Tenacious Tigers win first SANFLW premiership

2021 SANFLW Premiers, the Glenelg Tigers. (Picture: sanfl.com.au)

Glenelg has won its first ever SANFLW premiership, putting on a display of clinical football as it cruised to a 23-point victory over West Adelaide. 

Buoyed by the class and poise of AFLW star and best afield Ebony Marinoff, the Tigers flexed their muscles against a West Adelaide side which failed to get off the launch pad. 

The tone of the day was set early, when Jess Searle kicked the Tigers first goal within half a minute of the opening bounce.

Marinoff helped establish a handy lead for the Bays with a remarkable snap-goal born out of fancy footwork and clinical finishing. 

The Bloods came to the party in the second quarter, kicking hard-fought goals through AFLW-listed players Chelsea Biddell and Sarah Dargan.

Speaking post match, Glenelg senior coach Jason Fairall was composed in his reaction to the contest.

“They played pretty well, but I think our weapons in the end, probably got the better of theirs,” he said. 

“We were able to get on the top in some key areas, around the footy, territory and controlling the second half.”

Although both sides wasted opportunities, it felt most poignant for West Adelaide when they squandered a number of goal chances in the third quarter. 

West Adelaide coach Mark Moody spoke of his disappointment post match, but was full of praise for the season that his side had put in. 

“We were just outpowered in that first half,” Moody said. 

“We went away from our structures, we had some defined structures to keep to, and we went away from that.

“I’m proud of my girls, I’m proud of the program – they were just fantastic and they’ve been well supported.”

The Tigers dominated possession and had more clearances, allowing themselves to enter inside forward 50 at a much higher rate.  

And, when it came to the crunch time, the Bays stood up, kicking 1.5 in the final quarter with their power and will enough to ensure premiership status. 

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Marinoff was instrumental for Glenelg, picking up 31 disposals, kicking two goals and taking home the medal for best on ground . 

“She was outstanding, but there’s 22 players and Ebony can’t do her role in the team if 21 others aren’t all doing that,” Fairall said. 

“Finally we have a team that can actually do that and embrace her strengths and allow us to play well.”

Marinoff was ecstatic about the “amazing” achievement, citing her love of the club as a spurring motive.

“I love coming back this club and I will always push to come back [and play],” she said. 

“The girls have been awesome, and to help them get their first flag in their history is a pretty special moment.”

2021 SANFLW best and fairest Lauren Young battled hard for West Adelaide, gathering 18 disposals and was only bettered by teammate Sharnie Whiting with 24 disposals.

The importance of the feat was not lost on Fairall either, commenting on how wonderful it was to be involved in the success.   

“This is something really special,” Fairall said.

“This is history for our club in our centenary year, and it is something the club should be really proud that they’ve achieved.

“To come from bottom in 2018, totally rebuild the program, and here we are three years later.

“It’s incredible.”

Final score

Glenelg 2.1 4.2 4.5 5.10 (40)

West Adelaide 0.1 2.2 2.5 2.5 (17)

BEST: Glenelg: Marinoff, Gould, Searle, Bates, Kellock. West: Young, Biddell, Whiting, Venning. 

GOALS: Glenelg: Marinoff 2, Searle 2, Bates. West: Biddell, Dargan. 

@ Thebarton Oval

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