Well, its three weeks later than usual, but it’s the last minor round for season 2020. With a year full of surprises, the SANFL season has also had plenty of them. One surprise to many people is the realisation that the Redlegs will not play Finals this year. With many tipping them as potential flag favourites, the Redlegs will miss only their second final series in ten years. The fifth-placed Redlegs will finish their season hosting West Adelaide with both teams looking to redeem themselves after big losses.
The Redlegs went down by 76 points, recording their equal highest defeat since Round 16 2017. The loss put a line through their finals aspirations, after hoping to squeeze in whilst relying on other results and crucial wins. Unfortunately for the Redlegs, the consistency hasn’t been there. They only recorded consecutive wins once this year in round six and seven and since round nine have recorded-Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss. The Redlegs struggled throughout the year with injuries, in particular the injury to their Skipper Matthew Panos who ruptured his ACL in Round 11, which didn’t help the Redlegs late finals chances.
Throughout the year the Redlegs have played some good football and had some noticeable and solid contributions from several players. Off-season recruit Tommy Pinyon is fourth for the Ken Farmer Medal and has kicked 26 goals this season, with an average of 2 goals per game. Nicholas Rokahr has also been a positive for the Redlegs, leading the league with 99 marks, whilst kicking that crucial goal in round 12 against Sturt to get Norwood over the line. 25-year-old Rokahr lead the Redlegs in the disposal count with 25 last weekend and has polled 20 or more disposals in every game since round six. Last weekend was the first time all season that the Redlegs lost the Hit-out count, they had defeated the opposition in that category every other week. The reason behind the dominance in that statistic is because of the outstanding season that Sam Baulderstone has had. Baulderstone has arguably had the best season of his career, leading the league with 479 hit-outs and with an average of 36.8 per game. Richard Douglas, Brad McKenzie, Cameron Shenton and Mitch Grigg have all had solid seasons.
It’s also only Pride that the Bloods are playing for this week, as they sit, on the bottom of the ladder. The Bloods are coming off a heavy defeat to the top of the table Eagles who were looking to power through finals with momentum. In the defeat, Kaine Stevens continued his strong season leading the Bloods in the disposal count with 32 touches. Joshua Schiller was also good, recording 25 touches including seven clearances.
Despite only winning the one game this season, the Bloods have played some good football under Coach Gavin Colville and have looked dangerous at times. The Bloods have been on the unfortunate end of some close losses but have taken it up to quality opposition. Jordon Boyle has had a solid season averaging 23.2 disposals with 87% disposal efficiency. Brett Turner and Dallas Willmore have also been good for the Bloods with both averaging over 20 disposals this season. The Bloods have also had contributions by youngsters like, Sam May, Patrick Fairlie, Andre Parrella and Murray Waite.
The Bloods haven’t beaten the Redlegs at Coopers Stadium since Round Seven 2017, with Norwood winning every encounter except for one. I am looking forward to seeing both Midfields go head to head, and I think the Redlegs will be too strong at home.