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Clisby in SANFL GF

Wednesday, 19th September, 2018

Rooster and former Broken Hillite Mitch Clisby will line up in the SANFL grand final this weekend. PICTURE: Peter Argent Rooster and former Broken Hillite Mitch Clisby will line up in the SANFL grand final this weekend. PICTURE: Peter Argent

By Peter Argent

West Broken Hill’s running defender with the North Adelaide Roosters, Mitch Clisby, will be one of the key senior North Adelaide players as they enter the 2018 SANFL grand final this Sunday afternoon.

Having come from the elimination final, the Roosters needed to navigate a dramatic preliminary final win on the penultimate day of the season last Sunday, scrambling over the Eagles to win the right to take on competition favourites Norwood in this week’s season decider. 

This year’s preliminary final will be remembered for many reasons. 

It was dramatic both as a contest and because of the post-match “19th man saga”. 

The game itself, between two teams playing contrasting styles was an enthralling and intriguing affair with many dramatic momentum swings.

Seven minutes into the third quarter, the Eagles, after three early second half goals, had a massive 47 point lead and looked comfortable winners. 

Then the contest change direction quickly, and by the 22-minute mark of the final quarter, North had engineered a strong 22-point advantage. 

Showing plenty of heart, the Eagles fought back to kick the last three goals of the match and went down in a thriller by five points.

Now 28, Clisby personally produced a strong and controlled performance across half back, finishing with 20 possessions (11 kicks and nine handballs) along with taking seven marks and laying five tackles.

Post-match emotions escalated when Eagles coach Michael Godden informed the media that North Adelaide had 19 men on the field for the opening couple of minutes of the final term. 

The SA Football Commission passed the buck to a retired Supreme Court Judge, Michael David QC, after their hastily arranged meetings on Monday.

The former judge confirmed the Roosters had breached the laws of the game, fielding 19 players for the first three minutes and 39 seconds of the final quarter, but felt he needed to uphold the result.

David also imposed a fine of $10,000 against North Adelaide and in 2019 season the Roosters will be penalised four premiership points (two matches). 

At Tuesday’s SANFL Grand Final press conference, North coach Josh Carr said he has no concerns about his young troops taking on an experienced Norwood side in the grand final, citing the fact that they had handled the pressures of previous finals this year.

North Adelaide last won the SANFL league premiership back in 1991 in a bloodbath against West Adelaide.

Norwood is celebrating their milestone 140th year, looking for its first flag since 2014.

The two most recent players from Broken Hill to play in a SANFL league grand final are Lachlan McGregor with the Eagles in 2015 and 2016, while Stuart Bown played in Norwood’s heartbreaking 2010 loss to Central District, when the ’Legs lost by three points. 

North Adelaide are endeavouring to be just the third team, after Norwood (1984) and Port Adelaide (1998). to win the premiership from an elimination final since the introduction of the final five in the early 1970s.

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