Gawler Central v Barossa District
The much anticipated grand final rematch lived up to the hype, but crowds were left unsure what to think, as Gawler Central and Barossa District could not be separated at the Dog Track on Saturday.
Reigning premiers Barossa remain top of the table, but the red, white and blue could not do enough to ruin the party for Tigers captain Clint Hill on his 250th, kicking 7.18 to hang on to a unsatisfying draw.
“I said to the boys after I wasn’t really saw what to think about it (the draw),” Barossa coach Todd Miles said.
“It was a tight game, (Gawler Central’s) pressure was really good around the footy and we were fumbly in the first half,” Barossa coach Todd Miles said.
“But it was our goal kicking that let us down – we kicked 2.6 in the third quarter and two out on the full.”
It was an odd match from the start with the first and only major of the opening term the result of a Tigers free kick straight in front of goal.
Miles credited the Tigers strong pressure and attack at the ball during the first term to his side’s lack of early scoreboard pressure, and solid passages of play showed the Tigers have plenty to offer this season.
“We weren’t really sure what to expect (from Gawler Central), they used the ball well,” he said.
The Tigers had set up a 21-point lead by the main break, but the Dogs responded well in the third term to reduce the margin to three at the final change.
However, the Dogs had every chance to reclaim the lead, recording eight scoring shots to one in the quarter.
Clint Hill (three goals) and Luke Edwards (two) dominated the forward lines for the Tigers, while Alan Obst (three) was the only multiple goal-kicker for the Dogs.
Miles, Jarrod Traynor and Ben Cummings were everywhere for Barossa, while big man Tyson Duffield, Andrew Wright and Alexander Robertson were best for the Tigers.
South Gawler v Willaston
It was another close game between the Lions and the Donnybrooks at Eldred Riggs Reserve, with the latter coming away with a narrow, three-point win.
Star Donnys recruit Michael Howson (two goals) clinched the winner in red time for a victory on veteran Matthew Brooks 200th – a win the struggling side needed to have, coach Mal Greenwood said.
“It was a solid game of footy from both sides and that’s what you’re going to get this season, anyone can beat anyone,” he said.
“It was a win we needed to have in terms of competing with the top sides.
“We can compete, but we just have lapses that we need to control because we know we are capable of winning those close games.
“It was a relief to get one out of the way and instill that confidence.”
South Gawler caught Willaston napping to start, taking an 18-point lead into the first term, but, the visitors got to work in the second term, scoring six goals to one to claim a 15-point margin at the main break.
It was an arm wrestle all match according to Willaston coach Mal Greenwood, which became more apparent in the second half.
There was just a kick in it at the final change, but the Donnys showed the grit needed to get over the line, an outstanding feat given Greenwood played three senior colts.
“Jackson Phillips, Lachlan McCluskey and Zac East, the 15-year-old, all played under 17s too and did well – so it shows we’re thinking two, three and four years down the track,” he said.
“Hopefully we can settle the side for the second half of the year.”
Jackson Press (three goals) was best for the Lions, while Blake O’Halloran was strong in support.
Nuriootpa v Kapunda
Kapunda’s purple patch continues after registering a 22-point away win over Nuriootpa.
The Bombers performance was inconsistent, they started strong, off to a 19-point lead early, but a five goal to two second half, and a number of missed opportunities from the visitors reduced the deficit to three points at half-time.
However, the yoyo continued into the third term, Kapunda piling on 6.3 to 1.2 to set up a 34-point lead going into the final term, keeping the Tigers at bay long enough to get over the line.
“Kapunda played well in the first quarter, then Nuri in the second, then Kapunda in the third and it was enough to run the game out – a win’s a win," Kapunda coach Mick McCarthy said.
“We lost our way a bit in the second quarter, we probably thought we’d done enough in the first quarter.
“Nuri made the most of its opportunities in the second and Kapunda missed some basic shots, but we tightened up and moved the ball better and held them out.
“The club’s going alright though, we’ve won five in a row… we’ve just got to win the 50/50 games, get into finals and roll the dice.”
Justin Zanandrea top-scored for the Bombers with four goals, Cam Matters was dominant across half-back, while Brodhi Carracher was strong on the wing, slotting two majors.
Nuri had a string of contributors in front of the big sticks, but Alec Bryce (two goals) was best in a losing side.
Tanunda v Angaston
As far as cross-town rivals go none come much closer than Tanunda and Angaston – the black and white belted its visitors by 83 points, fronted by an 11-goal outing from star recruit Josh Trembath.
Tanunda welcomed its captain Ben Schiller back into the side from a hamstring injury and started strong, taking a 13-point margin into the first change.
However, the second term would not be much better for the Panthers, as the Magpies ruck – Angus Kurtze, Ryan Bignell and Nick Schmidt dominated the centre clearances to take the home to a 46-point lead by the main break.
A Trembath-led charge pushed the foot down for the Pies in the second half to run out convincing winners – a pleasing effort according to their coach Craig Griffiths.
"It was a good win for us – we were very keen, we were back at home, we were 3-4 and we wanted to finish the round 4-4,” he said.
“It was tight early, Angaston attacked the ball hard, but about halfway through we started dominating the centre clearances and a strong ruck with your forward firing, Trembath was fantastic with 11 (goals), even the back was strong too with Parker Neldner and Joel Griffiths – we just took the game on a bit better.”
Griffiths said he hoped this would be the start of a season revival for the Pies.
“It was a frustrating first half (of the season) with injury playing a big effect, but it’s a very even competition and it should be a very interesting second round.”