NFC Senior Men

Redlegs run away with Round 1 win over Sturt

Matt Panos celebrating his first quarter goal. Photo: Maya Thompson NFC

Norwood secured a 27-point win over last year’s grand finalists Sturt in the opening match of the 2024 SANFL season.

The Redlegs kicked seven goals to three after half time to run away with an 11.11-77 to 7.8-50 victory in front of more than 4000 fans at Coopers Stadium on Easter Thursday evening.

Harry Boyd had an enormous influence on the contest with 21 disposals, 14 clearances, nine tackles and a goal, while debutant Billy Cootee impressed with two goals from 21 disposals, whilst also laying 10 tackles and winning six clearances.

Cootee was one of seven debutants on Thursday night, with Mitch O’Neill, Jordon Boyle, Cooper Murley, Finn Heard, Ben Simpson and Alastair Lord also wearing the red and blue for the first time at SANFL level.

O’Neill also had 21 disposals in what was his 50th SANFL match (49 with South Adelaide), while F. Heard kicked a crucial third quarter goal.

The Redlegs trailed by one point at half time, but kicked six of the next seven goals to get out to a 27-point lead early in the final term, and went on to win by that margin.

Norwood played a tough brand of football, laying 94 tackles to Sturt’s 63, and restricting the Double Blues to 48 marks to the Redlegs 62.

Norwood captain Jacob Kennerley won the first centre clearance of the game and belted the ball inside 50m, resulting in the first goal of the season, a Boyd set shot.

Sturt found the next goal with the corresponding centre clearance, a long strike from James Mathews.

Norwood was leading the inside 50m battle 5-2 early in the contest and capitalised with a second set shot goal to Baynen Lowe.

Again, it didn’t take Sturt long to find its second goal, another set shot through Lachie Burrows.

Unlike the corresponding Easter Thursday game last season, Norwood was in the game early, showing real intent against the 2022 Grand Finalists.

The Double Blues should have had four goals on the board, missing two simple set shots in the first 12 minutes.

After Burrows’ goal at the 10-minute mark, the game went goalless for the next 13 minutes, until Matt Panos created a bit of magic with a right foot snap from a boundary throw in, in front of a packed Coopers Hill.

Boyd had a huge impact in the first term, with nine disposals, five clearances, three tackles and a goal to quarter time, while Matt Ling had eight disposals off half back.

The Redlegs led 3.3-21 to 2.3-15 at the first break.

The second quarter was a real tussle, as Norwood could manage just one goal from six entries, but it came through Cootee’s first major in Norwood colours from the scoreboard pocket.

The Double Blues had 10 forward 50m entries for a return of 2.2 for the quarter, and again Norwood was lucky Sturt didn’t capitalise on shots close to goal.

At the main break the Double Blues led by one point in a low scoring contest, 4.5-29 to 4.4-28.

Not much separated the two teams at the half in the way of disposals 149-144, and inside 50m entries 21-21, but Norwood led the tackles 44-35 and marks 38-28, while Sturt led clearances 23-15.

Cootee and Boyd had 11 disposals and one goal apiece at half time, while Sturt’s Will Snelling had 16 disposals, James Battersby 14 and Tom Lewis 12.

Both sides found set shot opportunities early in the third term, but couldn’t find convert into goals, and the scores were locked at 4.6-30 apiece after 10 minutes.

Cootee’s second goal broke the deadlock, after he won a holding the ball free kick 40m from goal.

Norwood’s new-found trio of Lord, Ling and Murley off half back looked dangerous on transition from back half, and the Redlegs found their sixth goal when they went coast to coast, eventually ending in a Declan Hamilton snap goal.

The Hamilton goal put Norwood up by 12 points, 6.7-43 to 4.7-31 at the 15-minute mark.

The Redlegs defence was holding firm, allowing Sturt just three behinds in the first 20 minutes of the third quarter, before Burrows toe-poked one through on the goal line.

The next goal before three quarter time was important, and it went to the home side when F. Heard put his first League goal through with four minutes to go in the term to make it an 11-point Norwood lead.

Even more important was Jackson Callow’s goal in the final minute to make it a four-goal-to-one term and a 17-point lead at the last break – 8.7-55 to 5.8-38.

Sturt got the first goal of the final term through Connor McFadyen, reducing the margin to 12 points.

Forward half pressure resulted in a turnover to Panos at half forward, who found Jake Cresswell uncontested. Cresswell’s behind made it a 14-point game.

Cresswell made up for the miss, smothering the next rebound 50m and kicking the ball back inside for an Izaak Twelftree goal from close range.

Boyd continued to be a problem for Sturt as he grabbed it out of the ruck and belted it forward for his 11th clearance of the game, which eventually ended in a goal through Hamilton to create some breathing room at 27 points with 15 minutes remaining.

Sturt kicked the next one through Fahey-Sparks to make it interesting, but Cresswell put the nail in the coffin at the 22-minute mark to return the lead to 27 points, which was the final score of the contest.

Earlier in the day, Norwood’s Reserves claimed a two-point win over Sturt, 8.4-52 to 6.14-50.

Norwood now has a week off for AFL Gather Round before taking on reigning premiers Glenelg in Round 2 at Coopers Stadium on Friday night, April 12.



Norwood 3.3, 4.4, 8.7, 11.11 – 77

Sturt 2.3, 4.5, 5.8, 7.8 – 50

Goals: Cootee 2, Hamilton 2, Twelftree, Boyd, Panos, Lowe, F. Heard, Callow, Cresswell

Best: Boyd, Ling, Cootee, Donnelly, O’Neill

Norwood ruckman Harry Boyd had 21 disposals, 31 hitouts, 14 clearances, nine tackles and a goal in Round 1.


Norwood secured a two-point come from behind win over Sturt in Round 1 of the SANFL Reserves competition at Coopers Stadium on Easter Thursday.

The Redlegs trailed by as much as 21 points during the third term, and hit the front for the first time in the match mid-way through the final quarter, but held their nerve in a 8.4-52 to 6.14-50 victory.

Sturt kicked the first three goals of the match, but kicked just 3.14 for the remainder of the contest.

The Double Blues led by 15 points at quarter time, 14 at half time and nine at three quarter time, before the Redlegs kicked the only three goals of the final term to claim the two-point victory.

Connor McLean kicked three goals, including the last of the game to take the lead for the first time. Xavier Tranfa kicked two goals, while singles went to Jayden Gale, Goy Lok and Liam Robinson.

Nich Weightman had 23 disposals, while Tranfa had 19 disposals, two goals, eight tackles and seven clearances.

Key Defender Josh Gillow was named best on ground in his first game in Norwood colours.


Norwood 1.1, 3.2, 6.3, 8.4 – 52

Sturt 3.4, 4.10, 6.12, 6.14 – 50

Goals: McLean 3, Tranfa 2, Gale, Lok, Robinson

Best: Gillow, Gale, Tranfa, Weightman, McLean