The return of the men’s leagues across the nation made for a hectic week in state league footy.
From a Thursday night season opener in South Australia, to a one-point battle to the death in Queensland, fans were treated to everything the game has to offer.
While some had a bye for the Easter Weekend, the majority of competitions continued on strong.
All this and more in this week’s edition of Around the States.
South Australia – SANFL
Woodville-West Torrens vs Sturt – Round 1
Reigning premiers Woodville-West Torrens have made their intentions of going back-to-back in 2021 clear, with a 46-point victory over Sturt in round one.
New recruits Troy and Daniel Menzel were standouts for the Eagles, kicking four and three goals respectively in a dominant display up forward.
The opening quarter was an ugly affair, with neither side able to gain ascendency, instead producing a back-and-forth tussle.
The Double Blues were kept in the contest in the second and third quarters thanks to inaccurate kicking up forward by the Eagles.
But a dominant 7-goal last quarter propelled the Eagles to a comfortable victory.
On a hot Good Friday, Sturt were hampered early when key defender Sam Wundke went off with a rib injury, never to return.
James Tsitas (29 disposals) was impressive for the Eagles whilst Tom Lewis (12 tackles, 8 clearances) was a standout for the Double Blues.
Elsewhere, Norwood were 45-point winners in the opening match of the season against Port Adelaide in front of a near-capacity Coopers Stadium.
Bryce Gibbs was impressive in his first outing for South Adelaide, amassing 36 disposals in their 61-point win over the Adelaide Crows.
Central District shocked last years grand finalists North Adelaide with a 9-point win at Elizabeth on Friday.
Final score: Norwood 14.13.(97) def. Port Adelaide 7.10.(52)
South Adelaide 14.18.(102) def. Adelaide 6.5.(41)
Woodville-West Torrens 13.16.(94) def. Sturt 7.6.(48)
Central District 15.9.(99) def. North Adelaide 14.6.(90)
Glenelg 13.11.(89) def. West Adelaide 11.12.(78)
Sturt vs Glenelg – Round 6
In a bumper day of SANFL women’s footy at Adelaide Oval on Saturday where four matches were held in succession, Glenelg and Sturt played out a thrilling draw.
A smother from Sturt’s Abby Pengelly which led to a late Alysha Healy goal tied the score at 39 apiece.
Final score: Sturt 6.3.(39) drew with Glenelg 5.9.(39)
Central District 9.3.(57) def. North Adelaide 2.1.(13)
Woodville-West Torrens 3.4.(22) def. by Norwood 4.8.(32)
West Adelaide 7.11.(53) def. South Adelaide 2.4.(16)
Western Australia – WAFL
Subiaco Lions vs East Perth Royals – Round 1
In their 125th year as a club, the Subiaco Lions got off to a brilliant start in round one, running over the top of a gallant East Perth Royals side by 28 points in a Good Friday shootout.
The co-tenants of Leederville Oval have made their Good Friday fixture a superb spectacle to look forward to each year, and young star Matt Young got the Royals off to a perfect start with two first quarter goals.
The Royals kicked five of the first six goals of the contest to jump out of the gates. Former Brisbane Lion Nick Robertson collected 12 touches and kicked a goal in a prolific first period for the Royals skipper.
It took the experienced heads of Subi to right the ship in the second quarter. Captain Leigh Kitchin controlled the contest, with 16 disposals and a goal in the first half as the Lions went into the main change down a solitary point.
Three injuries and a solitary man on the bench for the second half saw East Perth struggling for legs.
Subiaco took the ascendancy as they started to out-work their cross-town rivals, eventually closing out the match by 28 points.
Ben Sokol, Michael Braut and Aaron Heal all kicked three goals for the Lions, while Ajang Ajang was the Royals’ best in his transition into the ruck.
Final score: Subiaco 15.14.(104) def. East Perth 11.10.(76)
Peel Thunder 11.8.(74) def by. East Fremantle 15.16.(106)
Perth 16.12.(108) def. West Coast 15.5.(95)
South Fremantle 16.10.(106) def. West Perth 13.7.(85)
Swan Districts 18.1.(109) def by. Claremont 20.13.(133)
The WAFLW had a bye over the Easter Weekend, with plenty of big games to come in round seven.
Claremont have a strong chance to jump up the ladder, taking on the winless South Fremantle at home. Peel and Subiaco also do battle on Saturday, while a first versus fourth clash between East Fremantle and Swan Districts headlines Sunday footy.
Tasmania – TSL
Lauderdale Bombers vs Clarence Kangaroos – Round 1
In a highly anticipated match-up that kicked off both teams’ seasons, Lauderdale hung on by six points in a thrilling victory over Clarence.
The Bombers were on top for the first three terms and established a handy 29-point buffer at three-quarter time, which ultimately proved to be the difference in the match.
The Kangaroos surged home in the last, kicking the final three goals of the game with the wind on their side.
But despite only registering one behind in the final term, Lauderdale managed to survive due to some dogged team defence.
Former Geelong premiership player and Brisbane Lion, Allen Christensen, lived up to the hype in his first game in the TSL.
He kicked three goals, led the game in tackles and gathered plenty of the touches through the middle for the Bombers.
His former teammate, Josh Green, was at his mercurial best for Clarence with a game-high four goals.
Two young guns of the competition, Nat Franklin and Oliver Davies, starred for their respective sides in the midfield.
Franklin was arguably best on ground with his dominance through the middle and the impact he made going forward, while Davies impressed with a prototypical inside midfielder’s game (he’ll be joining the Tasmania Devils in the Nab League next week).
Utility Sam Siggins showed his freakish athleticism by playing as both a midfielder and second ruckman to great effect, while Ethan Jackson led all comers with 35 disposals.
Lauderdale will head to Twin Ovals to play Kingborough next Saturday, while Clarence will go up against arch-rival Glenorchy at KGV on Saturday afternoon.
Final score: Lauderdale 11.13.(79) defeated Clarence 10.13.(73)
Kingborough 10.18.(78) defeated North Hobart 10.7.(67)
Launceston 14.13.(97) defeated North Launceston 6.6.(42)
Queensland – QAFL
Noosa vs Wilston Grange – Round 1
Noosa locals were treated to a lively season opener that was ultimately decided by the closest of margins.
The Easter Saturday clash gave nearly everything to Noosa locals, with the Tigers coming frustratingly close after being down by 25 points at the 21-minute mark of the final stanza.
A wet and miserable affair, 11 of the 15 goals scored in the game came in that last quarter, momentum swings going every which way.
For the Gorillas, Lachlan Nixon-Smith ran the wings hard in the horrid conditions, laying a game-saving tackle in the last minute to propel his team forward for one last offensive foray. Big ruckman Alexander Rodrick similarly stood his ground late, holding his line behind the footy.
Flanker Max Hewett and young forward pocket Hugh FIdler kicked two goals apiece for the winning side. For the Tigers, full-forward Aaron Wilson wasn’t hampered by the wet at all, bagging four.
Noosa defenders Corey Lobb and Ryan Buntain were kept busy all day but held down their sides’ defence amongst the final quarter barrage.
Gorillas coach Brent Moloney was over the moon post-game.
“More relieved than anything,” he said.
“Noosa kept fighting and fighting in that last quarter and we had a couple of guys down on the bench and a couple of guys cramping left, right and centre.
“I think both sides did, it was a tough game with a wet surface. We showed great resilience to win the game.”
Noosa will be able to recuperate with a bye this weekend, while the Gorillas will look to keep their form going with a home game at Hickey Park with Maroochydore, who finished fifth in 2020.
Final score: Noosa 8.7.(55) defeated by Wilston Grange 7.14.(56)
The women’s league had a bye over the Easter Weekend, though the round six fixture is shaping up to be one of the biggest of the season yet.
A first versus second Saturday afternoon clash at Leyshon Park Oval between Yeronga South Brisbane and Bond University will draw plenty of eyes.
Similarly, third and fourth do battle as the Aspley Hornets take on the University of Queensland. The Red Lions have lost two straight after a strong start, including a demolition of Yeronga in round three.
They risk putting their finals chances in danger with another loss as the competition approaches the halfway point.
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