Willunga Claim Minor Premiership
Willunga and Langhorne Creek drew their round 1 encounter at the Creek after Willunga surrendered a handy lead. In round 2, the reverse occurred – Langhorne surrendered a 4-goal half time lead. Willunga won by 8 points and secured the minor premiership.
Howell opened the scoring for the visitors at the 5-minute mark of the first quarter when he was awarded a free kick and goaled. Big Jake Standfield got the equalizer for the home team when Burdett, playing his 500th game of senior footy, passed the ball to him in space. He kicked another at the fifteen-minute mark: Colwell put the ball to a dangerous position and a defender blocked the key forward’s run. Kellock and Jake Dominish were everywhere around the ground and set up many Creek attacks. The Scott brothers in Willunga’s defence were clean on the ground and strong in the air but eventually Sellar broke the shackles and kicked accurately. From the resulting centre bounce, a soft Foul After Disposal gave the ball to McGregor 25-metres out from the big posts. He never looked like missing and gave the visitors a 2-goal lead going into quarter time.
In the second quarter, Langhorne showed their class. They moved the ball effortlessly, held marks and hit targets from one end of the ground to the other. Dominish ran hard and created opportunities for his forwards. Sellar ran into an open goal and missed but one-minute later, Howell found himself unopposed in the goal square and dribbled the ball across the line. At the ten-minute mark Cleggett marked on his chest, despite strong pressure from Cook, and kicked truly from 25 metres out. Kellock had a chance and missed but his pass to Howell a minute later led to a major score. Willunga displayed their best piece of team work for the quarter when McDonald got the ball to Cook who moved it to Warmington then into the hands of the long-kicking Hoffman. Standfield marked 35 from goal and converted. McGregor had a chance to get it straight back for Langhorne but his shot hit the post to give the visitors a 25-point lead at half time and, seemingly, a firm grip on the minor premiership.
Willunga bounced back in the premiership quarter and, assisted by a slight breeze, outscored the reigning premiers 5 goals to 2, to reduce the margin to 4 points at ¾ time. Bass won the first centre tap and gave to the hardworking Nelson who delivered to Standfield who marked and goaled one minute into the quarter. Colwell came into the game on the wing and was backed up by Burdett and Cook across half-back. Warren, Kellock and Clifford were prolific for the Creek. Willunga lifted their pressure and forced the ball forward where Standfield kicked his fifth. Cook and Beath then combined to deliver the ball to the hard-working Warmington who split the middle. At the fifteen-minute mark of the quarter, when all the momentum was with the home side, they made a succession of errors: two miskicks across goals and two dropped marks in two-minutes gifted Langhorne goal opportunities. McGregor and Howell capitalised and it looked like game over. But Willunga dug deep and regained the momentum. Bass tapped the ball to Cook who gave to Hoffman who goaled on the run from 50-metres then Miegel was the beneficiary of a Bass - Warmington combination. His snap from 40-metres split the middle.
Langhorne had the benefit of the slight breeze in the last quarter but Willunga outworked them to create a series of scoring opportunities. A Howell goal gave the visitors the early momentum but thereafter it was all Willunga. They kept the ball in their forward lines for much of the quarter. The hard-running Colwell popped up deep in attack and kicked two goals to level the scores. The Demons smelt victory and showed desperation to ensure the Creek players were always under pressure. Lachie Scott took a courageous defensive mark which inspired his teammates, and the 500-game veteran, Burdett, got several decisive touches which delighted the very vocal crowd. Willunga had several chances to score but failed to kick majors until Bass took a strong mark and kicked accurately from 35-metres.