Southern Football League
NEW Norfolk cemented its tag as the red-hot favourite for the SFL flag this year with a 103–point demolition of the Kingborough Tigers at Boyer Oval on Saturday. For the first quarter it appeared the clash between the ladder-leading Eagles and second-placed Tigers might go down to the wire. Eagles spearhead Zeke Gardam kicked all three goals for the home team in the first stanza and Kingborough kept itself in the game with three late goals, including two by Ashley Woodhead.
At quarter time, Eagles coach Jon Murray demanded his players talk more to each other and show more composure. His troops didn’t let him down as the smallest player on the ground, Nathan Ross, booted the first two goals of the term. Kingborough managed just one goal in a low-scoring second term and missed opportunities to add others. It was also a quarter of off-ball clashes that had the interchange bench working overtime and the crowd voicing their opinions as the Eagles led by 15 points at the main break.
The premiership quarter was all the Eagles as Blair Wardlaw, Nic Clayton and Gardam added goals to the Eagles tally in the first seven minutes. Then an avalanche of home team goals, including a clever snap by Ross, ensued as the Eagles took a 57-point lead into the final break.
The final quarter was a duplicate of the third as the Eagles added another eight goals and with a 100-point victory in sight, appeared to go up a gear. Ross and forward Michael Thompson combined to boot two last minute goals as the Eagles cemented their ladder supremacy and shortened their price as back-to-back SFL premierships.
Murray praised his team especially the back line and on-baller Ross. “The intensity from both teams was pretty high in the first quarter and I thought our back line was outstanding,” Murray told the Mercury newspaper. “I thought our boys gained plenty of respect the way they played and what can you say about Nathan? He’s almost unstoppable.”
Kingborough coach Adam Henley was pleased with the first half but would rather forget the second half. “I thought we matched it with them for the first two quarters, then after that our boys chucked the towel in,” Henley told the Mercury. “We played against a very good football side today and we now have three weeks to get our best footy together.”
Gardam kicked six and Thompson and Ross kicked five each for the Eagles. Brett Booth took mark of the day for the home side and added two goals to the final tally. Ross, Thompson, Ben Lovell, Leigh Post, Gardam and Shane Bonnitcha were best on ground for New Norfolk. Tim Peterson, Bart Webster, Ryan Fielding, Grant King, Jordan Lovell and Chris Elliott were best for Kingborough.
The Eagles swooped to take all three grades on the day and silence the beat of the Tiger’s jungle drum. In the reserves game New Norfolk won by 67 points, whilst the early game in the Under 18s ended up 24 points in favour of New Norfolk.
New Norfolk 5.0-30 7.1-43 8.3-51 11.5-71
Kingborough 1.1-7 4.2-26 4.3-27 7.5-47
Goals - New Norfolk: B. Chaplin 4, J. Banks-Smith 2, B. Hodge 2, J. Foster 2, B. Ransley; Kingborough: C. Rawson 3, J. Paul 2, H. Bradburn, S. Legro.
Best - New Norfolk: B. Hodge, B. Kaye, J. County, J. Foster, B. Chaplin, J. Daley; Kingborough: L. Watt, C. Rawson, J. Withington, D. McAully, L. Hartog, J. Coombes.
New Norfolk 1.3-9 2.5-17 7.8-50 13.10-88
Kingborough 1.1-7 1.2-8 3.2-20 3.3-21
Goals - New Norfolk: M. Horne 7, P. Jelkic 2, D. Wall, T. Triffett, C. Curtain, J. Adams; Kingborough: B. Livingston, O. Burke, N. Townsend.
Best - New Norfolk: T. Triffett, M. Horne, C. Curtain, N. Lester, S. Bonnitcha, P. Ling; Kingborough: C. Denehey, D. Glover, R. Bevan, S. Dineley, B. Livingston, T. Riseley.
New Norfolk 3.3-21 6.6-42 14.13-97 22.20-152
Kingborough 3.1-19 4.3-27 6.4-40 7.7-49
Goals - New Norfolk: Z. Gardam 6, N. Ross 5, M. Thompson 5, N. Clayton 2, B. Booth 2, J. Hall , B. Wardlaw; Kingborough: A. Woodhead 2, S. Mansfield 2, J. Philp, N. Foale, K. Lovell.
Best - New Norfolk: N. Ross, B. Lovell, L. Post, M. Thompson, Z. Gardam, S. Bonnitcha; Kingborough: T. Peterson, J. Lovell, G. King, R. Fielding, C. Elliot, B. Webster.