A Grade – Barossa V Willaston
Taking control in the third quarter Willaston ran away with an impressive 46-point win over the reigning premier, Barossa District at Kapunda Oval in the elimination first semi-final last Saturday.
The game was even in the first quarter, but Williston kicking towards the stadium end slammed on five goals in the second term and had a handy 18-point lead at the long interval.
This increased to over four goals at three quarter time and they slammed the door on Barossa’s season and “triple crown” hopes with six more goals in the last quarter.
Each of the last quarter goals sparked jubilant celebrations by the Willaston faithful.
Now playing with plenty of momentum and collecting a seventh consecutive win, Willaston have comfortably progressed to the penultimate game of the year with a 19.11 (125) to 12.7 (79) first semi-final victory.
“It was a massive total team-orientated effort,” Willaston coach Shaun Baker said.
“As I’ve said previously we have got a real brotherhood going at the moment.
“I felt the first half was played more on Barossa’s terms and in the third quarter we stop being stagnant and started to play quick football, which broke the game open.
“Our backs six again were outstanding and a bit of a barometer of the team I feel.
“Guys like the ever reliable Matthew Brooks, ‘Childsy’ (Shaun Childs), ‘Clinchy’ (Michael Clinch), (Alex) Barclay and young Jackson Phillips, who we push down back as a small defender we’re all good.
“Actually we had a number of players who stood up over the course of the game.
“The senior players like Sam Walton, Tyson (Irlam) and ‘Wally’ (Josh Waldhuter) were very good.”
“That’s the first week kicked off and we still got another couple pieces of the puzzle to go to get the job done.
“We weren’t helped by losing Stuart Ferenci with a broken arm midway through the second quarter.”
Across half back the SANFL league experienced indigenous talent Michael Clinch was outstanding as was former Central District player Josh Waldhuter, current captain and Crows top up player Tyson Irlam.
Playing a role in ruck against Todd Miles, Brayden Coombs competed tremendously and did a good job when taking over from Stuart Ferenci, against an elite opponent.
Shaun Childs was solid in defence while Adam Connolly had his moments as well.
Impressively Willaston had no less than 13 separate goal kickers with former Barracker “Player of the Year” Ash Fry and the mercurial left footer Michael Howson kicking three each while Irlam and Waldhuter chimed in with two.
Barossa didn’t have enough personnel to complete against the breadth of playing talent Willaston delivered.
Coach Todd Miles was clearly the Bulldogs’ best player while Jarrod Trayner and Nathan Emes both competed well.
Around the ball, big bodied midfielder Ben Cummings and Michael Bratton won their share of possessions while Jack Shuurmans was handy as well.
Key Bulldogs tall target in attack, Alan Obst and Darren Shillabeer kicking three and two goals respectively although beaten on the day.
The Donnybrooks will be ready and waiting for the loser of the second semi-final clash between Tanunda and Nuriootpa at Angaston Oval on Preliminary Final day.
Reserves – Tanunda V South Gawler
In the reserves first semi-final the experience of the Tanunda side proved way too much for South Gawler.
The magpies were already 39 points up at half-time and would go on to win this game by a significant seven-goal margin.
The final score was Tanunda 12.8 (80) to South Gawler 6.2 (38).
The experience of the Magpies outfit with three high-credentialed A Grade premiership players Luke Wells in ruck, hard working inside midfielder Ryan Bignell and Justin Ward were among the Magpies best players.
Ryan Owen was best on ground in what was comfortably his best performance so far this year.
Lachlan Kemp and Ben Biagi also had strong outings.
Tom Falkenberg was a great avenue to goal with four majors, while Callum Michael kicked three and Stuart Gregory chimed in with a pair.
For South, Jacob Ahern was their best player in defence, followed by the highly experienced midfielder Matthew Foldersdy.
Tommy Lee, Dylan Schwerdt Ben Rolton and Andrew Mahoney were all strong contributors for the vanquished. Jonothan Costa kicked two of his team six goals in yet another first semi final loss by the Lions reserves in recent seasons.
Senior Colts – Angaston V Willaston
Opponents for the second week in a row Angaston and Willaston played off in this Senior Colts elimination game in diverse and wet conditions at Kapunda Oval.
The Panthers created an early lead with four-goals-to-two in the opening quarter and were still four points up at half-time, although Willaston looked to be starting to gain an ascendancy.
The Donnybrooks exerted their influence in the physical third quarter kicking 3.5 while keeping the Panthers score-less is and going on to win this game that had a number of spot-fires by 21 points.
In a reversal of the previous week’s result, the final score was Willaston 8.11 (59) defeating Angaston 6.2 (38).
In this encounter Aidan Pointon was classy while Jacob Baker and Nick Lehman both had strong games.
James Goddard, the industrious Takudzwa Dzimano and Brayden Wilkin also were key figures in the Donnybrook win.
Zac East took a couple of towering marks up forward and kicks three goals while Wilkin chimed in with the pair.
Best player for Angaston was Harry Clarkson followed by Alistair Linke and defender Jesse Slade.
Jacob Fiebiger, Ben Burgemeister and Anthony Coyne were solid and all tried hard against the growing odds.
Ned Grieve and the heavily tagged Dylan Tuckwell kicked two goals each for the Panthers.
Junior Colts – Tanunda V Willaston
Willaston had a clean sweep of victories on Saturday winning all three of their first semi-final knockout games they participated in.
This started with a Junior Colts (Under 15) victory over Tanunda in the opening game of the 2018 finals series.
The junior Donnybrooks they were simply dominant from the outset.
In an outstanding individual game, big man Saxon Evans, who recently played for the Adelaide Crows in an academy match, dominated across the entirety of the contest.
Willaston went on to win this match handsomely, 8.12 (60) to Tanunda 1.5 (11).
Along with Evans towering effort, Tahjin Krieg kick five goals to be high the best players as well the trio of Lachlan Wilkin, Tate Stringer and Bevan Cross all where constructive and hardworking.
For Tanunda, Shay Linke was their best followed by Tate Manning and Bailey Pink.
Jake Noack and Josh Hoklas continued to work hard against the odds for the Magpies.