SANFL Round 14 – Norwood v South Adelaide: Taming the Monkey Brain

Three good things in the 24 hours prior to 1am on Saturday morning:
1. Norwood’s first quarter
2. The fact that football games don’t go for five quarters (would that make quinters?)
3. The SANFL’s live streaming experiment

We had one of those wellbeing seminars at work during the week. The focus was on accepting and compartmentalising your Monkey Brain (no, not what people eat in Indiana Jones movies), the part of your brain that berates you for your past and worries about the future. The goal then is to spend more time living in the present. Apparently, a good brain training exercise is to, once a day, list three good things for you in the last 24 hours. Before going to bed on Friday night, particularly after Richie Porte’s average night in the Alps, the above were my three.

Another Friday night at the Parade, but there was a Brown sized hole on the South Eastern flank (the concept of a Brown hole warrants no further investigation). While Brother Brown flew back from Shanghai (boy, are his arms tired), the elder statesman otherwise occupied and me at home with the ginger ninjas, I was expecting an evening watching the AFL and the live stats from the SANFL on one of my many electronic devices. Imagine my delight when I opened up the live stats screen to see that they were actually live streaming the match.

That delight extended throughout the first quarter as Norwood kicked eight straight against South in a game that would see the winner in fourth spot and the loser clinging onto fifth. Despite losing the clearances early the Redlegs were able to repel South’s advances better than the Yanks, quickly rebounding the ball into open space for Josh Donohue, Jimmy Allen and Juice Newton to convert. Anthony Wilson showed pace that was not so much blistering as giving burns that require hospitalisation as he ran into goal to get one himself. Norwood has a lot of left footers (at least nine) and, not surprisingly, move the ball best down the left hand side of the ground.

Having turned a five goal lead into a three goal loss at Woodville the previous week, I probably wasn’t the only one not convinced the game was in the bag at quarter time with a 44 point lead. The Monkey Brain was chattering. South pressed hard in the second quarter as Keegan Brooksby, Joel Cross and Nick Liddle took control of the midfield. The Redlegs resolutely defended until two extremely uncharacteristic errors deep in defence by McGuinness gave the Panthers their first two goals. At the other end Norwood missed its few opportunities as its rebound out of defence dried up and fumbles broke down what ball movement remained.

Up by 31 at half time and the Monkey Brain still busily chattering away – this game was eminently loseable. Remarkably, given the flow of play, Norwood actually won the third quarter (1.3 to 1.2) as both sides’ ball movement continued to break down. South need another avenue to goal if they are to improve as Norwood was able to keep Ken Farmer medal leader Brett Eddy under control. That said, the Redlegs kept trying to land the ball on Newton’s head too. He has improved so much this year, particularly his presence and  goalkicking (has kicked 18.12 in the last five rounds since kicking 19.20 in his first eight), but any forward will struggle with delivery like that.

The umpires achieved that all too common feat of leaving supporters of both sides feeling aggrieved. Players having no prior opportunity were being tackled by the arms and pinged for holding the ball while players with prior opportunity were being tackled properly but the ball spilling out was considered sufficient for play on (how long before tackle bags become sticks with two arms?). We like, somewhat conceitedly, to think that SANFL umpiring is more ‘common sense’ than the big league but it wasn’t on display tonight.

The last quarter opened up a bit as South started to capitalise on their control of the midfield with goals to Darcy Hourigan and Frazer Dale. Monkey Brain kicks back in – I’m always more nervous watching on TV than when I’m at the ground. Redlegs steadied through a goal to Panos and despite South getting another two through Cross and Liddle, time was always going to run out on them. Redlegs by 13 points and my fingernails were effectively trimmed.

Given the weekend’s other results the Redlegs move up to fourth only one game behind second while South drop back to fifth, only one game ahead of the chasing pack.

Around the grounds

Elizabeth Oval – Central District 10.8 – 68 d Woodville West Torrens 7.5 – 47
The Bulldogs kept themselves in contention for finals with a solid win over the Eagles. They jumped out to a 24 point lead at quarter time and were able to hold that lead. Four goals to Retzlaff. The Eagles missed an opportunity to consolidate a top three position and keep pressure on Port Adelaide for the minor premiership.

Richmond Oval – West Adelaide 9.9 – 63 d Sturt 8.11 – 59
The Bloods jumped the Double Blues to get out to a 26 point lead early in the second and were able to hang on for a close victory. 30 touches and 7 clearances to Schmidt and four goals to Beech for the winners. As above Wests keep themselves in contention while Sturt missed an opportunity for consolidation.

Depending on the outcomes of next weekend’s split round games, there is the potential for three games to separate second and ninth on the ladder. That is something good.

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. Nice one Dave. I see that Alex Georgiou hasn’t been able to break back into the Melbourne league team since he was concussed 10 rounds back. The Dees showing a bit of form since then probably hasn’t helped his chances.
    Captaincy material for the Redlegs next year?

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great write up , Dave at the game it was a strange , 1st q I that the panthers had there chances and we went Coast to Coast , 3 times for goals . Spot on re the umpiring some disgraceful holding the ball decisions
    Was Impresed with Souths long licking left footed defender , Tom Fields ( son of Neville ) and would be surprised if he along with , Panos and , Wilson were not on afl lists next year . PB re Alex G ( mr bean ) a distinct possibility may well depend re the engineering world . Thanks , Browny

  3. Dr Goatboat says

    So, the likelihood of a threepeat for the mighty Redlegs?

  4. Dr G sturt had an off day. they have a plan and are preparing for the redlegs. yr name was mentioned during the AUFC Greys luncheon. with great acclaim mind you. it was pointed out the old ignatians were good at getting the ball but kicking was not yet mastered. I remember the warhurst boys could kick though which disproves the hypothesis to a certain extent. rofey wasn’t one for taking lessons in the art.

  5. Dave Brown says

    Thanks all.

    Hopefully Alex stays in the AFL system, PB, but failing that Norwood would happily have him back in a leadership role. Particularly if McGuinness retires at season’s end.

    Yep, Fields has a hoof on him Rulebook. If he doesn’t reach his ambition in Aussie rules, the USA beckons.

    Hard to say Dr G. Our best is definitely good enough but our midfield is not holding up for four quarters at the moment. The SANFL is wide open this year as all teams have some significant weaknesses.

    Sturt supporter I was talking to, Nank, said he hoped the weekend was the wake-up call they need heading into the finals. Another club in need of four quarters.

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