Two of the competitions heavyweights, Barossa District and Nuriootpa Tigers, fought out an intriguing clash in the penultimate round of the BLG football 2018 campaign.
Kicking with the aid of a significant wind in the first quarter, Barossa District missed a number of opportunities, kicking 1.7, while their opponents snagged a late goal to give them some confidence going into the initial break.
In the second term the Nuri Tigers slammed on 4.5, while the Bulldogs could only managed two points and then the Tigers set up the win kicking two goals to 1.3 in the telling third quarter.
Nuriootpa won the game 10.6 (66) to Barossa District 5. 15 (45), a 21-point margin.
Tigers coach Henry Slattery confirmed the wind was really strong, blowing towards the northern end and north eastern side of the ground.
“It's fair to say that Barossa Districts didn't capitalise on opportunities in the first quarter and we grabbed one near the close of the term,” he said.
“The third quarter was huge for us; we nullified them and set up the victory.
“It was really quite satisfying to come away with the win in really tough and tricky conditions.
“We had a number of strong contributors on the day and in the conditions our straight kicking was another bonus.”
Bradley Hoepner, across half back, was the Tigers best, followed by the midfield trio of Aseri “Bobby” Raikiwasa, Aaron Laverty and 2018 recruit Scott Bentley.
Tigers on-field leader Luke Jaunay was strong in defence as well.
Up forward, the strong marking Ryan Foulis and big Sam Gordon both kicked three goals.
Big ‘Bobby Raikiwasa pushed forward and also hit the scoreboard finishing with two majors for the Tigers as well.
For Barossa Districts, its better players included the consistent Ben Cummings, playing coach Todd Miles, Darren Shillabeer and in his return game at A grade level, Alex Stone.
Shillabeer kicked all of the Bulldogs five goals in the game.
Barossa is now consigned to a first semi-final berth while the Tigers have a chance of finishing as minor premiers if they win this weekend against top-placed Tanunda.
Gawler Central v Tanunda
Tanunda was happy to get the job done, travelling to the Dog Track and playing an improved Gawler Central outfit.
At half-time the Magpies had eked out a 16-point lead which gradually increased in the second half.
The final score was Tanunda 11. 8 (74) to Gawler Centrals 7.11 (53), winning its 11th game of season.
Tanunda coach Dean Terlich said he was happy to get away with the win.
“Gawler Centrals have improved their game dramatically from the last time we play them,” he said.
“They certainly clog the game up and go themselves the best chance of winning the game by insuring it was a tight affair in close.
“Still I thought our boys hunted the ball well and really had a crack at the contest.
“I felt we held the ball in our forward line for the majority of the game.
“Their defence was pretty solid and our forward had to work hard for their goals.”
Senior player Andrew Prior was strong in defence while Leigh Westhoff won plenty of the ball and would have had upwards of 40 possessions.
Angus Kurtze had an interesting duel in ruck against young Tiger Tyson Duffield but his work in general play as an extra on-baller was outstanding.
Terlich had a special word for veteran Ryan Bignell and his ability to win the ‘in and under’ ball, while Parker Neldner and Brett Dowse on a wing were also noteworthy for the visitors.
Andrew Wright was Gawler Central’s best followed by 100-gamer Luke Edwards.
At full back Casey Thomas made Josh Trembath work hard for each of this goals and midfielder Brad Hunt and up and coming talent Jamie Wegener both had their moments as well.
High class recruit from Salisbury North Anthony Morgante was also noteworthy.
For the Magpies the competition’s leading goal kicker, Josh Trembath, finished with three goals and now has 85 for the season.
The trio of Terlich, Matthew Westhoff an older brother Leigh both kicked two.
Hunt and Morgante also kicked two each for the Tigers.
South Gawler v Freeling
Freeling has finished with a better win-loss ratio than they did last year when they made the finals and actually won through to the preliminary final.
Depending on a tribunal verdict on Wednesday they look unlikely to see major round action.
In their final game for the minor round they defeated South Gawler by a comfortable 57-point margin.
Strong early in the game against a stiff breeze they were within two goals at quarter time and with six unanswered goals in the second quarter set up the victory.
This was further enhance by keeping South Gawler to one goal for in the third quarter and the Redlegs would go on to win 12.22 (92) to 4.11 (35).
“South had the wind in the first quarter would have been a five to six goal breeze towards the scoreboard end,” coach Dutschke said.
“It was a fantastic effort by the team defensively in the first quarter, which had a telling impact on the result.
“We kicked a heap of points in the last quarter and really should have won by more.
“The group is playing pretty good football at the moment, although we were a little wayward in front of goals late.
“It’s been a strong environment around the club over the last month and to collect one more win than we did in the minor round in 2017 shows the growth of the club and the growth of the competition over the last 12 months.”
Besides his coaching, Dutschke is also leading by example on the field, producing another best on ground performance.
Midfielder Josh Hand, experienced defender Adrian Wilson and forward Benjamin Heinrich, with five goals, had a telling impact on the game.
Joel Cochrane and the ultra-consistent Jayden Ruediger were others to impress in the big Redlegs win.
For the Lions, defender Brayden Lehman was their best, followed by former Central District league footballer Paul Marshall and recruit Joseph Hay.
Brodie Hudson competed well in ruck, while Jackson Press also had his moments and young Darcy Judd-Smith worked hard on his wing.
Angaston v Kapunda
In their trip across the valley to Angaston, Kapunda collected a sixth win for the season beating the bottom-placed Panthers by a 26-point margin.
The visitors had 14 scoring shots to seven in the first half and led by 17 points at the long interval, before going on to win 12.13 (85) to 9.5 (59).
Kapunda coach David Leslie said he always felt like his team was in control of the contest.
“We started pretty well and played some good football kicking towards the netball courts end of the ground with a handy breeze,” Leslie said .
“Angaston never really threatened and we did what we had to do to get the points.
“We still had plenty of ball ourselves in the last quarter, but didn't put it on the scoreboard and the final result may be flattered the Panthers a little.”
Joey Brown and Brad Williams dominated through the midfield for the Bombers, while Kallum Brown was in total control at centre half back.
Max Neville closed down Andrew Pech and Brad Prior was a good option is a midfielder/forward kicking 4.5.
Prior has proved to be a pretty good avenue to goal all year.
Brad Matters also gave the Bombers run as well, while veteran Brad Valentine kicked a couple of goals.
For Angaston, Jack Miles was outstanding in the middle, winning plenty of clearances and Matthew Blenkiron was competitive in ruck as well as other big man roles.
Jordan Falkenberg, Ryan Carnelly and Ryder Eberhard kicked two goals and John ‘JJ’ Roesler was serviceable as well.
Developing talent Ross Kuhn kicked three goals for the Panthers.