Battle for the top
Saturday, 6th July, 2019
By Tyler Hannigan
It’s a huge day at the Alma Oval today as South and West clash in a top-of-the-ladder blockbuster.
LAST TIME THEY MET:
West: 9.8 (62) def SOUTH: 8.10 (58)
The Robins pulled off a fantastic win back in round six as they led all day and held on for a narrow four-point win. West young guns Brock Ellis and Bailey Beattie were great with three goals apiece while Riley Schorn was South’s standout.
West’s victory was their first over the Roos in about a decade but almost didn’t happen as South looked to have kicked a late goal only for the goal umpire to rule it touched.
It was a tale of two halves for the Roos that day as they played some of the most flat, uninspired football that has been seen during their dominant run over the past few years during the first half before clicking into gear after halftime.
South - LWLWW
South responded to their losses to North and West with back-to-back wins over the past two rounds. They accounted for North by 33 points in round seven and then belted Central last Saturday by 142 points.
Adam Slattery has had a ripping start to his senior career with 14 goals from six games including successive bags of five from the last two weeks.
West - WWWWL
The Robins’ four game winning streak came to an end last weekend, falling to an agonising one-point defeat to North. Trailing by as much as 15 points halfway through the final term, West rallied to hit the lead only to have North snatch it back in the dying minutes and take the win.
Rourke Turner starred with three goals in a best on ground performance. It was Turner’s best game since joining the Robins earlier in the season.
INS AND OUTS:
IN: C. Schorn, A. Collins, M. Henderson, R. Schorn, T. Davidson, B. Heinjus, D. Browne, C. Washbrook, M. Paul
OUT: A. Johnston, J. Johns, H. Butcher, W. Burns, S. O’Brien, C. Payne, S. Edgecumbe, B. Elliott, D. Hardy
South have been forced into another raft of changes, as has been the case throughout the first half of this season.
Alex Johnston, Jordan Johns and Drew Hardy are the big names among the nine omissions but the Roos do welcome back a host of quality players like Angus Collins, Mitch Henderson and Riley Schorn as well as Dylan Browne, Connor Washbrook and Madden Paul but the most important is Cody Schorn.
Schorn suffered a shoulder injury early in the round six game between these sides and has been out since. The forward is an absolute jet and still leads the League goal kicking with 22 majors from six outings.
Brendon Heinjus also returns to the side alongside fan favourite Todd Davidson, who is set for his first game since the 2018 grand final.
IN: D. McLauchlan-Menz, J. Cieslik, J. Crozier
OUT: R. Bates, R. McInnes, B. Beattie
Josh Cieslik and Jake Crozier are back into West’s side for today having been late outs prior to the round eight loss to North. Danyon McLauchlan-Menz joins them as the inclusions for his first senior game of 2019.
Robert Bates, Rylie McInnes and Bailey Beattie are out as West continue to maintain a fairly consistent team from week to week.
This shapes up to be an absolute cracking encounter between two very good sides. The round six clash was a fantastic game to watch and this promises to be no different.
West almost found a way to snatch a win last week despite trailing for almost the entirety of the game. They’ll need a better start today as South are unlikely to let them back in the game as North did.
South will be keen to avenge that round six loss and get the chance to do so on their home ground but that in itself may play into West’s hands.
West’s success this season has been built on defensive pressure and structure. They’ve taken space away from their opponents and forcing turnovers if those teams haven’t been able to kick their way through the zone. That style of play should be well suited to the skinny Alma Oval.
As well as being the match of the round with the winner to move into top spot on the League ladder, the game will have extra significance for both sides with West debuting their brand new Indigenous guernseys as part of AFL Broken Hill’s Indigenous round while South will be playing in remembrance of club stalwart Brian ‘Bulla’ Johns who passed away earlier in the week.
On top of all that it looks to be a beautiful day weather-wise and if you haven’t been to a game of local football yet this season, today at the Alma Oval is as good of a chance as any to get along and watch two top sides battle it out.
WHAT: South v West
WHEN: Today - 2:30pm
WHERE: Alma Oval