When did each SANFL club win their last premiership?

When did each SANFL club win their last premiership? (Photos: SANFL)

This grand final week, The Inner Sanctum takes a look at your club's last SANFL premiership.

It’s grand final week in South Australia and while that means seven days of excitement for Woodville-West Torrens and Glenelg fans, for the rest of the competition it’s another year gone begging. 

But almost every club has had their time in the sun; some recently and some long, long ago. 

The memories are what keep us coming back each year and the optimism that history may be re-written next season gets us excited. 

So, to continue The Inner Sanctum’s coverage of SANFL grand final week in 2021, we take a look at the last time your club took home the holy grail. 

Adelaide – N/A

The Adelaide Crows joined the SANFL in 2014, fielding a reserves team in the state league competition.

For a long time previously, Crows players, as well as those from the Power, had been divided up amongst the nine state league clubs to play for when not in the AFL. But 2014 marked the beginning of a new era where unification for the two South Australian professional sides was sought. 

Since then, the Adelaide Crows are yet to register a premiership victory, but have come close, knocked out of the 2016 flag battle in the preliminary final by eventual premiers Sturt by 35 points. 

The same would happen in the penultimate game of the season three years later, getting knocked out by Glenelg in 2019.

South Adelaide – 1964

Final score: South Adelaide 9.15 (69) def. Port Adelaide 5.12 (42)

Crowd: 56,353 at Adelaide Oval

The wait for premiership success for South Adelaide fans has been widely documented. The Noarlunga club last saluted in 1964, a staggering 57 years ago and have made just one grand final in the time since.

It’s not quite the 72-years it took Sydney to bury their South Melbourne demons with a premiership in 2005, but for many South Adelaide supporters this day was a whole lifetime ago, let alone a non-existent memory for many other younger fans. 

Opponents Port Adelaide had claimed eight of the last ten premierships but didn’t make the most of their opportunities when going for number nine. They had kicked just 10 behinds up to half time while the Panthers, led by inspirational captain/coach Neil Kerley, had kicked five of their own.

Many South Adelaide supporters who were there will tell you about David Kantilla’s inspirational mark in the third quarter, or the fact the Magpies got within 13 points in the last quarter only to be held at arms length by ‘Kerley’s kids’ until the final siren. 

South Adelaide's 1964 premiership team.
South Adelaide’s 1964 premiership team. (Image: South Adelaide Football Club)

Port Adelaide – 1999

Final score: Port Adelaide 14.17 (101) def. 14.9 (93)

Jack Oatey Medallist: Darryl Poole (Port Adelaide)

Crowd: 39,135 at Football Park

Port Adelaide fans have no trouble regaling opposition fans with stories of how successful their club has been. But as it currently stands, they’re yet to win a flag in the 21st century.

Despite this, it must be said their run until the year 2000 was something to behold. The Magpies had won eight of the last 11 grand finals and in 1999 were set for a huge bout against long-time rival Norwood (to be revisited 15 years later) to end the 20th century. 

The Redlegs had finished fifth, two wins ahead of sixth placed West Adelaide after the minor rounds and beat Sturt, Glenelg and Woodville-West Torrens in a finals run of do-or-die clashes. Port Adelaide won the minor premiership and needed just one chance to book its place in the grand final, so too beating the Eagles. 

The boys from the Parade got the jump on their opponents, kicking four and then five goals in each of the first two quarters. Livewire forward Eugene Warrior kicked four across the day, one of just 17 games he played for the Redlegs.

But it was a big – and inaccurate – third quarter which set up the Port Adelaide comeback, as they kicked 4.6 to 1.2 for the term and set up the win. Anthony Bamford had 31 possessions and a goal for the victors, and swimming sensation Kyle Chalmers’ dad Brett finished the day with seven marks and three goals. 

The 1999 Port Adelaide premiership team. (Image: Port Adelaide Football Club)

Central District – 2010

Final score: Central District 10.11 (71) def. Norwood 9.11 (65)

Jack Oatey Medallist: Ian Callinan

Crowd: 34,355 at Football Park

It would have been understandable for SANFL fans to think we may never see a period of dominance like we saw from the Magpies through the eighties and nineties ever again. Oh how they were wrong.

For many of those fans, be they Central District or otherwise, the noughties were a blur; a blur of red, blue and white dominance.

The side hailing from Elizabeth made every grand final from 2000 through to 2011, only being beaten three times. Many fans thought they would lift the flag again in 2011, but with the Eagles denying them on that occasion, their 2010 triumph over Norwood sits as their last. 

The Bulldogs finished the minor season on top of the ladder and beat Norwood in the second semi final. Two weeks later and a tight tussle was beginning to unfold at Football Park as the Redlegs opened up a 17 point advantage at half time.

Step forward the ‘premiership quarter’. Goals to Ian Callinan, Daniel Schell, Callinan again, Lee Spurr and Schell once more monstered a goalless quarter for Norwood. The 17-point, three quarter time lead was just enough, as the Dogs won their ninth flag by six points. 

The Dogs haven’t tasted flag success since 2010. It must be said, it was their ninth in 11 years. (Image: Central District Football Club)

Norwood – 2014

Final score: Norwood 12.10 (82) def. Port Adelaide 11.12 (78)

Jack Oatey Medallist: Matthew Panos

Crowd: 38,644 at Adelaide Oval

2014 was the first year since 1973 the SANFL grand final was played at Adelaide Oval, and wasn’t the occasion marked with a fitting ending.

Norwood had won the previous two premierships, beating West Adelaide in 2012, North Adelaide in 2013 and had their sights set on their first three-peat since 1889. Opponents Port Adelaide had new challenges and goals in 2014, participating for the first time in the SANFL as an AFL reserves side and had finished minor premiers. 

Coached by Ben Warren, the Redlegs had a dominant start to the game and got out to a 28 point lead, only to be reeled back in by the Magpies for a seven point advantage at half time. From then on, it was blow-for-blow between the two sides with the Magpies never being able to get the margin in their favour.

Both sides kicked just 1.2 for the final, scrappy stanza, and with the ball high in the air above Port Adelaide’s forward 50 with 27 minutes gone, the final siren for the 2014 season blew with Norwood just a red-leg in front. 

For many who sat as a neutral fan on that day, the 2014 grand final is held in the highest regard as the most enthralling and captivating SANFL grand final in a long time. Just another great chapter in the history of these two clubs. 

Norwood players celebrate as the final siren of the 2014 SANFL grand final sounds. (Image: Norwood Football Club)

West Adelaide – 2015

Final score: West Adelaide 11.12 (78) def. Woodville-West Torrens 7.6 (48)

Jack Oatey Medallist: Chris Schmidt 

Crowd: 25,625

The belief for many is West Adelaide’s 2015 season was the year it just clicked. It was a case of all the right pieces, in the right places at the right time.

The Bloods finished ninth the year before and tenth the year after and haven’t had great success to any degree since, but 2015 was their time to shine. They hadn’t won a flag since 1983 – the second longest ever premiership drought in SANFL history – when then player (but coach in 2015) Mark Mickan missed out on the glory thanks to a torn ligament. 

They went into the decider as big underdogs, with the Eagles having lost just two games for the year. However, the boys from Richmond developed a 13 point lead at quarter time and never looked back.

Shannon Green was a menacing proposition up forward, finishing with three goals including the sealer, while on-baller Chris Schmidt took home the Jack Oatey Medal finishing with 44 possessions, ten marks and five tackles.

West Adelaide players celebrate their 2015 premiership. (Image: West Adelaide Football Club)

More SANFL Grand Final Week on The Inner Sanctum

2021 SANFL Season Review: A title fight for the best two teams

Reigning premiers Eagles see SANFL grand final by mere seconds

South Adelaide chasing SANFL grand final dream for one more week

Sturt – 2017

Final score: Sturt 7.8 (50) def. Port Adelaide 7.7 (49)

Jack Oatey Medallist: Fraser Evans

Crowd: 39,813 at Adelaide Oval

2002 Sturt premiership player Marty Mattner came back to the club as coach in 2016 and completely revitalised the place.

They beat the Eagles in the grand final that year and had their sights set on completing the job again a year later. They were a side which played a brutal defensive game, a plan pushed by Mattner and enforced by inspirational captain Zane Kirkwood. 

They were beaten convincingly in the qualifying final by eventual grand final opponents Port Adelaide but bounced back to beat Central District and Woodville-West Torrens on their way to the grand final.

For much of the day it was a dour, tight affair with neither side able to gain complete ascendancy at any stage, especially after quarter time. The Magpies wasted opportunities across the second half but last quarter goals to Jake Neade, Brendon Ah Chee, Tom Gray and Ah Chee again had the margin at just one point late in time on.

A Kory Beard goal and James Battersby behind in the last quarter proved to be vital for the Double Blues, as they clinched their 15th premiership. 

The result prompted former Port Adelaide player (and brother of at-the-time Magpies coach Chad) Kane Cornes to state, “for any neutral supporter who witnessed the SANFL grand final, it was clear the competition didn’t want an AFL-based team holding up the premiership cup for the first time“ in an all-time classic meltdown under the heading “agendas.”

Sturt went back-to-back in 2017 with a thrilling one-point win over rivals Port Adelaide. (Image: AFL)

North Adelaide – 2018

Final score: North Adelaide 19.10 (124) def. Norwood 15.15 (105)

Jack Oatey Medallist: Mitch Grigg

Crowd: 40,355 at Adelaide Oval

The circumstances by which North Adelaide reached the 2018 grand final were incredible to say the least. While they won their way to the flag from an unorthodox fifth position, it was an accidental 19th man on the field during the last quarter of the preliminary final against Woodville-West Torrens which stole the headlines during grand final week.

With no time to spare following the official complaint lodged by the Eagles, a SANFL tribunal hearing on Monday night found that while the Roosters were guilty, their win would stand and they would play the following week against minor premiers Norwood. 

The Roosters led at every change, but never by much. It was an entertaining and thrilling game of SANFL footy which saw Norwood act wasteful in front of goal, kicking 3.7 to 5.0 at quarter time.

The two sides went goal-for-goal throughout the second half but two early majors in the last quarter opened up a crucial 17 point lead for North Adelaide. Norwood’s Mitch Grigg took home the Jack Oatey Medal, the first to do so in a losing team. 

A North Adelaide fan celebrates following her side’s premiership win. (Image: SANFL)

Glenelg – 2019

Final score: Glenelg 11.7 (73) def. Port Adelaide 6.9 (43)

Jack Oatey Medallist: Matthew Snook

Crowd: 39,105 at Adelaide Oval

Glenelg finished minor premiers in 2019, a mantle which in recent history hasn’t bode too well for the boys from the Bay, but it was to be a different story in 2019. They hadn’t won a premiership since 1986 and were ready to shake the monkey of losing to Port Adelaide in the 1992, 1990 and 1988 deciders off their back. 

The Tigers kicked the first four goals of the day and couldn’t be caught there after. The lead continued to grow at every break and with the Magpies never looking likely to challenge, Glenelg won their fifth SANFL premiership comfortably.

It was the third time since the turn of the century that Port Adelaide had fallen at the last hurdle when chasing that elusive 37th flag. 

Stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum this week for an in-depth look at the Tigers’ triumph in 2019.

Glenelg celebrate after winning the 2019 SANFL premiership. (Image: SANFL)

Woodville-West Torrens – 2020

Final score: Woodville-West Torrens 13.9 (87) def. North Adelaide 7.6 (48)

Jack Oatey Medallist: Jordan Foote

Crowd: 17,038 at Adelaide Oval

Before 2020, the Eagles had last won a premiership in 2011. Between the two feats, they had made two grand finals, two preliminary finals and finished in the top five on all but one occasion.

For a 30-year-old club, 11 grand finals isn’t a bad effort either, but only four of them have resulted in a premiership. Eagles fans would be forgiven for thinking they may be cursed.

Their opponent North Adelaide was looking to win the double across the men’s and women’s competitions, and started brilliantly too, opening up a 15-point lead at quarter time. But it was a run of seven unanswered goals from the Eagles which broke the game apart.

The second half was a hard slog, with both sides managing just three goals each, but that was more than enough for the Eagles who ran out 39-point winners. Jordan Foote kicked four majors and won the Jack Oatey Medal as best on ground. 

Stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum this week for a look at how the Eagles won the 2020 SANFL Grand Final.

Eagles’ premiership coach Jade Sheedy holds the Thomas Seymour Hill trophy aloft after the 2020 grand final. (Image: SANFL)

Keep up to date with the 2021 SANFL grand final week right here, as The Inner Sanctum has every angle covered. Tomorrow: the 2021 Magarey Medal winner.

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