Currently in the top four on the Barossa, Light and Gawler football premiership table, currently with five wins, Willaston took three quarters to shake off cellar-dweller, the Panthers, at the Angus Recreation Park on Saturday.
In the final game of round one of the season, Angaston grabbed an early ascendancy,led by two points at half-time and were still in the contest at lemons, but Willaston’s five goals to one in the last quarter ensured a comfortable 20-point triumph.
The final score was Willaston 14.8 (92) defeating Angaston 10.12 (72)
“We have five or six of what I would class as our top 10 players on the sidelines - Ash Fry, Clint Voigt, Sam Walton, Shaun Childs and Tyson Irlam - who was playing for the Crows SANFL side,” Willaston coach Malcolm Greenwood said.
“In my eyes Stewie (Ferenci) was best on ground and gave our midfield group, which in this game included Matt Brooks, Brodie Cormack and Josh Waldhuter, first use of the ball.
“We went up to Angaston to get the points and came away with them, which was all we were looking for.
“Angaston were competitive in patches, but we started to get the ascendancy back late in the opening term.
“From that point always thought we had enough to control the game.
“We've had an unsettled side of the last month and have a number of important personnel on the sidelines.
“The weather wasn't pretty and once we started to peg them back I thought we would get what we came for.”
Big ruckman Stuart Ferenci dominated the game, as did the evergreen Shawn Baker, who is back to close to career best form and six-goal forward Michael Howson starred for the Donnybrooks.
Matthew Brooks was impressive through the middle and Michael Clinch rebounded strongly all day across half-back while Jaylen Dunk is continuing to grow as a footballer under Greenwood’s tutelage.
For Angaston, former Sturt Footballer James Paprotny was their best, followed by Lachie Duell, veteran Craig Harvey and Tommy Ryan, who were the better contributors.
Daniel Rathjen kicked three goals for the Panthers and Joel Wilson was also handy.
Along with Michael Howson’s six goals, Scott White and Baker both kicked two goals for the victors. Former Blyth-Snowtown Cat Alex Brackstone and Jaden Antoni both kicked a pair for the hosts.
Gawler Central v Kapunda
In modest conditions, statistically Gawler Central produced its best performance for the year, going down to a team contending for finals, Kapunda, by just 17 points.
While the Bombers were highly inaccurate kicking nine goals and 19 behinds (73), Gawler Central finished with 8.8 (56).
The Gawler Tigers were certainly within striking distance only being seven points behind at the three quarter time break and Kapunda didn't help its cause by kicking three goals, eight behinds in the second quarter alone, before the rain came.
Kapunda coach David ‘Crocky’ Leslie said it was not a ‘pretty’ game..
“We didn't kick straight and Cameron Matters alone kicked 2.5 until half-time from centre,” he said.
“It then bucketed down at half-time and was pretty slippery from there on in.
“Gawler Centrals really gave a crack and we weren’t helped by losing Adam Turrell with a groin injury during the second quarter.
“I felt after half-time we were defensively not accountable enough from my perspective it was pretty disappointing effort, but we got the points which is what it was all about in the end.
“We were also not helped by Joey Brown doing his hamstring playing with the Crows on Sunday.
Along with Cameron Matters, the better players for the Bombers were Mark Cussadia and Matthew Parslow, who kicked three goals.
Jay Meaney, Bradley Matters and Aaron Whistler, who shouldered all the ruck responsibilities across the second half, were also solid performers while Brad Prior also kicks a couple of goals.
Gawler Central’s top three performers were Dylan Pilkington, captain Corey Solly and Luke Edwards.
Kyle Wurst and Ashley Johnson worked hard all day and long-term defender Ryan Wenham was solid up forward with a couple of goals. Blayke Lane also chimed in with a pair of majors for the Tigers.
South Gawler v Barossa District
Delivering a massive 86-point victory, Barossa District returned to the top of the premiership ladder after annihilating South Gawler at Eldred Riggs Reserve on Saturday.
Against the breeze in the opening term the Bulldogs kick 5.2 and they were 9.7 to 1.7 at half-time.
After a tough third quarter the Bulldogs ran out victors 17.12 (114) to South Gawler a modest 3.10 (28).
Barossa playing coach Todd Miles said South kicked with the breeze in the first quarter but his defence line was good and the midfield got on top.
“Our pressure was good all day and it was a pretty solid all-round four-quarter effort.
“Everyone kept hunting the football and up forward our targets in ‘Shilly’ (Darren Shillabeer), Giles (O’Driscoll) and Oscar (Barnett) were great.
“We've actually been playing some pretty solid football since the Angaston game.”
Along with Todd Miles, who should have collected 12 umpires votes in the last four rounds, midfielder Ryan Watson and Giles O'Driscoll were the Bulldogs’ best.
Across half back Nathan Emes and Nathan Casboult were exceptional, as was recruit Russell Clark, who played across half-forward with stints in the middle.
Barossa’s big three up forward Darren Shillabeer (four) Giles O'Driscoll (four) and Oscar Barnett (two) kicked 10 goals between them.
Both Jack Schuurmans and Jarrod Traynor also chimed in with a pair of majors each.
South had just three individual goal kickers while Nick White and Ben Washington were the better performers.
Both Lions leader Jackson Dare and Nathan Bartsch had their moments as well.
Tanunda v Nuriootpa
The Tigers had their best win of the season, defeating Tanunda in a tough and uncompromising game by nine points on the Magpies; home ground.
Nuriootpa had engineered a 24-point lead half-time and then survived Tanunda’s seven goal third-quarter charge but was still holding a slender lead at lemons.
With the game on the line, Nuriootpa found a way to collect an important win with the final score Nuri 11.13 (79) defeating Tanunda 11.4 (72).
“It was pretty scrappy and tough football and we played well from the start,” Tigers coach Henry Slattery said.
“I believe, in the conditions, the way we played the game and our pressure was excellent.
“It was important for us to have a good physical presence early and the momentum chopped and change through the game.
“We kicked a couple of clutch goals through Scott Bentley and a long bomb from Bobby Raikiwasa.
“...In games like this it's the team that wants the footy most that usually wins.”
Nuri’s Aseri “Bobby” Raikiwasa was clearly the Tigers best followed by recruit Scott Bentley and fellow midfielder Jackson Baldwin.
Zac Dahms produced a lot of strong defensive pressure up forward while Asera “Magic” Raikiwasa and Shawn Gibson were cool and composed in defence.
Ryan Foulis kicked three goals for Nuriootpa while Aseri Raikiwasa and Sam Gordon both kick two goals for Nuriootpa.
Athletic ruckman Angus Kurtz was the Magpies’ best, followed by Riley McPharlane.
Tanunda’s other solid performers included Darcy Harmon, young Bailey Smith and assistant coach Matthew Prior.
Josh Trembath kicked two goals but was kept under control by Luke Jaunay, while Ben Schiller and Andrew Prior also kicked multiple goals for the Magpies.
- Peter Argent