Season 2016 begins with a clash against our supposed traditional rivals, Port Magpies, cough cough, no, the Magpies are well and truly dead it is really Port Power reserves. The game begins at a frantic pace with Josh Donohue kicking the first goal of the season. Port soon reply from a dubious free kick this sets the pattern for the night but then a exquisite pass from Panos to Lewis Johnston who marks and goals in his debut for the ‘Legs; he is swamped.
Stephen, a friend of my son Daniel, who is attending footy for the first time, asks why are the players fighting so much? It is a combination of ill discipline and appalling umpiring. If the umpires had reversed any number of free kicks paid when the fights occurred and gained control in this way it would have helped, but no, bewildering technical free kicks were paid all night resulting in a staggering 72 free kicks paid.
There must be huge amount of fault laid at the hands of the SANFL due to some ridiculous new interpretations including a huge tightening of the holding the ball rule which basically meant any player who was making the ball their object but any sort of pack resulted, that player was being penalized. For goodness sake, where in the hell was protecting the ball player!
The SANFL has also been stupid and incompetent enough to introduce the last touch of the ball before going out of bounds rule and being far stricter on the deliberate out of bounds rule. With the last touch rule on occasions this resulted in the farcical situation of players shepherding the ball hoping it goes out of bounds the ball bouncing at right angles and then having to compete for the ball.
Where in the hell is COMMON SENSE? Pay the first warranted free kick. Also there is not enough footy nous amongst the umpires to understand when a player is trying to attack and the ball accidentally goes out. Don’t pay a free kick, throw the bloody thing in!
As an umpire, I have a appreciation of how hard it is, but the SANFL is going the wrong way about it, picking young kids who can run and teaching them how to umpire I am more convinced than ever you must have played adult footy at some level to umpire it.
Back to the game, but I had to vent!
The first quarter was a even contest with Dougal Howard showing his promise including a freakish snapped goal; Jimmy Toumpas the Power’s recruit from Melbourne and the returning Anthony Wilson are having a enthralling duel. Wilson makes his touches really count with a clever side step and goal. How Wilson with his amazing blistering pace wasn’t looked at by the Crows and then no one else picking him up is bewildering.
The first quarter ends with Port 3 points up in a see-sawing encounter.
The second quarter is similar with Aaron Young on ball, Cam O’Shea and Paul Stewart having their moments but Norwood are more even and have more contributors.
Goals to Davin Ferriera (the Ferrari) and Peter Perfect Persinos give the ‘Legs a 17 point half time lead. Norwood continues to gain the ascendancy in the third quarter with Lewis Johnston being the most dangerous key forward in the game, Alex Georgiou is annihilating John ‘was the future now the dud’ Butcher.
Jace Bode in his first game as joint captain with Georgiou is contributing individually and also with leadership, his instructing with voice impressive, first gamer Lachlan Pascoe re positioning.
An individual highlight of the third quarter was Wilson seemingly coming from the eighth row of the grandstand to spoil a certain easy mark. Geez he was that quick you would have thought it was Usain Bolt. The third quarter ends with the Redlegs holding a commanding 31 point lead.
Port challenge early in the last, but with Norwood down a player thru Simon Phillips being injured and when Sam Baulderstone rolls a ankle, it looks like Port could run over Norwood. Now Baulderstone has been disappointing in that while he has been the victim of some bewildering ruck infringement free kicks, he didn’t adjust his ruck tactics to the umpires’ interpretation of the rule.
Brady Dawe goes on the ball and gets on top of Dougal Howard, Tim Webber and Matt Panos are too good on the ground for Aaron Young, Steven Summerton and Cam O’Shea. Goals to Johnston and then a long bomb from Matt Fuller, returning from the Western Bulldogs, effectively ends the game as a contest. Jarryd Cachia who has also returned from Richmond has been important with his toughness and clean hands. Peter Bampton, after a wretched 2015 ruined by injury, has been lively on ball and at half forward.
The final margin of 25 points flattered Port with only their straight kicking keeping them in the game, so Round 1 ends with the good guys having a comfortable win. The walk back to the car in the rain is joyous, Daniel finds some religious radio which is as bad as tonight’s umpiring. Good Friday starts with Norwood back in their rightful position on the Premiership ladder on top!
Norwood 15.10 (100) def Port Adelaide 12.3 (75)
NORWOOD L Johnson 5, P Bampton, D Ferriera 2, M Panos, J Donohue, P Persinos,
A Wilson, M Fuller, K Roocke 1
PORT ADELAIDE D Howard 3, Summerton 2, L Sharrad, A Biemans, L Austin, J Palmer
NORWOOD J Cachia, B Dawe, M Panos, A Georgiou, L Johnson, A Wilson, J Bode, P Bampton, J Butcher
PORT ADELAIDE A Young, C O’Shea, P Stewart, D Howard, S Summerton, T Gray, P Stewart