Top Eight: Defining Moments of the 2019 SANFLW Season
We all know about the butterfly effect; one small action that can have serious implications down the road.
And of course, football is no exception. From the obvious outcomes of games, to individual performances, and even just one simple kick; they all helped define this 2019 SANFLW season and helped shape its end.
However, even now, some of these defining moments got lost when looking at the bigger picture; and their implications didn’t come into effect or get noticed until much later, if not at all. Which is why, we would like re-visit some of the actions and outcomes that helped define the 2019 SANFLW season.
So, without further ado, these are the Top Eight: Defining Moments of the 2019 SANFLW Season.
#8 - Biddell’s Six (round two)
To kick of our defining moments list, we thought we would take a look an impressive feat early in the season. Now as most of us probably know; the SANFLW’s newest inclusion, the Eagles, did not have the best inaugural year, going winless. But for some reason, they managed to match up well against West Adelaide; and while Melanie Elsegood’s goal in round nine was the eventual game winner the second time round; it was Chelsea Biddell that was the nail in the Eagles coffin in their first clash.
For those who don’t remember; the Bloods led by as much as 28 points at three-quarter time; but the Eagles responded by playing their best quarter of football all season, holding West scoreless and booting four goals of their own to fall just short; with the finals scores being West 7.3 (45) to Eagles 6.6 (42).
So, why was Chelsea Biddell the nail in the Eagles coffin?
Well, because she kicked six of West’s seven goals; this early win for the Eagles may have seen their inaugural season play out a lot differently, and as for Chelsea, this was an early sign of the eventual draftee’s breakout season.
#7 - Westies Wonderful Second Half (round six)
Coming in at number seven, and it would have been higher if it wasn’t for West missing out on the finals; is the Bloods come from behind win against Sturt in round six. A tale of two halves, Sturt booted five straight goals to West’s three goals and four behinds in the first half, to send them into halftime with a healthy buffer.
However, led by the earlier mentioned Biddell who finished the match with four goals; the Bloods booted three goals and held Sturt to just one-point after half-time, to come out on top with a 5.1 (31) to 6.7 (43) win.
From Sturt’s perspective, while it hurts to lose after such a great start, in the scope of things the win wouldn’t have changed much except maybe a much-needed confidence boost midway through the season. However, for the Bloods, if they didn’t come back and lost; they would have fell out of finals contention much earlier than they ended up, meaning that the top four would have been settled several weeks earlier than round ten.
#6 - Norwood’s Winning Streak Comes to an End (round nine)
Norwood seemed unbeatable for most of the season. However, they ended up losing three games in just four weeks. Their impressive eight game winning streak came to an end in round nine, to the hands of rival South Adelaide. While they did manage to bounce back the following week, they would once again fall to the Panthers in the first week of finals, this time by 13 points. And the following week they would fall to North Adelaide.
Football is a funny game; and more often than not, teams that have been winning all year tend to fall over their feet at the end, compared to teams that find form late which has the potential to do a lot of damage.
So, while Glenelg found impressive momentum in the final three weeks of the regular season, Norwood’s momentum on the other hand was taking a serious hit.
#5 - Allan’s Third Time Lucky (preliminary final)
The fifth most defining moment for this SANFLW season came in the second to last game; and involves North Adelaide’s Paige Allan. Now, most of us should know of the saying, “third time lucky”. And in this case, it was the Roosters who got lucky. The preliminary final was close to say the least, with both team’s inaccuracy keeping the other team in contention, with the final scores being 2.6 (18) to 1.10 (16).
Similar to South Adelaide’s Tiffany Copley whose first ever SANFLW goal was the nail in the coffin for Norwood the previous week; this time, it was a case of third time lucky instead of first time lucky, as Allan kicked her third goal of the season during this game, which certainly helped the Roosters over the line and into the Grand Final. If she only kicked two goals for the season instead of three, we would have had a repeat of the 2018 Grand Final.
#4 - Tigers pounce on Panthers (round eight)
A week is a long time in football, and the week between round seven and eight is a prime example. After beating the Tigers easy the first time, South Adelaide were stunned by a 5.2 (32) to 2.6 (18) defeat the following week. It was the same team at the same ground, but the inaccurate Panthers were dealt a serious blow.
However, it was the following weeks the defined the season. For Glenelg, this huge scalp restarted their momentum; best shown through their 59 to 17 belting of Sturt the following week, which is a clear contrast of their 0.5 (5) to 0.3 (3) defeat to them in round five. It was this momentum that saw them storm into finals and snatch fourth spot from West Adelaide.
As for the Panthers, it was a shake-up they needed. As the Panthers made seven changes for the following week, which turned out to be a stroke of genius as they ended Norwood’s eight game winning streak. So, for Glenelg it was the momentum boost they needed and as for the Panthers, it was the shake up they needed.
#3 - Roosters escape Tigers (semi-final)
The earlier mentioned Tigers momentum ended up running out of steam in the first semi-final against North Adelaide. While the Roosters would also go on to just beat Norwood the following week, we have gone with this game because we believe that a Glenelg victory could have easily changed the Grand Final.
The game was a battle of the backlines, as the ball continually went back and forwards; Ebony Marinoff led the way for the Tigers with 38 disposals, nine tackles and eight clearances. But at the end of the day, the game came down to what side was luckier, with the teams so evenly matched, it would be something as simple as the bounce of the ball that would decide who wins and who losses.
And despite having three more scoring shots, it was Glenelg that would fall just short, 4.1 (25) to 3.5 (23). However, if the Tigers could have managed just three more points, it would have set up a clash with Norwood; whose momentum had taken a serious beating since round nine. So, if the Tigers could have beaten Norwood, it would have seen Glenelg return to their home deck to face the Panthers in the Grand Final; but we will never know what would have happened.
#2 - the Big Cats get Big Wins (round ten)
For the number two spot, we will have a brief overview of two results from round ten. For starters, South Adelaide versus West Adelaide; the Panthers had to win to hold on to the double chance whereas the Bloods had to win to guarantee their finals spot. Ironically, a Panthers loss would have seen them play West Adelaide again the following week in the finals, as their defeat would have handed North Adelaide the double chance. As we know, South went on to beat West 6.7 (43) to 4.3 (27), which brings us to our second result.
The second game that decided the finals was the Glenelg versus the Eagles clash. While in the SANFL men, it was the Panthers that had to rely on Glenelg’s men to win in order for them to make the finals; in the women, it was Glenelg that had to rely on the Panthers women to win. The Tiger’s ended up beating the winless Eagles, 7.9 (51) to 5.2 (32) and because of the Panthers versus Westies result; the Bloods fell out of the top four for the first time this year and the Tigers took their place.
#1 - Campbell's Kick (round four)
Taking the number spot for the moment that defined the 2019 SANFLW season, goes to Nicole Campbell’s game winning goal against North Adelaide in round four. In what was the earliest matchup for the year between the two eventual Grand finalists’; who would have thought that it would have had the biggest impact?
As for the game itself, well it is the perfect example of a tale of two halves. The first quarter saw the Panthers play their worse quarter of football to date, heading into the first break facing a 0.0 (0) to 4.1 (25) deficit. Likewise, the main break saw them still trail, 11 to 32. However, the Panthers were able to boot four second half goals while holding North to just one goal. The last of which came when Nicole Campbell marked with less than ten seconds left and kicked truly to give the Panthers their first lead of the day; and a 5.9 (39) to 6.2 (38) win.
So, why was this such a defining moment?
Well, if the result was changed, and the Panthers never came back, or if Nicole had missed; the immediate effect is that it would have severely hurt the Panthers momentum heading into the middle of the season. Which could have seen them fall to a mid-season slump, similar to that of Glenelg. However, for the biggest impact on the season that Campbell’s kick had; we must fast-track to round ten. This is because, if North Adelaide had this extra win, they would be sitting equal with the Panthers, but with a three percent buffer.
Meaning that South would lose their double chance and would have to face the rampaging Tigers; while North would have faced rival Norwood, which going by the second semi-final, could have gone either way. But instead, Campbell’s kick changed it all.