Norwood’s U18 season got underway on Sunday afternoon with a thrilling come-from-behind one-point victory over South Adelaide in Noarlunga.
After a five-month pre-season, U18 coach Alex Newell said he was keen to see the “Norwood brand of football”, which came shining through after half time.
The Redlegs trailed by as much as 19-points at half-time, before going on a six-goal-to-one run in the third and fourth quarters to break away to a 12-point lead.
South responded late with two late goals through Jack Delean and Sid Draper, but Norwood hung on to the 8.7-55 to 8.6-54 win.
Norwood’s Jacob Newton (26 disposals, six tackles and five clearances), Eamonn Cronin (23 disposals, nine tackles) and Darcy Emerson (21 disposals) were the leading disposal winners on the ground. Captain Jacob Jones had 18 disposals, while Kade Maddigan kicked three goals and Jay Polkinghorne two.
It was Round 1, but the weather resembled a mid-July wintery day, and it was the Panthers who settled early with two goals in the first seven minutes.
Maddigan kicked the first goal for Norwood, followed by a second through Orlando Turner to give the visiting side the lead late in the first term.
The second quarter belonged to the Panthers, kicking two goals and leaving Norwood scoreless.
“The second quarter we unfortunately did not capitalise on our forward 50 entries and failed to put any score on the board as opposed to South’s two goals,” Newell said.
“We headed down into the rooms at half time trialing by 19 points, the biggest margin of the game. We highlighted and addressed some focus areas at the break which we were extremely confident that if we got those right, we could tip the scoreboard back into our favour.
“The players were incredibly responsive and applied exactly what was discussed right out of the gate in the second half. As a result we kicked the first three goals of the third quarter due to a brilliant crumbing snap from Will Rowlands and Maddigan kicking the other two of his goals again from set shots.
“Cronin and Newton lead the way in the middle of the ground with their physicality and appetite for the contest as we started to display what we believed a Norwood game looks like.”
The three early goals from Rowlands and Maddigan got the margin back to one point, and Norwood hit the front in the final term thanks to consecutive goals to Polkinghorne.
“The belief never wavered and heading into the final quarter, we knew we would have to trust our system and stay composed to get the result we had worked so hard for,” Newell said.
“It was a tremendous performance and result to kick start our 2023 campaign.”
Norwood – 2.1, 2.1, 5.5, 8.7 – 55
South Adelaide – 3.0, 5.2, 6.6, 8.6 – 54
Goals: Maddigan 3, Polkinghorne 2, Rowlands, Sellen, Turner
Best: Cronin, Maddigan, Krollig, Newton, Michalanney
Norwood had the challenging task of South Adelaide in Noarlunga to kick off its 2023 U16 campaign, and despite a last quarter fight back the Panthers clung to a six-point win.
South claimed a 8.13-61 to 8.7-55 win in tough, wintery conditions.
Like the U18 game Norwood had the leading ball winners on the field, with Jack Hayter kicking off his season with 39 disposals and four clearances, while Jeff Rozenbilds had 31 touches, four tackles and also kicked a goal.
Hayter and Rozenbilds were named amongst the best players, as was Micah Kretschmer with 19 disposals. Will Prescott booted three goals and took four marks.
The first quarter was an even contest with two goals going to each side, and while Norwood won the second quarter and went into half time with a five-point lead South was able to stay in the game through easy goals, which proved costly.
The Panthers dictated the game for a 10-minute spurt coming out of half time, booting three goals in three minutes, and a fourth straight goal helped the home side to a match-high 17-point lead.
Norwood had a license to take the game on in the fourth term and it resulted in three unanswered goals through Robert Varcoe, Mitchell Stevenson and Jim Kelly, but the siren rang on a six-point South Adelaide win.
Norwood 2.3, 5.4, 5.7, 8.7 – 55
South Adelaide 2.2, 4.5, 8.7, 8.13 – 61
Goals: Prescott 3, Jamieson, Kelly, Rozenbilds, Stevenson, Varcoe
Best: Jack Hayter, Oliver Gribben, Micah Kretschmer