Glenelg wont contain dominant Rooster outfit
By Nick Blewett
Gee North Adelaide were excellent in their dismantling of the lacklustre Redlegs on Saturday. The first possession of the match was telling: Norwood had the first hitout to the advantage of a North player on his own in the centre circle, for an immediate clearance. In hindsight, the match was over after the first term; North’s quarter time lead only increased as the game went on. Lewis Hender bagging three of those five first-quarter goals – He kicked them from the left, he kicked them from the right, and later he kicked them from outside the arc, the premiership small forward putting on a set-shot clinic.
Kym Lebois got the Roosters properly started with a clever interception, then a second effort; squeezing through the Redlegs defenders for a goal on the run. It set the tone for a day where all in the Roosters forward half had their fill, Ben Jarman contributing with a long bomb that pleased plenty of the Prospect faithful. As predicted, Alex Spina had another prolific day of rebounding from half back.
Across town, Joel Cross was instrumental in South’s dismantling of the reigning premiers at their home ground, ending as the standout winner of the first John Schneebichler award for best on ground. Cross did everything right, starting with the makeshift coin toss, his Panthers kicking away to an early lead that was likewise ample by quarter time. The early statement came from Cross himself, with a long-and-strong shot from 60 metres out clearing the goal line with ease, and a little breeze.
Glenelg were guilty of not adapting to the conditions quickly enough, with their shots on goal routinely dropping short, and their inside 50s drifting into the pocket. Nine unanswered goals came from an hour of dominance by the Panthers, bookending a six-goal 3rd quarter with that fateful breeze. The last 4 goals to the Bays rejuvenated the score line a little, but it was the premiership quarter that hurt the premiership incumbents the most.
When Glenelg found room in the corridor they went forward decisively, kicking a couple of satisfying end-to-end goals last week. What was not satisfying for coach Mark Stone was the plethora of turnovers his team caused exiting from the back half, even from regulation kick ins. It must have been frustrating for the home crowd to see the ball movement stifled at every turn, by forward press, organised defence, and the elements.
The Bays do not need to make significant changes to confront the Roosters – they stopped Norwood dead in their tracks last fortnight and are in reasonable form to do the same to North Adelaide. It will hinge on their ability to clear the contest quickly and efficiently, and Matthew Snook is still leading by example: taking that extra half-second in traffic to find a man free, outside the on-ball bubble. Glenelg too often quarantined/ congested themselves on the wings, which goes against their style of play – they lost the kick count by 30 from equal possession. The only time they should bring the ball to ground is at the feet of Liam McBean in the forward line, who had an admittedly quiet game. Even the brawniest of forwards cannot slot goals from outside 50 against the wind. The teams at the top of the ladder balance brain and brawn. If the Bays cannot contain the Roosters this Sunday at Prospect, the gap at the top will widen and South can setup shop in third position.
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