League Qualifying Final v Port Adelaide
Port 13.11 (89) Sturt 11.8 (74)
Reserves Qualifying Final v North Adelaide
Sturt 15.7 (97) North 6.9 (45)
The boys headed into our Qualifying Final on Sunday full of confidence with a settled side and on the back of some good form against Norwood the week prior. Our focus was on performing for 4 quarters as Finals footy is a step up and we knew we needed to be on our game against last years Reserves Premiers.
We continued our positive first quarters with a 5 goal to 2 term set up with some creating running and drive from Henry Carey and Dwayne Wilson as well as some impressive hunger and forward pressure from our front 6.
North rallied in the 2nd quarter and upped their intensity which caused some skill errors and poor decision making on our behalf, however we still had our fair share of the ball and kicked 3 goals each in the term to take a 20 point lead into the main break.
A few tweaks to the line-up at half time due to being down a player from injury meant the boys were asked to rally as rotations would be down. We knew a big 3rd quarter would set this game up for us and the lads duly delivered. We had a huge 3rd term piling on 6 goals to 0 playing some exciting footy based around pressure and backing ourselves with the footy. We were able to take a 56 point lead into 3 quarter time which meant we would be hard to stop.
Nevertheless we wanted to perform for 4 quarters so the boys were focused on finishing the job at hand. The last quarter was scrappy as North threw guys behind the ball to stem the bleeding and we were able to rest some blokes who had worked hard all game. Going into a 5 day break we though it was important to ease the load of some guys to start getting ready for next week. In the end we ran out commanding 52 point winners and head into the Semi Final full of confidence.
- Campbell Wildman – was brilliant all day, displaying an incredible workrate to finish with 35possessions, 8 marks, 7 tackles and a goal.
- Henry Carey – was super productive with his run and drive all day, displaying composure with the footy and going at high efficiency by foot.
- Brandon Zerk-Thatcher – was back to his best rebounding in defense, smothering his opponents and running hard to create.
- Luke Edmonds – continued to be solid as a rock in defence, especially stepping up in the 2nd half in the absence of Tom Campbell.
- Jack Penfold – returned to some form with explosive running and speed from the contest also contributing 2 goals.
Goals – Houlahan 4, Voigt, Penfold 2, Applebee, Coulson, Veale, Wildman, Telford, Samblich, Kennedy 1.
We are looking forward to the challenge we face against Port this week, a side that has set the bench mark this year and we want to test ourselves against the best.
U18’s Elimination Final v West U18’s
Sturt 16.14 (110) West Adelaide 10.10 (70)
The first week of the finals in the U18’s Torrens University Cup saw the third placed Sturt U18’s take on the fourth placed West Adelaide in the Elimination Final at Football Park.
After a good week on the track the players were ready to go and were determined to get off to a good start. Through great pressure and tackling all over the ground we were able to create scoring opportunities and the forwards managed to finish off well. This earned us a 31-point lead at quarter time but the players knew they needed to continue to work hard to maintain the pressure. Much to the players credit they were able to continue their dominance to score 5 goals to West’s 2 goals for the quarter. Other positives in the first half were the commitment to protect teammates with blocks and some good forward entries to advantage. The second half was a much different story with West starting to find some consistency with their ball movement, which turned into goals. This comeback saw them outscore us by 12 points in the last half but the damage was done and the final siren saw Sturt eventually run out 40-point winners.
Best player for Sturt was small defender Hamish Fielke who had the task of matching up on regular League player Izak Rankine when he played forward. Fielke used his speed and agility to perfection and was also able to run off and get dangerous on offence finishing 21 disposals along with 7 marks and 5 spoils. Second best was inside mid Ed Allan who continues to lead the way with his work-rate and contested ball. Allan led the disposal count with 33 touches (17 contested) at 88% efficiency. He also had 8 first possessions and 8 clearances. Third best for Sturt was Tom Lewis who we welcomed back from College football duties. His work through the midfield was outstanding and his 12 tackles were a highlight. We also welcomed back team Captain Adam Trenorden who had been displaying good form in the Reserves. His ball use and efficiency stood out and he was able to start many scoring chains through good ball movement. Trenorden finished with 32 disposals, 4 score assists and 6 first possessions. Fifth best on the day was rugby league convert Rory Illman who used his strength and speed to great effect. He found 25 touches and had 6 tackles. Rounding out the best players was key forward Will Coomblas who finished with 3 goals and provided a solid target all day. Many others performed well and were unlucky not to squeeze into the best players, which was very pleasing from a team perspective.
The win earns the lads a berth in the Preliminary Final where they will take on South Adelaide. The players will now focus on elite recovery and preparation this week to give themselves the best chance possible to win. We haven’t managed to beat South in season 2017 but the players will be up for the challenge in what I’m sure will be a great spectacle of SANFL U18 football. The match will be played at 6.40pm on Friday night at Football Park and it would be great to see as many Sturt supporters there as possible cheering on the future League players of our great club.
High Performance Manager