Thirty-three years between premiership drinks would have been playing on the minds of the Tigers faithful all week in the lead up to the final match, versus old foes Port Adelaide who had a side packed with 17 AFL listed players. The supporters were out in force in their black and gold gear and had the edge in numbers over the black and white (and confusingly often teal) brigade, with a match total just shy of 40,000 supporters on the day.
First blood of the day was drawn by finals series star Reynolds less than three minutes in, courtesy of a setup by Magarey champion Partington. Follow-ups by Nicholson, Close and Scott, combined with free running and hard tackling by the Bays had the Magpies stunned and the Tigers were up by 25 points at the first break. Unless the Magpies started getting in front instead of chasing guernseys, their fortunes were not going to change in a hurry.
Just a minute in to the second quarter, Reynolds had another major on the board, stretching the lead of the Tigers further. Their play out of the centre was direct and fast, and every time the Magpies had possession, Glenelg tackled hard or forced the error and turned the ball over. The Magpies finally had their first major via Tobin Cox at the 13th minute, and suddenly there was home made confetti and streamers on the ground like the classic matches at Football Park. Didn’t see any more for the rest of the day though, so sadly it seemed security put an end to celebrations of that type. The Tigers defence was desperate to not allow though any easy goals, and a fully extended touch by Joseph downgraded a certain goal by the Magpies to just a point. The Magpies had found their feet, but Frampton was hero/villain for them all day, putting down marks that should have been held and costing them opportunities that might have made all the difference. He finally held onto one and converted accurately for Port in the 19th minute to chip away at the Bays lead, but Motlop streamed out of nowhere to blast a reply at the 21st minute, leaving the Bays 19 points up at half time.
The third quarter opened much like the others, with a goal from Scott and a second from some Motlop magic on the boundary line within the first five minutes. Ladhams had an opportunity to quickly hit back but sprayed the kick, and Frampton’s lucky mark of the mess only earned Port another point. There was another chance for Glenelg after Scott received a knee to the face, but a point was all he could manage. Sutcliffe finally scored another major for Port, but another turnover by the Bays and greater numbers provided an opportunity for Partington to get on the board and stabilise the Tigers. Despite the stats showing that Port had more inside 50s, it really wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard and it was the Tigers who were watertight in the back lines and working the hardest. A captains pair of goals to Sutcliffe after a massive amount of work edged the Magpies closer, and the Bays lead had been kept to the same margin as half time – 19points.
The final quarter was set to be a cracking encounter with neither side able to convincingly pull away the match in their favour. The Bays were certainly hungrier, but wastefulness in front of goal had seen them squander the opportunity to really put the lights out for Port.
Straight out of the blocks, Scott muscled his way forward to slam the ball through for a goal. A desperate smother by Virgin and a smashing tackle by Joseph on Frederick characterised the hunger that Glenelg had for the ball all day. Tobin Cox scored a major 19 minutes in, but the Tigers held their defence well, denying the Magpies the opportunity to climb back into the game. A sealer by Motlop in the 25th minute had the black and gold army on their feet. A 28 point margin ended the premiership drought for the Bays in stunning fashion. Snook capped off the double, winning the Jack Oatey Medal as best player on the day, but it could have easily been any number of Tigers. Certainly a lot to celebrate at the Bays home ground after the match, and hopefully this is the start of the winning renaissance of this classic club.
Match report by Tony Polese