SANFL Grand Final: Underdone Woodville-West Torrens v match-hardened Sturt

Underdone Woodville-West Torrens v match-hardened Sturt


by BD Dutschke



Surely all the talk about ‘one game in 29 days’ versus ‘haven’t missed a week’ played a part, it must have seeped into the players and coaches minds.


Coming into the game Sturt (third on the ladder) had been playing above themselves according to experts and WWT (top) were doing all that is required.


A short time after former captains Gavin Collville and Paul Bagshaw were de-helicopteredwith the trophy the game started accordding to the experts’ plan. The Peckles (hybrid of Woodvile Peckers and West Torrens Eagles) played their tight man-on-man-when-defending-then-rapidly-spread-wide-when-attacking game. Sturt were struggling to get their running game going but as notorious slow starts they and their fans were calm. The Double Blues did not give up the ball easily and by late in the quarter had only conceded one goal before scoring one themselves with a minute to go (a feature of their game in the finals).


Early in the second quarter the coaches moves were taking effect and the low-scoring game was gradually opening up. An early WWT goal did not alter Sturt’s constant pressure. By half way into the quarter Sturt were forcing more errors and got the ball quickly into the forward 50 to nab two goals in three minutes and regain the lead. They went in at half time a few points up thanks to another late goal by Jack Stephens who bravely left his man (the bext CHF in the comp) to take a mark inside 50.


As one would expect, the third quarter was one of increased risk taking. Despite being more open the tackling was still a big feature. My five-year-old son, Benno announced the tackle count was ‘Sturt 68, Eagles 54’ before running back down the aisle to his favourite spot, on the fence. Despite his big pre-game (>1.5km “The Castle” type walk to Sydney Aiport, >1.5km walk to Adelaide Oval twice, pre-game Unley Oval dobs and Victor Richardson Gates marking castle, he was still peaking, thanks to his 12-yo Barossa cousin, Sami keeping him snacked up regularly. Benno’s dashes from the fence to our seat were becoming more frequent late in the thirrd quarter after Sturt extended its tiny lead to 14 points with two goals in the last three minutes, one a 50-metre shot from the boundary by Jarrod Lienert.


The around-the-ground chatter had also peaked at three quarter time as the 30,000 supporters of proper football (a bigger crowd than both the GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs and at Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders games) discussed and debated, some over an $8.60 West End Draught (SANFL record price).


By this point an elderly Sturt fan in front of us announced she was wearing her lucky brooch and talked about travelling from Minlaton with Scott McMahon’s parents. I introduced myself to them all and warned them they were sitting in front a Derro of Dutschkes. Of course, Scott’s mum said she knew our Yorke Peninsula cousins.


After an early last-quarter goal to the Peckles, Sturt got a lucky free for sliding under the knees and the recipient Greenslade slotted it from 40 to extend the lead to 15 points at the eight-minute mark. The next 10 minutes was tight and full of tackling with bursts of end to end play, which surprisingly appeared to tire the Peckles more than Sturt, maybe due to a lack of match practice. At the 15-minute Tom Harms (son of JTH’s cousin Tim) took a mark 55 metres out and made a decision to replicate the two game-breaking long goals from earlier finals. Unfortunately he got under it with a weary swing of the leg. But a few plays later after some more strong tackling, Dylan Gamble, star of the Qualifying Final, broke two tackles then after a few slick handballs, Magarey Medalist Kirkwood sold the dummy to kick one on the run. Sturt were 21 points up with what looked like 10 minutes left. The Peckles were now broken and this was the first of three goals in eight minutes. Benno tells me the tackle count is now “104 to 84 and the hooter has gone and we won, the Double Blues won”.


The game was over and we couldn’t believe it but needed to get our Jack Oatey medal tips in. Jack Stephens was announced BOG and I punched the air. He was paying $51 and it was the best $1 I have ever spent. The young and slim CHB who had been at Sturt since U17s and spent three years in reserves, had been named best in last week’s Prelim and second best in the Second Semi so why was he at $51? I get back to Sydney to see how my bets went and discover my Jack Stephens betslip was still open and no bet had been placed. Bugger! Forgot to hit the confirm button. Turned out to be the best dollar I ever lost.


Very grateful that Benno and I were able to get to the game and visit dad who is not doing too well with a bit of help from a $50 bet on Sturt to beat Adelaide in the Prelim at $4.55.



EAGLES        1-4    3-5     5-6     7-7 (49)
STURT         1-1     4-2     8-2     12-4 (76)



Goal Kickers: M. Wundke 5, J. Petrenko, L. Mcgregor
Best Players: M. Wundke, J. Petrenko, J. Boyd, J. Allmond, S. Lewis

Goal Kickers: J. Greenslade 3, K. Beard 3, J. Lienert 2, B. Hansen, Z. Kirkwood, M. Evans, J. Stephens
Best Players: J. Stephens, J. Greenslade, Z. Kirkwood, J. Osborn, G. Page, F. Evans


  1. Spot on description BD and congrats. Sturt too good on the day and wore the Eagles down with each passing minute. It was a lot like the qualifying final against South Adelaide but a higher standard. I also reckon for Sturt Rune Gilfoy was outstanding in that last quarter. A number of times he defused Eagles forward thrusts and started the chain that sent the ball straight down the other end.

    Yeah, that sliding in free – reckon the ump tossed a coin to decide whether to call it high contact or sliding. I’m really not comfortable with that rule but to the letter of the law it was there. As for the two weeks off a minor premier gets in the five team finals system, in the last 30 years of the SANFL the minor premiers have won the second semi 21 times and subsequently gone on to win the premiership 13 times, I think. Reckon it says more about the Eagles than the system.

  2. Nice one BD and now to the MCG to complete 2 grand finals in 6 days – we know you have the stamina

    Rumour has it Rulebook was barracking for Sturt against the Crows the week before

  3. Well done Marty mattner and the mighty double blues. Rulebook get with the strength .
    Is John greenskade related to the mighty Malcolm?

  4. The mighty double blues. Its a grand old flag a high flying flag…the old double blues…

    The day after the 1978 GF my brother and one of his mates (13 years old) went up to the Unley Oval early in the morning. There was a lot of trash lying around on the oval and in the grand-stand was a lonely figure contemplating the victory. They went up to him and Rick Davies offered them both a swig of his champagne!

  5. I`ve been an Eagles fan for 60 years now and have seen the best and not so good over that time. But we must do something about grand final games as they have been among the worse over these years. What happens Eagles do you go out thinking its already won or is it that the other teams save their best for that day.

    Sturt, as much as it pains me, you deserve the win because you played the better game You stuck to the plan and just went about it. Congratulations to Marty Mattner for the great job he has done.

    Another great write up even if I cried all the way through!

  6. Went along to the game and was very impressed with the whole spectacle – 30k was good for plenty of “ball -yeah” and “booooooooi” noises, but decidedly weighted in favour of the blue baggers. Felt like the fair weather supporter I am turning up and lapping up the glory at the end – despite following the Blues since I took my grandfather’s lead as a kid, I have only seen the odd game since 2002, and knew the name of the Margarey Medalist and no other

    Was pleasantly surprised to hear the names Greenslade and Hargreaves- and pretty soon was spotting Heinrich, Derrington and Bagshaw (a bit taller and thinner but marking everything). Great day – just one detractor. Lost count of the number of times players went to ground in a tackle, laid on the ball pretending to be pinned, and waited for the ball up. Won’t help the players wanting to take the next step at all. Other than that great footy – especially the contests and the fast breaks from both sides.

    Would have been good to run into you BD – thought you had Centrals blood for some reason. Getting you mixed up with Rabs maybe. Great write up.

  7. Nice Rick Davies anecdote there! So 100% believable too.

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I was out and about a bit on Sunday, but caught bits of the last stanza on my phone (why couldn’t I do that from 2000-2010?) including that free, which I immediately decried as plain wrong (contact was above the knee IMO).

    But good to see that, for at least one day, SANFL was alive and well.

    Thanks BD. Did you make it to the chimney unveiling?

  9. We sat in the Riverbank Stand as Mental As Anything were mid-set, and decidedly more RSL than You Am I were last year. Still well done Greedy, Martin etc.

    As my mate commented it was a lively crowd and in some ways a superior experience in terms of comfort with about 30k there as opposed to about 50k during a Crows match. The atmosphere was still excellent.

    Sturt too good in the second half for the Eagles (“Eages”- apparently). Although I’m a Glenelg man it was forty years since my first SANFL match- coincidently the 1976 grand final between Sturt and the short-priced Port Magpies during which the Jumbo Prince starred.

    Top afternoon!

  10. Great stuff BD aka the worlds most casual man ) rapt for Mark Evans to finally be a premiership player
    ( he well and truly should have been one at the redlegs,IMO ) with Jack Stephens living with Tom Brinsley who captained the tarnished spooners to a flag the previous day that will be a interesting abode of address for some time

  11. I took my dad to possibly one of his last GFs alzhiemers is starting to take it’s. While I’ve supported Sturt since I was 6yo dad’s a very long suffering Panthers man. Although he secretly follows the mighty double blues these days. While his short-medium term memory is almost nonexistent and he confuses timeframes. We both share fond memories afternoons at Unley watching Sturt in good times and bad times.
    We got to AO just before halftime in magoos GF. A group of WWT diehards sat in front of us and a Sturt supporting magpie power bloke sat next to us along with plenty of Sturt diehards. The banter was well informed, fair and polite. Everyone barracked loud and proud for their team with no ugly behavior accept for one Roosters supporter who was more intent on picking fights with WWT tragics than watching the game. There’s one in every crowd I guess.
    As the league GF unfolded to be one of the most competitive GFs I’ve seen, I’d almost forgotten how passionate I am about the Ole Double Blues. Dad got quite emotional at the final siren I choked up a bit while singing the club song. The WWT chaps in front of us watched the presentation then turned to us shook our hands and congratulated us on the win. I was really impressed by the sportsmanship shown by these guys that 2 years in a row have watched their team dominate the comp only the fall at the final hurdle. Attending this years GF was like steeping back to a gentler time where people barracked hard but showed each other respect.
    I am sure these guys will never understand that they helped to give me another great memory of spending time with my dad and who knows how many more we’ll have before this insidious disease steals my father forever.

  12. BD Brett Dutschke says

    Yes, Dave. More the Eagles than the system, I believe it is in the mind.

    Plug, Haven’t done the two in six days since 2002, Sturt’s last premiership, beating Centrals for the first time in five games that year.

    Nank, forgot to mention coach of the year Mattner who also kicked Bob Neil Goal Of The Day in the 2002 GF (bouncing down the wing – Bob Neil banner in background). John Greenslade no relation to mighty Malcolm from what I’ve been told.

    Lovely Rick Davies story, 6%.

    Sad day for you, Jill. It takes courage to read about the game your team has lost. That was in Sturt’s top three games of the year for sure, the other two probably the other finals wins.

    Model, we were sitting in NW pocket, bumped into a few including some cousins a few rows down. Totally agree with the lying on the ball business – tackler is party at fault by lying on top of the ballgetter – better off pulling the jumper and raising your hand like in U10s.

    Didn’t get to Tuesday’s chimney unveiling or the Arkaba on Sunday night, Swish. Just watched the chimney highlights on the news, though.

    Mickey, a few people couldn’t resist singing along with the Mentals. It’s possible I was mouthing a few lines subconsciously while reading the Budget.

    Cheers Rulebook. My player of the year is Evans (50 goals from a non-full forward), and best in finals – Stephens (continually underestimated by his opposition).

    Nice story, Adrian. Surrounding supporters make a big difference. Great you and your dad were there. Took my dad to the Norwood Oval game in April which will probably be our last together, 41 years after our first. At least he got to see on TV the GF win.

  13. Would loved to have been there but had to help my partner get ready to travel O/S. Great to see the mighty Double Blues victorious for another premiership cup. It still gives me great pride that the Double Blues (& the Redlegs) are the 2 teams that have won more premierships when playing against the Magpies than any other in the SANFL.

    BTW 6%, I think you’re getting your years mixed up and probably meant 1976 seeing as the Double Blues lost to the Redlegs in 1978 and I somehow doubt Rick Davies would have been celebrating at Unley Oval after that!

  14. 6% do you mean 76 rather than 78

    As Sturt won in 76 but lost to Norwood by 1 point in 78

  15. 2 things came put of this for me. Firstly the debate about byes and weeks off in finals, both SANFL and AFL. I well remember John Cahill, he of the 10 premierships, being asked about this, Port had done the flag all possible combinations of weeks off/playing every week, he said he thought it made no difference. Secondly has been the media descriptions of the crowd, which was very good, as “diehard, faithful or loyal” supporters. I have a season ticket at Alberton for Magpies home games and when we played those 2 teams, I reckon no more than 500 of those diehards made the effort. And don’t start about the 1976 GF….

  16. This might change things year

  17. error. year

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