Old rivals to duel in match of the round
By Jayden Hill
The SANFL has many great and traditional rivalries such as – The Bays and Magpies or The Redlegs and Magpies. But one that means so much to both supporter groups is the rivalry between the Norwood and Sturt Football clubs. Both these teams have had some close contests, no more popular than the 1978 Grand Final, where the Redlegs were victorious by 1 point, with a controversial mark to Norwood’s Phil Gallagher who slotted the match winning goal! That match made one of Australian Footballs best rivalries even stronger.
This weekend that old rivalry is revisited, with the Redlegs hosting the Double Blues, and it is firming up to be a fantastic contest at the parade. Both teams sit on 10 points and are just sitting outside the top four.
The Redlegs were up and about with a fantastic 40-point win to the first-placed Eagles in Round 10, being their best win for the season so far. The Redlegs smashed the Eagles in the disposal count by 103 touches, giving the Eagles only their second loss for the year, with Norwood looking like a team that could squeeze into finals and do some damage. Unfortunately for Jarrod Cotton the momentum did not carry through to last Saturday where they went down by 13 points to the bottom-placed Centrals. The Redlegs who lead at three-quarter-time, won the clearances and the Hit outs and had 17 more inside 50’s, but could not get the job done. Richard Douglas gathered a whopping 37 disposals in a side that lost the Disposal count. The Redlegs have played some good football this year with Richard Douglas and Sam Baulderstone having fantastic seasons. Douglas is third in the league with disposals averaging 26.5 while Baulderstone is leading the league in Hit-outs with 412. A positive for Norwood in the last three weeks has been their second quarters, averaging 5 goals in the second term.
The Double Blues on the other hand, surprised the Panthers on Saturday with a 33-point win at Peter Motley Oval! A tight tussle most of the day, Sturt kicked four goals to record their second straight win. Sam Colquhoun continued his solid season claiming first best and collecting a game high 30 disposals. Colquhoun alongside skipper Battersby have been prolific for the Double Blues this season, who average 25.2 and 26.3 disposals per game for the season respectively. Mark Evans has top scored for the Double Blues on the scoreboard the last two weeks, bagging five goals the last fortnight. Players such as Guy Page, Steven Slimming and Jack Henderson have been impressive in their last two wins. A positive sign for coach Nathan Grima has been their dominance in the inside 50 count, winning the count four out of the last five weeks. Since their Round nine loss to the Eagles, Sturt have also won the disposal and marking count, so the Double Blues will be looking to be dominant in those areas on Friday night against the Redlegs.
Every week of this unorthodox SANFL season brings us many surprises, with it being impossible to predict what is going to happen next. If there is anything that this SANFL season and the year 2020 has taught us, it is to expect the unexpected.
The Redlegs have won the last 5 against the Double Blues including a nail biter last time they met at the parade, where they won by five points. I think this game will again be an absolute nail biter under the Friday night lights at Coopers stadium.
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