead to 23 points at the final change, and the questions was – could the Bloods pull themselves together for the final quarter and close the gap? The first goal went North’s Szekely and you just wondered whether psychologically, that was the nail in the coffin for West. The Bloods looked slow, and continued to miss their mark, and Norths really applied the pressure by nailing themselves to their man and providing no clean opportunities for possession by West. West Adelaide overhandled the ball whenever it was in possession, and squandered opportunities to get back in touch. A goal to the red and black was immediately matched by North and the lead soon ballooned to 35 points. Hupfield’s three goals in the final term ensured that the lead did not stretch further to North, but pairs by Hender and Szekely ensured a Roosters win by 29 points and stamped their authority on the season early.
Match 2: Glenelg 11.10.76 d Norwood 10.13.73
2019 was a real battleground year for the Norwood/Glenelg rivalry, with the Tigers impressively running away with the premiership after an outstanding season.
The match opened with Norwood dominating possession, but in front of goal Glenelg were more effective. The teams traded goals for the first few minutes, before Norwood took control and assaulted their forward line with four goals and another four missed opportunities for goals. The first quarter ended with the underdogs 22 points ahead and the Tigers seemingly rattled. The second quarter saw intense pressure applied by both sides, but the Tigers had the fumbles and Pinyon made them pay for their mistakes. Twenty seven points in favour of the ‘Legs. Glenelg suddenly woke up and the game turned with three majors in a row, including a McBean monster from 55 metres out. McBean had been a real thorn in the side of the Legs in 2019, and the signs were ominous that 2020 was going to play out much the same way. With just 8 points in it, Bampton snuck one home for the Legs, and it was a 16 point game at half time. Scoring in the third quarter was absolutely dominated by Glenelg. The pressure and body work applied by Norwood, however, resulted in five of eight shots from the Tigers yielding just a point. The Redlegs were still in the match at the final break, trailing by one straight kick. The final quarter went down to the wire with Norwood equalizing in the first five minutes via Pinyon. A lucky fall of the ball in the Glenelg square at the feet of McBean resulted in a swift reply and scores were back to the Tigers in front by six. From here all of the action was in the Norwood 50, and intense pressure from both sides forced a flurry of rushed behinds and wild kicks that missed the big sticks – back to a three point gap. The teams played goal tag again, see-sawing the gap between three and nine points and the match was suddenly in time-on with no clear dominating side. The last six scores were an equal number of goals from both sides, and while Norwood certainly had opportunities, Glenelg showed how to control the final minutes through effective team possession and passing. It’s always heartbreaking for a side to be beaten by the clock, but Norwood went down fighting to the Tigers by a wafer thin three points. Both teams showed they have real teeth and fight for the start of the 2020 season, and match fitness will only improve over the next few weeks, and they will no doubt be pushing for the top finals births based on the weekend’s display. McBean and Bailey showed they would be trouble up front for any opposition. The Norwood v North Adelaide match next weekend should be a ripper.
Round 2 will see unrestricted access to tickets for club members for another pair of double headers Saturday and Sunday at Adelaide Oval, and Round 3 is expected to move back to the suburban grounds. Remember – if you can’t make it to the matches, you can purchase an SANFL Digital Pass to see all the action of every match, wherever you may be and whatever time you are able to catch up.