Reigning premiers Sturt defeated Woodville-West Torrens by 23 points at The Lights Community and Sports Centre on Friday night in the season decider of the 2022 Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League –
After going undefeated in 2021, the Double Blues this season recorded wins in eight of their nine minor round games to finish the 2022 regular season just a game ahead of the Eagles. Both sides’ only losses for the season came against each other, with the Eagles claiming victory over Sturt in round two before Sturt hit-back to win the encounters in rounds five and eight. “Even though we had a strong season in 2021, we had an early loss to the Eagles this year which made us re-think the way we play, and we’ve certainly grown as a result,” said Sturt captain Steve Avery. “We’re feeling confident, but the pressure to go back-to-back is high and even though we won last year, that won’t give us any advantages this time around. “The intensity this season has gone through the roof. Anyone who watched in 2021 and continued watching this year can see how the intensity has lifted.” The off-season addition of Johnny Phanratry has been important for the Double Blues, with the new signing recording 26 goals in the nine regular season games. Sturt’s scoring power was matched throughout the year by its strong defence, finishing the home and away season ranked number one for points for and against. The Eagles, led by co-captains Mark Sicolo and Chris Simpson, finished third in 2021 but have bounced back strongly in the second season of competition. Sicolo said the club made a number of changes in the off-season and had a change of focus on the way they approached the competition. “This year we’ve certainly put more effort into winning and that’s made a big difference to our results,” said Sicolo. “This week we’ve reviewed some footage of Sturt when they were pushed, but we are mainly focused on ourselves and the way we play. “After last season’s grand final was run and done, all the teams were keen to get back out there, which is a great sign for the competition.” Players with and without a disability can compete in the Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League, with both club captains agreeing the skills and interest in the game had grown considerably in season two.
Sturt 5.0 7.5 12.8 13.9 (87)
Eagles 3.3 5.5 6.7 9.10 (64)
Goals: Hallam Chitty 7, Giang Danh 5, Johnny Phanratry 1