NORWOOD recorded its first win at Adelaide Oval since 2019, after defeating Glenelg by 28-points in the First Semi-Final on Sunday afternoon.
After trailing by as much as 11-points at quarter time, the Redlegs fierce contested game returned which saw them dominate the Bays in the following three terms to run out eventual winners, 12.7. (79) to 7.9. (51).
The Bays started the match on high, as Matthew Allen booted the Tigers first goal from 45 metres out on a slight angle.
The Legs responded instantly, as the high-flying Ben Jarvis was the recipient of an inch-perfect kick from running midfielder, Declan Hamilton.
Jarvis made no mistake to hand Norwood back a one-point lead.
The Bays continued to pressure the Legs throughout the remainder of the first term and they hit the scoreboard two more times via Reid Kuller and Luke Reynolds.
The second term saw the Redlegs midfield get to work led by gun ruckman, Harry Boyd who delivered the ball expertly to Jacob Kennerley and Nik Rokahr.
In the seventh minute, small forward Henry Nelligan picked out Hamilton who was positioned 50-metres out on a tough angle.
Hamilton played on to wheel around onto his right to kick Norwood’s first of the second term.
The Redlegs started to gain momentum, winning the contested ball numbers and clearances.
Former Magpie Jay Rantall then found space in the middle of the ground to kick the ball forward to space, which saw the ever-dangerous Baynen Lowe kick around the corner to draw level just on 15 minutes.
The Bays responded two minutes later courtesy of Will Chandler, before goals to Connor McLean and Matthew Panos handed the Redlegs a seven-point buffer at the main break.
Defender Jack Kelly was awarded a free kick inside the centre squad early in the term as he picked out the bustling McLean who marked strongly overhead from 40-metres out.
McLean made no mistake from his set shot and the Redlegs suddenly led by 14-points.
Norwood continued to pressure the Bays, as their tackle pressure lifted throughout the third term.
The Redlegs ball movement was slick giving their forwards plenty of opportunities to capitalise.
In the tenth minute, Boyd took a strong pack mark which ignited the Redlegs faithful. He went back to a clutch goal to extend the lead to 21-points.
Norwood continued to defend well, led by Jack Heard and Cam Ball. They kept the Bays goalless throughout the third term and enjoyed a 19-point lead heading into the final stanza.
Glenelg midfielder Luke Partington, included after recovering from a foot injury, goaled from a set shot to trim the margin to 11 points less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.
But any faint hope the Tigers had of recovering wad snuffed out by the classy Panos, who booted the next two majors to open Norwood’s lead back out to 23 points.
And when the 2014 premiership hero cleverly popped handball over the top for teammate Jay Rantall to run into the open goal, the Legs were well and truly off to their first Preliminary Final since 2011.
Nik Rokahr led the way on the stats sheet with 28 disposals, six clearances and six tackles while fellow midfielders Jacob Kennerley (21 disposals) and captain Matt Nunn (20 disposals, five clearances) also chimed in.
Redlegs ruck Harry Boyd was influential with 17 disposals, seven clearances and 46 hit outs as he got his team rolling regularly while key defender Jack Heard was super for the second final in succession, with his 14 disposals, seven tackles and countless timely spoils.
Jack Oatey Medallist Panos doesn’t need much of the ball to impact the outcome of a match, but he still finished with 14 disposals and seven clearances to go with three goals and a goal assist.
NORWOOD: 1.3 5.5 7.7 12.7 (79)
GLENELG: 3.2 4.4 4.8 7.9 (51)
GOALS: Panos 3, McLean 2, Rantall 2, Jarvis, Boyd, Hamilton, Nunn, Lowe
BEST: Rokahr, Nelligan, Ball, Panos, Boyd, Kennerley