The SANFL state team retained the Haydn Bunton Junior Trophy with a 53-point win over the WAFL in a free-flowing, high-scoring game at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon.
With two Magarey Medallists, nine former AFL players, and thirteen league premiership players, it is no wonder this South Australian outfit was up for the task.
Despite the Western Australians being forced to fly back home with their tails between their legs, there were still those who stood up and shone on the big stage for the visitors.
Patrick Goldsmith and Jasper Chellappah dissect the potential draftees and seasoned veterans who stood up and impressed for both sides.
The former Carlton and Adelaide player and current South Adelaide leader was instrumental through the midfield, especially early, setting up SA’s fast ball movement. He took a strong mark up forward and converted the goal 23 minutes into the first quarter. He finished with 31 disposals, one goal, and thirteen marks.
Broadbent took home the Fos Williams Medal as the best afield for the home side with his performance off half-back. The veteran South Adelaide player picked up 29 disposals and 11 marks as he provided the initial spark for many of South Australia’s forays forward. Having played 171 AFL games for the Power across ten years, he has proved himself as one of the instrumental playmakers of the SANFL competition this year.
The Eagles veteran was impressive early, setting up his club teammate Jack Hayes magnificently for the first goal of the day within two minutes. The smooth-moving hard-man ended the day with 21 disposals and ten marks, working well in passages of link-up play for the Croweaters.
The Port Adelaide captain was at his usual, level-headed best on Saturday, working well through the middle of the ground. He kicked the second goal of the day, steadying the ship with a well-timed snap. The former Fremantle player finished the day with 14 disposals.
As equal higher scorer for the day, Luke Reynolds’ influence was key for South Australia. One of three Glenelg key forwards representing the state on the day, he worked well with Lachlan Hosie (two goals) and Liam McBean (three goals) to be the three-headed monster up forward coach Jade Sheedy had hoped for. Reynolds finished the day with four goals, 14 disposals, and five marks.
The Woodville-West Torrens forward has shown serious talent through his league performances so far this year in the SANFL and wasn’t about to shy away on the big stage. The former Crow showed prospective AFL recruiters what he’s made of, kicking three goals, including a third-quarter major featuring fancy footwork as he danced through two opponents.
He may not be captain at his SANFL club, but Sheedy promised during the week that Hayes would “lead with actions”, and that’s exactly what he did. The utility stood up early, kicking the first goal of the game as well as bopping up later with two more.
Knight was influential providing much of the grunt work in the middle of the ground. The former Adelaide Crow returned to his original club of the Eagles this year and has so far proved to be a welcomed addition. He ended as the second-highest possession getter on the ground, picking up 30 disposals, nine marks, and five tackles.
The Glenelg captain has his own side purring along nicely at the moment, but Curran was also influential for his state. Playing his traditional role as a key defender, the veteran stood manfully against the WAFL key forwards and picked off entry after entry, finishing with eleven marks and 19 disposals.
The 2019 Magarey Medallist and premiership player started slowly but came into the contest well. Kicked a good goal from amongst the pressure six minutes into the second quarter, consolidating the home side’s advantage. Walked off with 25 disposals and two goals.
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Bolton was Western Australia’s best on the day, with 29 disposals in the midfield including six forward 50s. His composure and aggression (three tackles) in the clinches stood out for the Black Swans, as well as his ability to find teammates by hand and foot against an impressive South Australian outfit. The dual-Sandover Medallist is now a three-time State Game Simpson Medallist (awarded to WA’s best player) and continues to stamp himself as one of the WAFL’s modern greats.
The former Sandover Medallist big-man had 26 touches on the day. His unique proficiency at ground level for a ruck-size player caused headaches for his opposition, receiving several different match-ups throughout the game. Delahunty spent time up forward, through the midfield, and in the ruck for his WAFL side in a brilliant showing.
Highly touted to get picked up in the mid-season draft, ruckman Corey Gault was one of WA’s best. He competed well in the contest to record 17 disposals and 12 hit-outs. Around the ground is where he did his damage, taking six marks and providing an important marking option out of an under-siege WA backline.
Keitel was the WAFL’s avenue to goal for most of the day, with the West Perth star booting four goals for the game. It was a masterful forward display as he kicked two in the first half including the opening goal on the quarter-time siren, then provided the Black Swans with their only goal for the third term. Without Keitel, it could have ended with a much larger margin than the 53 points at Adelaide Oval.
The former St Kilda forward came to life in the last quarter for the Black Swans. He kicked two goals on the day which came in the final quarter when the game was over. However, he still managed to show off his aerial ability and dynamic forward play to remain a constant threat in the game. A smoky to get picked up in the mid-season draft after performing admirably for the South Fremantle Bulldogs in his return to state league football.
Named captain for the contest, the Subiaco skipper provided some much-needed poise against a barrage of SANFL goals. He stood up in the third term when the Croweaters had got a run on the stem the flow somewhat, and managed to pick up 21 disposals for his side.
The youngster with a bag of tricks was kept quiet against the big bodies of the SANFL side but bobbed up in the final quarter to kick a goal. Thorne is a relevant mid-season draft player who the WA clubs are looking at closely but wasn’t able to show his forward 500 ability too much as the SANFL controlled the majority of the contest.