SANFL FINALS 2021 -- Week 3 Wrap-Up

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Norm Smith Medallist
May 8, 2001
X Convenience Oval, Elizabeth
AFL Club
Other Teams
CDFC (SANFL), Port Melb (VFL)
Hi Footy fans...

The finish line is now well and truly in sight. The Eagles are to defend their title on the grandest stage in SA football and this past weekend, we would find out who it would be that would challenge them. After bidding farewell to the Redlegs last week, the Panthers would go on to their second straight Preliminary Final appearance and their third in the last eight seasons. Awaiting them was a humbled Tigers outfit, their season that has promised much but in the last month have been brought back to earth. How would the premiership favourites respond to their performance in the 2nd Semi-Final, where the reigning premiers did what they couldn't during the regular season? Would the momentum of South Adelaide's last three weeks be the telling factor this week, or would the Tigers step up once again like they have in plenty of Preliminary Finals past? Regardless of the result, history was to be made this day. Was a long Grand Final drought coming to an end, or would the Tiger train roll on and set up the possibility of premiership glory in a landmark year? This is what its all about at this time of year... making history. This is Finals Football.

Welcome to the Week 3 edition of the SANFL Finals Wrap-Up.

This is the Preliminary Final... the last chance saloon. This year we got a Clash of the Cats in the battle to decide who would take on the reigning and defending premiers, the Tigers taking on the Panthers. This would be the first ever time these sides have faced one another in a Preliminary Final, though they have squared off in finals past. This would be the Tigers' 21st appearance in this match, having won 14 of them. But from all of those successful outings, only three years saw a victorious following week. Three of their five premierships saw them go through a Preliminary Final, most notably in their inaugural premiership year of 1934, then in 1986 and 2019. The 2019 match saw the Tigers rule the second half in which they kicked 10 goals to Adelaide's four to win by 27 points, then conquer their old Grand Final nemesis Port Adelaide the next week. As you can no doubt ascertain, despite having a strong Preliminary Final record, many times over have the yellow & black then fallen at the final hurdle. This would be South's 15th Preliminary Final. From the previous 14 games, they have won six. Their last success was way back in 1979 against then minor premiers Central District, who that season were the flag favourites. The Panthers saw over their straight sets finals exit with their 13-point win, which led to their last ever Grand Final appearance which they lost to Port Adelaide on a washed-out afternoon at Football Park. You only need to go back to last season for the Panthers' last entry into week three, going down to the Eagles who went on to take out the title. Usually the one that plays this game hasn't been the favourite to win it all, but since 2015 the eventual premiers have not been the winners of the 2nd Semi-Final. The Bloods in that season kicked off a trend that has seen the Preliminary Final winner go on the take out the trophy the following week.

As said earlier, this was a historic night as these sides have never before met in a last chance match-up. Oh wait... did I say "night"? Yes, my fellow SA footy-heads. This would take place under the lights of Adelaide Oval, thus making this the official final installment of Friday Night Mayhem for 2021. During the regular season, the Tigers took out both games. The first was a 40-point win at Noarlunga in Round 7, followed by a three-goal win at Brighton Road in Round 15. But as said earlier, momentum was on South's side, they downed the Redlegs in their 1st Semi by 19 points. The Tigers' one-kick loss to the Eagles was only that because it took until the final term for them to respond. The Tigers' forwards were a little off their game to begin with, but would still hold a nine-point lead at quarter-time after scoring 2.4 to 1.1 in the opening stanza. A more evenly fought second term saw the sides trade blows on the board, only a single kick was between them deep in added time before a Tigers' goal just before the long break would maintain the two straight kicks' gap between the two sides going into the changerooms. Glenelg added a further 3.4 to South's 3.3 to go into half-time with a 10-point lead. When play resumed, the Tigers started putting a little more distance between them and the blue & whites, though not very much going into the final term. At three quarter-time, the Tigers were up by 22 points on the back of a 3.2 to 1.2 third quarter. The Panthers seemed to find something extra in the final term as they started peppering their attacking 50, but could only find minor scores. They began the final quarter with four straight behinds, which would in the end, be minor scratches. South would kick just one goal from eight scores, the Tigers scored 3.1 as they ended the Panthers' season to the tune of 28 points. Dylan Landt was named best for Glenelg with 33 disposals and nine marks, while Jason Horne-Francis will no doubt be on an AFL list next season after notching up 24 disposals, three goals and 11 clearances. This would also be the final outing for Joel Cross, after 208 games he is now hanging up the boots.


Friday September 24

Glenelg 11.11 (77)
South Adelaide 6.13 (49)
Adelaide Oval

None known at time of post.

None known at time of post.

The Bulldogs have won through to the Reserves Grand Final at Adelaide Oval this Sunday after overcoming the Eagles in their Preliminary Final at Thebarton on Saturday morning. It was an all-out scrap for the entire game, beginning with a 1.3 to 1.2 opening quarter. At only one period of the whole game did the gap ever get out to two straight shots at goal, which was for no more than five minutes in the second quarter. At that time, it was the Eagles with a 10-point lead after scoring a goal just shy of 14 minutes. By half-time, that was back to five points with the board reading 3.6 to 2.7 in favour of the defending premiers. The Dogs opened the second half with a pair of goals and at the final change probably should have been leading. Scores at the final change would be tied at 4.9 each, perhaps giving insight to the extremely tense war being fought. In the end, the continued inaccuracy of the Eagles would bring an end to their title defence, going down to the final score of the game where the Dogs kicked the winning major to win by four points. They now go on to face the Tigers in the mid-day decider at Adelaide Oval in the curtain raiser to the league final. Can the Dogs finally bring a little joy to the Ponderosa, or will the Tigers spoil the party and perhaps help make Sunday a day to remember in their centenary year? Stay tuned!

Saturday September 25 @ Thebarton Oval
Central District 6.11 (47) def. Woodville-West Torrens 5.13 (43)

THE MEDALLISTS OF 2021 -- League Magarey joint winners, McBean with the golden boots
The 2021 Magarey Medal ended in a tied vote as this went onto the forum, resulting in South Adelaide's Bryce Gibbs sharing the honours with the Eagles' James Tsitas. They finished on 21 votes each, going down to the final round where Tsitas was in front by two votes but didn't poll in that week. Gibbs did though, scoring the two votes needed to draw level with the Eagles' Victorian import. Nipping at their heels Glenelg's Matt Snook and the Eagles' Jack Hayes who finished second on the polls with 20 votes each, while the previous pair of Magarey Medallists in Campbell Combe and Luke Partington finished equal third on 17 votes. Gibbs is the eighth Panther to earn the prize, while Tsitas is the first Eagles player post-merger to win the medal. The goal-kicker's prize in the Ken Farmer Medal went to the Tigers' Liam McBean who finished the regular season with 56 goals, while the coach-voted R.O. Shearman Medal was won by Campbell Combe of North Adelaide. The Reserves Magarey Medal was won by West Adelaide's Ed Allan who polled 17 votes, made more astounding as he only played 12 games this season. His nearest rival was three votes behind, with Glenelg duo Kyle Crompton and Tom Condon finishing second and third respectively. Glenelg's Hugh Stagg was a runaway winner of the U-18 McCallum-Tomkins Medal, finishing on 28 votes which was nine votes more than the second-placed Hugh Jackson of North Adelaide.

So this is it folks, the big dance. Who will take out the title? Will it stay at Oval Avenue for another season, or will it be a centenary to celebrate at Brighton Road?

Sunday October 3 @ Adelaide Oval

Glenelg vs. Central District @ 12noon

Woodville-West Torrens vs. Glenelg @ 3pm

Of course the big game will be broadcast live throughout SA on Seven, for those of you interstate you can get the game on the 7Plus website and I'm sure there may be some pubs interstate showing the game as some have done in previous years. If not, ask your local establishment if they can get it on for you. It's not that hard now!

So until next weekend... see you at the Footy!

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