SANFL Round 18 – Norwood v North Adelaide: Norwood win the minor premiership

Norwood 10.12 72 def North Adelaide 9.9 63

GOALS Norwood: Phillips 3; Hamilton 2; Abbott, Georgiou, Wilkins, Shenton, Grigg

North Adelaide: Ramsey 2; Sweet, Harvey, Tropiano, Spina, Rozee, Schwarz, Woodcock

BEST Norwood: McKenzie, Hamilton, L. Johnston, Baulderstone, Abbott, Wilkins, Panos, Grigg, Fuller, Phillips, Georgiou, Shenton

North Adelaide: Olekalns, C. Craig, Tropiano, Clisby, Schwarz, Allmond

Norwood secured the minor premiership winning its 13th successive game on what was milestone night. Alex Georgiou with his 150th, Sam Baulderstone played his 100th and, significantly, Craig “Fester” Paech with his 45th season re. attending Norwood games has remarkably still yet to miss a game at the home of footy in his 49 years on earth. Needless to say, Fester is a tad fanatical about the Legs, helps out running water at times and at training – a true Redleg and SANFL legend.

Norwood’s milestone men: Alex Georgiou, Craig “Fester” Paech and Sam Baulderstone

The Game opened up with the Redlegs dominating possession and with plenty of forward 50 entries but missed opportunities (a bizarre goal umpiring decision when a snap shot from Declan Hamilton I reckon was at least a yard inside the post. I was walking around the ground selling the magnificent Norwood 140th year book and was perfectly positioned behind the Parade goals at the time). Some poor discipline by the roosters allowed Simon Phillips to goal and then a defensive error by Alex Georgiou enabled the Roosters to equalise.

During the opening stanza Maris Olekalns was working hard running each way and providing drive from his wing for North Adelaide (I hope Maris and another ex-East Adelaide SAPSASA captain Luke Valente are on AFL lists in 2019). North Adelaide’s Cameron Craig was excellent in defence, showing his superb athletic ability. At quarter time it had been a hotly contested even affair with both defences on top. Craig was also very good all game.

Brad McKenzie, having to play as a under sized key defender, for the Legs was excellent with superb body positioning and composure through the whole game and using his lethal left foot to advantage. Mitch Wilkins  continued his rich vein of form. At quarter time the Redlegs led by seven points.

In the second quarter Jordon Sweet had a couple of very good ruck taps to advantage combining with classy midfielder Aidan Tropiano for North to get two quick goals and get on top. Keenan Ramsey had his moments and at half time the Roosters led by 12 points.

When North went 19 points clear in the third quarter and looking like rain had set in the writing was on the wall. But this Redleg team has plenty of resolve and “fortis in procella” (strength in adversity, the Redlegs’ motto) Norwood gradually fought back gaining consistent territory only to again let themselves down by poor kicking for goal. An opportunist goal from Mitch Wilkins and then the key moment with Declan Hamilton pouncing and, as it turned, out adding a sausage roll with a second to spare before lemons time (good time keeping) left the game at a knife’s edge with the Redlegs trailing by three points.

In the last quarter, Norwood’s resolve really shone through with the big guns combining. A fantastic shepherd by Matty Panos and a four bounce brilliant goal by Mitch Grigg saw the Western grandstand rise and roar as one (Nostra-Book is predicting the two to be joint Magarey Medalists). Swingman Cam Shenton marked and goaled from a tight angle and the legs pulled 15 points clear. A soft free kick to the Roosters brought the margin back to 9 points but the Redlegs’ defensive structures held firm.

Much like Zac Richards’s knees, the Redlegs were able to ice the game late

Other highlights of the night were Alex Georgiou’s long bomb goal to bring up his sixth career six pointer. By the end of the night he had kicked it from the Alma car park and if you have got a couple of spare hours Alex will fill you in about all six goals. I know this will stun you, Alex on the Raj Singh led Coast FM top rating sports show described me as a pain. Shock horror, of course those words have never been uttered before.

Other good players in a team effort were reigning holder of the most prestigious award (the FA Bloch Medal), Will Abbott, excelling in his attack on the ball and body. He is certainly the SANFL rookie of the year. Lewis Johnston playing on a wing just gathers possessions at will – he is a vital link man and a huge part of the Legs wining the minor premiership!

Declan Hamilton continues to build a real consistent patch of form and will be very important on Adelaide Oval.

Declan Hamilton and partner Danielle after the game

Sam Baulderstone got on top in the second half, giving the legs midfielders first look, and picked up plenty of touches around the ground. Simon Phillips who has had a horror run of injuries since the 2014 flag has burst back this season and was again important with three goals. Matty Fuller stood up when the game was on the line and played a large part in getting the Legs home.

Mitch Clisby for the Roosters in defence and Tom Schwarz played a variety of roles and both performed admirably. North Adelaide have some outstanding youth in Connor Rozee, Boyd Woodcock, Mackenzie Slee and Olekalns in particular, as any SANFL side’s fate may well depend on how many are drafted to the AFL next season. In any case, their pace will trouble any side on a dry Adelaide Oval in September but they need the guile of captain Max Thring to return next week is now more preparation for the finals in September.

Ok, my big gripe of the night was the umpiring and until people in the umpiring fraternity have the guts to say publicly what they are saying privately re. the STUPID instructions to get out wide and out of the way to give decisions is resulting in deplorable positioning and a insane amount of guessing, umpiring is about getting SIDE ON TO THE CONTEST. This just isn’t happening and, through a lack of footy nous, sees umpiring at its lowest ever ebb in my opinion. And remember, this is coming from an experienced umpire who does understand how bloody hard it is. C’mon umpiring fraternity, stand up and be HONEST.

Andrew Waess leads the club song

Go the legs bring on the finals!




  1. Dave Ridge says

    Nice work Malcolm as per usual!!
    Just feel we’re missing young Glenn with his consistent couple of goals a game as well as his on ball endeavour. Hoping all is well with him?? Haven’t heard much, maybe they’re keeping his fitness close to their chest?? As they have every right to do within a playing group.
    After next week the boys look like they are really going to benefit from the weeks break. Just to get a bit of freshness back into those (almost completed minor round) legs.
    Being such a closely fought competition this year. Freshness and the ability to run out a game will be paramount at the pointy end of the year one feels. We will wish for a fiercely contested and energy sapping Final Series, thus instilling battle fatigue into our opponents. We then can endeavour to bring it home with our relentless running and pressure laden game that has carried us to the Minor Premiers position at this point in time.
    Undoubtedly, we are in the box seat. Time is now for the playing group to seize the opportunity to etch themselves into the revered history of this Grand Old Club.
    Fortis in Procella!!!

  2. Great article again Malcolm. There’s a few more games to go, but i really hope wr get to the grand final and win it. Congratulations to craig fester paech on his achievement, that’s great.

  3. Bill Drodge says

    Good write up Malcolm.

    I reckon many would agree with Alex about you being a pain (hahaha).

    North’s defensive structure on Surman was very good. He was closely checked and double teamed for most of the night at the point of any deep forward contest.

  4. Great stuff, RB.
    I don’t know a hell of a lot about SANFL footy, but I have really been enjoying following your Norwood reports this season.

  5. Red Sock x2 says

    Why Does LJ continually miss out on best players at the club.?

    Is this why he hasn’t resigned for next year?

  6. Dwayne Fuller says

    A phenomenal performance by the Legs the roosters have it a real crack but the mighty NFC absorbed the pressure and got the crucial 2 points and secured the Minor Premiership bring on September exciting times ahead its the pointy end of the year and there’s some serious footy to be played I wish the club all the very best REDLEGS 100%

  7. A great win in pretty ordinary conditions – ball handling got better the wetter it became! Always interesting to watch the ball travel 500m to get from end to end on occasions – more direct in the wet certainly had an effect. Looking good for September! Go you mighty Redlegs!!

  8. Craig Fester Paech says

    Cheers for the nice words Rulebook!!
    I’m proud to be a part of the Greatest Club on Earth in what ever role they give me.
    And to share a “milestone” with two excellent Norwood men is really cool.
    More importantly we’ve secured the Minor Premiership and given ourselves the best chance in September!!
    It’s great to have the feeling that even when we’re behind on the scoreboard I have the total belief of victory!!
    Job not done yet!!

  9. Dave Brown says

    Good work, Rulebook. The club has earned two shots at making the grand final and is to be congratulated for that, as are the milestone men. Must say it’s the first time in a while I’ve seen our defenders with ball in hand with absolutely nothing to kick to, North were defensively outstanding. It wasn’t until that passage of play in the third quarter where they just slowed everything down and maintained possession for a good 30 seconds before moving it forward to goal that the Redlegs got the game on our terms. The foot skills are good enough to pick their way through any press, they just have to remember that doesn’t always mean going at a million miles an hour. Any idea why Flippa and Rabbs were wearing the wrong numbers?

  10. Mark Duffett says

    Looks like the Legs by how far for the flag at the minute. Who’s your tip for their GF opponent – and is that the same side most likely to trouble them?

  11. Martin Rumsby says

    North certainly threw everything at Norwood and will test the Redlegs if we play them in the finals. I’m sure that South will also be a challenging side to beat at Noarlunga this weekend. The team has done a great job in winning the minor premiership, but anyone who thinks winning the GF is a formality only needs to check the record books for minor premiers who didn’t go on to win the one that counts. As a side note, I enjoyed seeing former Modbury High lad, Jordon Sweet, playing league footy. I smiled at one stage when he and another ex-MHS lad, Mitch Grigg, had an on-field difference of opinion. Go ‘Legs!

  12. Steven Ronson says

    Another solid post Malcolm – my take is as follows:

    We needed this game; North was up and about from the start, they’d come to play. In the first half, the Roosters were sharp and fast in their ball movement, they ran hard and in numbers, tackling well and pressuring our ball carriers. We were outclassed but we stayed in the game due to our backs. In the third, we were getting on top but our failure to execute and hit the forward targets (I counted as a minimum 6 easy interceptions by the North defence) let us down. And then in the last 5 minutes of the third, our perseverance paid off – the sneaky goal in the dying seconds of the quarter had us 4 points down. The 4th showed how the Legs have improved this season – no folding, no weakness – just relentless grit. Grigg’s 4 bounces down the western flank (in a sodden oval) followed by a raking punt that split the centre was the goal of the year in my book and sealed the deal. To the credit of the Roosters, they didn’t give up but they knew they were up against a team that is on track to create its own history in 2018. I’m calling it early – this is the team of the century.

  13. Another solid post from you Rulebook – and another solid win by the best team in the competition. Full credit to a team that is refusing to take it foot off the pedal – even with top spot all but assured (even before Friday night’s game). I wonder whether a week’s break will help or hinder Norwood’s momentum – time will tell.

    As a South supporter, I was pleased to see that the Panthers beat the Eagles on Saturday. It’s deflating to know that a win against Sturt on the previous weekend would now put the Panthers in double-chance territory for the Finals.

    With not much else than fitness and some fune-tuning to play for this weekend, I wouldn’t take too much out of the South v Norwood match this weekend. Bring on September!

  14. Great article once again Rulebook. The mighty ‘Legs set the standard like always! Imagine a repeat of the 1978 GF, with exactly the same result and a the Premiership Flag coming home to the Parade!!

    Observation in the first 2 photos – is that the infamous Rajesh Signh in the background with the Norwood cap on? He’s contributed some great articles here on the Footy Almanac on the years, yet went M.I.A – maybe the fame got to him?

    The fans are demanding a return of the great scribe – a true sport’s journalistic talent!

  15. Rulebook this was a great night. Brilliant comeback by the legs finding a way to win. Thanks to Norwood for letting myself and my kids in pre and post game. Was interesting to see the warm up and pre game speech and then the celebrations after. All staff and players were great with the kids. Thanks to left arm tweaker Robbo for looking after us. A great night from a great family club.

  16. Good report Mal,
    I was having a few beers with a great mate of mine Steve Sims on Friday afternoon Gums said the North boys would have their work cut out, he loved the retro round concept, I just loved the result.

  17. charlie brown says

    They say that you should never judge a book by its cover. That is except if it’s a Rulebook who again proved how astute a judge he is. RB’s best players for North on Friday night were almost identical to the ones picked by the NAFC!

  18. Stan the Man says

    Nice wrap of the game Rulebook : North have a happy knack breaking the match winning “streaks” that we get on. My recollection in 1997after 11 or 12 on the trot it was Roosters who broke our run. Then under Bassett when we had Geelong like winning stretch it was Roosters once again who gave it to us. This makes the winning “streak” 13 now. A win vs South and then couple finals wins will equal the club record winning “streak” of 1975…… better than the Helen Delmenico streak in the 1980’s !!!

  19. Another great wrapup of the game. Norwoods streak at the moment is fantastic to see. Really great to get the minor premiership, and hopefully we’ll see a perfect finals series to match the season so far.

  20. Cameron Glenn says

    A really good night out at the Parade on Friday night. Ironically both reserves and league sides were 19 points down around the 15-16 minute mark of the 3rd term only to come back and get the win. Some frustrations at times but overall it was great to be there. So sad it was the last home game but glad the league game on Sunday will be stress free so win, lose or draw means nothing to the ladder. However the reserves must win to take the reserves minor premiership so that has some meaning and the u18s must win their game vs Centrals to play finals.

    Go Legs!

  21. Luke Reynolds says

    What a season this has become for the Redlegs. Looking forward to your September reports.
    As usual, fantastic photos in this piece.

    Sam Baulderstone has been a constant in your best players the past few years, how does he stack up against all the Norwood ruckmen you have seen?

  22. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Dave yes a exciting finals series to look forward to,Sonia yep huge achievement by Fester.Bill no doubt what so ever about that and a bit of fun banter with,Alex since.Smokie thank you.Red Sock all players are judged differently from wth in re there own individual roles and requirements and I don’t think so.Dwayne well said.Droop yes it was weird that it seemed the ball handling improved when it rained.
    Fester a huge achievement you should rightly be v proud of.Dave good observation re when to play fast or slow footy our decision making at times was poor and a mistake may have been made when the gurnseys were ordered which have looked sensational,Anthony Wilson did a superb job earlier in the year likewise on the retro gurnsey.Mark I never count,chickens before they hatch I have always been a tad boring in that regard I admit I am worried re our pace on Ad oval. thanks folks

  23. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Martin yep long long way to go and justifiably you should be v proud re Modbury HS you were a brilliant principal.Steven yes the roosters had a crack and looked the better team for a part of the game entirely agree with your observations the goal by Declan Hamilton just before 3 q was vital we were in control of the game in the last q sensational goal by Mitch.Paul yes realistically it’s tune up week end although I admit I hope the legs can win the Stanley H Lewis trophy re the best club overall in all grades in the minor round.BG v well played.Raj glad you and your family had a great night and enjoyed your,Robbo mention.
    River boy you and Simmsy having a beer astounding news.Charlie I admit that’s ironic in that a bias re
    Maris and I had coached,Cam Craig in cricket so there was some interest there as well as a side note
    Craigy did the beep test one night he not only obliterated every one else his result would have put him in the top 5 per cent re Afl players he is a elite athlete.Stan spot on and I was even lucky enough to have been at the g for Helens streak.Campbell thank you.Cameron well said and yes big game re the U 18s at
    the home of footy at 11 am on Saturday.Luke Sam is a very good player prob a fraction short re afl and not quite good enough over head if I am being really critical it’s such a fine line re a player being given a chance and being overlooked thank you

  24. Good to see the Legs grind out a good win. Hopefully a Norwood v Sturt GF.
    Any photos of Raj’s kids covering their ears during the pre-game chat in the Norwood change rooms? #characterbuilding

  25. well done Rulebook. don’t forget to send me at [email protected] your best line up in AFL SANFL of Norwood High School students!

  26. Gary Bennett says

    Malcolm, you’ve done it yet again. A superb dissection of the Norwood / North game. Way better than any of the newspaper reports. As a third generation Redleg supporter I really appreciate you writings. Incidentally, my late father, Colin Bennett was a good friend of Doug Drage in the forties and fifties. My son David is then, of course, a fourth generation Redleg man. PS My wife, Heather also comes from a Norwood generation of supporters.

  27. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Raf yes definitely a education for Raj children a legs v blues gf would draw a large crowd.Bizz gradually getting there.Gary greatly appreciated and how Warren Partland did not have,Brad McKenzie in the Legs best was bizarre to say the least thank you

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