Panthers to finally end Norwood’s season
By Kym Kelly
Most games this week gave expected results, with the Eagles and North cementing the top 2 spots the battle for 3rd and 4th still remains alive with the Redlegs sitting one game out of finals the next two weeks will play out to be a tight finish. Norwood will need to win both games to fall into the top 4 also relying on other results.
The Bays will seem to have the easiest draw with Centrals and Sturt. Norwood have South and west while the real test is for the Panthers who will have the chance to lock it in this week against the Legs followed up with North in two week’s time.
After a slip up 2 weeks ago against Sturt the injury ridden Panthers looked almost cooked for the year, being at the game they were chasing all day and really struggled to get their running game going on the smaller Unley Oval. Friday night saw South rebound into great form with a crushing win over West Adelaide catapulting them back into third spot. With players returning and both games to be played at home on the large Noarlunga Oval, will be looking to get some form going into finals. Friday night was a slow start for South with the Bloods going into Quarter time on top, and that’s where it ended for Westies. South went on and kicked 16 of the next 22 goals, and again could have been more if not for in efficiency with the ball. West were dominated by South’s mids again who this year have been amongst the best in the competition. Yet again veteran Joel Cross played some great footy gaining another 26 disposals and a further 3 goals to his tally this year at the age of 33 averaging at least 1 goal per game is proving to be a headache for the opposition each week and sure to poll well in the Magarey medal. Joe Haines across half back again was flawless and is having a great year backed up by Broadbent, Heaslip, Schwarz and Ruckman Paul Hunter who is proving to be a great asset after coming back last year with Adelaide. Hunter was too much for the young ruck Andre Parrella who looks like he may be a shining light for the Bloods as he gains more and more experience.
West Adelaide will be disappointed after leading up until 10 minutes into the second quarter, as mentioned before South really took control of the game from then on showing the crowd under lights Friday night. They are capable playing some great running football and come finals time may be hard to catch on the bigger ovals.
This weeks game against the Redlegs is crucial for both teams and will no doubt have a finals type atmosphere. Norwood’s form this year has been inconsistent and are hard to read. Two weeks ago going down to struggling Centrals and this week only just getting over the line against Sturt who it must be said seem to on the improve. Yet three rounds ago managed to
knock off ladder leaders the Eagles. Last time these two teams met was round 7 at the Parade that saw the Legs get on top by just 4 points seeming to control that game in the hit outs and clearances, South were without ruck Paul Hunter that day and this week may be a different story at Noarlunga. Both sides capable of kicking a winning score with strong marking
forwards and goal kicking mids. Both have considerable injury list, it will be a mid field battle Norwood’s Ryan Bastinac, Dom Barry, Richard Douglas v Cross, Schwarz, Heaslip. Liam Fitt out for the season with a knee is another blow for South but the return of Tom Highmore to get some game time back into his legs comes at the right time for the Panthers. I’m looking forward to seeing some of South’s younger brigade this week create some run on the larger oval and take things to the next level.
Hopefully the Panthers are hungry for finals. Keep an eye out for a huge game from Hayden Sampson who has already had a great season for the Panthers. I think South will end Norwood’s chances this week as the Bays will win both of their remaining games keeping the Redlegs are sitting fifth.
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