Norwood farewelled the retiring Mitch Wilkins in style, with a remarkable 19-point come from behind win over the third placed Adelaide at Coopers Stadium on Saturday.
The Redlegs started brightly kicking eight of the first 10 goals to lead by 30 points late in the first half, before Adelaide went on to boot eight consecutive goals of their own to turn the five-goal deficit into a 22-point three quarter time lead.
Norwood kicked the only seven goals of the last quarter to claim a memorable 15.3-93 to 10.14-74 victory.
On what was a stunning day at Coopers Stadium the players ran through the Fortis Army guard of honour before the first bounce, while the club also celebrated Remembrance Round and Eyre Peninsula Round (Norwood’s regional zone).
Playing down in defence for most of his career, Wilkins was swung forward to enjoy his final run around on Norwood Oval, kicking two goals and gathering 13 disposals.
Nik Rokahr was again dominant through the midfield with 32 disposals, six tackles and five clearances, while Matthew Ling had 25 disposals and nine marks.
Co-captain Jacob Kennerley kicked three important goals from the midfield and also gathered 23 disposals.
Norwood got off to a flying start with five goals to one in the first term.
On a day where the club celebrated Eyre Peninsula Round (Norwood’s regional zone), fittingly it was Cummins junior player Jacob Kennerley who kicked the first goal of the afternoon.
Even more fittingly, it was Wilkins that kicked the second goal of the day, snapping one around the corner for just his eighth career goal.
Jackson Callow gave Norwood the perfect start with another goal at the eight-minute mark to put the home side up by 17 points.
All the action was down The Parade End where Norwood was kicking, but the Crows managed to steady with a goal to Josh Smithson.
Ben Jarvis and Callow managed further goals for the Redlegs in the first term to help Norwood to a 15-point lead at the first break.
Ling had 12 disposals in the first quarter, while Kennerley had 10 and kicked a goal.
Goals to Wilkins and Matt Panos kicked Norwood to a 26-point lead early in the second term, before Kennerley kicked his second goal of the game to make it a 30-point lead at the 17-minute mark.
The Crows were held goalless for the first 24 minutes of the second term, only managing four behinds to Norwood’s three straight goals.
However, Lachie Sholl and Jackson Hately kicked late goals to reduce Norwood’s lead to 17 points at half time, 8.1-49 to 4.8-32.
Callow, Kennerley and Wilkins had two goals to half time, while Rokahr had 17 disposals and five tackles in the first half.
The Crows got their running game going after half time and blew Norwood out of the water to kick eight consecutive goals (including Sholl and Hately’s) and turn the five-goal Redlegs lead into a 22-point Crows advantage at three-quarter time.
Norwood’s first goal of the second half was a timely one, with Ben Jarvis nailing a long set shot to bring it back to a 16-point margin in the opening two minutes.
Callow’s third goal of the game followed straight away and the Redlegs were back within 10 points – the comeback was on.
Adelaide missed a couple of opportunities, and Norwood made them pay with the next goal coming through Pierce Seymour at the 14-minute mark, bringing it back to a four-point margin.
The Crows had another attacking chance out of the centre bounce, but a desperate tackle from Rokahr saved a certain goal.
Another desperate tackle in the forward half gave Jarvis a free kick and his third goal, and more importantly the lead back by one point at the 19-minute mark.
Kennerley’s goal from the pocket brought the house down, while Connor McLean kicked two late to lock in the Round 18 victory.
Norwood 5.1, 8.1, 8.1, 15.3 – 93
Adelaide 2.4, 4.8, 10.11, 10.14 – 74
Goals: Callow 3, Jarvis 3, Kennerley 3, McLean 2, Wilkins 2, Panos, Seymour
Best: Kennerley, Seymour, Rokahr, Warburton, Callow
Norwood’s Reserves season came to an end on Saturday with a 49-point loss to Central District in Elizabeth.
The Redlegs were fighting for a spot in the top five, but ran into a strong Bulldogs side who had already locked in a top three finish.
Norwood kicked the first goal of the contest through Macaulay Glover and held a slender three-point lead at quarter time, before the Bulldogs kicked three unanswered goals in the second term to take control of the game.
Both sides kicked three goals in the third term, and the home side led by 19 points at the final break, with Centrals’ poor kicking keeping Norwood in the contest (6.14-50 to 4.7-31).
The game was on the line when Redlegs forward Liam Robinson kicked the first goal of the final term to make it a 13-point margin.
From there Centrals powered home with the last six goals of the match to run out 12.14-86 to 5.7-37 winners.
Henry Nelligan continued his good run of form since rejoining the senior squad late in the season with a 26-disposal outing on Saturday, while Tom Graham had 21 disposals.
Goal kickers were Luke Bogle with two and singles to Robinson (who had 20 disposals, eight marks and five tackles), Glover and Connor Kent.
Glenelg, Sturt, Centrals, South Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens make up the top five, with Norwood finishing sixth on percentage.
Both the Redlegs and Eagles finished with a 7-11 win-loss record, with Woodville-West Torrens having a 1.2% advantage to progress through.
Norwood 1.2, 1.5, 4.7, 5.7 – 37
Central District 0.5, 3.10, 6.14, 12.14 – 86
Goals: Bogle 2, Glover, Robinson, Kent
Best: Robinson, van Wyk, Nelligan, Graham, Bogle