The Blackwood Football Club recorded its fourth victory of 2019 defeating the Mt Lofty Devils by four points in a nail-biting victory at U-Install-It Kitchens Oval in Round 8 of the Mortgage Choice Hills Football League. A 45-metre running goal from playing-coach Ryan Anderson in the dying minutes of the final term sealed the victory and saw the Woods win game despite scoring less goals than the Devils.
It’s only the second time in the 270 A-Grade matches played by the Woods since the start of 2006 which they have recorded a win despite kicking less goals than the opposition. The only other time in that period which it occurred was also against Mt Lofty at home in 2012 under then coach Grant Higgins when they kicked 15.9 (99) to 16.1 (97) from Mt Lofty.
Blackwood made two changes to the side which went down to Hahndorf in Round 7, welcoming back Kurt Thompson and Chris Williams. The visiting Devils made the better start kicking three goals in the opening five minutes of the match. Crafty forward Daniel Gonzales was on fire kicking the opening three majors of the match to hush the good crowd in attendance. The Woods had their fair share of the ball in the opening quarter but were unable to capitalise on the scoreboard kicking eight behinds for the term. A fourth major in the term to forward Jack Sandercock from long range saw the Devils make it two games in a row kicking four majors in the opening term and result in them take an 18 point lead into the first break.
Speaking at the break, Blackwood coach Ryan Anderson urged his players to relax. “We’ve had more than enough opportunities in the match so far but we are rushing ourselves. Calm down and execute your skills.” This advice worked instantly as the Woods got the first major of the second term in the opening minutes courtesy of key forward Phil Hopton. With the ball rebounding between the 50s, big man Henry Woodward stepped up to convert truly to extend the margin for the visitors. Playing his second game in the A Grade for the season, 41 year old Lucas Herbert showed his teammates how to kick in front of the big sticks kicking the second goal for the Woods in the middle part of the term. Mt Lofty got the instant replay through Connor Milde to take a 14 point lead into the main break despite having six less scoring shots.
Going down the slope in the so called ‘premiership quarter’ the Woods dominate the term, locking the ball inside the forward half with their defensive press. Keeping the Devils scoreless for the term the Woods were able to have 10 scoring shots for the term. Inaccuracy was continuing to plague the home side as they once again failed to take the most of the opportunities kicking three goals seven behinds for the term. Hopton hit the scoreboard in the opening part of the third quarter kicking his second major from long range. A clever snap from star midfielder Nick Homburg and long range conversion from Jak Baldissera saw the Woods reserve the half time margin to take an 11 point lead into the final break.
Buoyed by the large group of supporters around the huddle, Anderson gave his players one last rev up. The Devils had other ideas with midfielder John McDonald kicking a clever left foot banana as the opening major of the final term. With both sides fighting incredibly hard in defensive turnovers were aplenty in the next part of the match. The Woods were able to get the ball out the back to find Scott Bricknell free inside the forward 50 in the middle part of the term. Kicking truly from the set shot, the Woods once again extended their lead. Running goals from Sam Miles and McDonald just before time on saw the Devils hit the lead as time-on approached.
Moving the ball forward through multiple third man up hit outs, the Woods were able to cause a stoppage in the forward pocket as the clock ticked into time on. Jake Atkinson was then able to palm the ball down to Rhys Sporn who had his shot on goal smothered by Adam Carthew. The ball rebounded out to Kurt Thompson who was able to handball inside to Anderson who was free at the top of the 50. Taking off towards goal, Anderson sunk his right foot into the Sherrin which travelled straight over the goal umpires hat much to the delight of the home crowd. Some nervous moments occurred in the final two minutes with the Devils moving the ball deep forward. Locking up the contest, the Woods prevented any further scores to record a four point victory when the final siren sounded.
Speaking in the rooms after the match, Anderson said he was happy with the fight shown throughout the match but suggested there were still plenty of areas to work on during the week. “We’ll hit the training track hard this week as I know there is still plenty of improvement left in us.”
Lucas Herbert was awarded best player for the home side for his ability to provide a focal point up forward with Daniel Benson, Nathan Dunn, Jacob McCarthy and Jan Warbout also catching the eye of the coaching staff. After other results, the Woods remain in fifth position on percentage and are a game and 3.18 percent clear of sixth.
Other HFL Results
B Grade – Blackwood 13.18 (96) defeated Mt Lofty 1.3 (9)
Senior Colts – Blackwood 7.4 (46) defeated by Mt Lofty 17.4 (106)
Junior Colts – Blackwood 10.9 (69) defeated Mt Lofty 4.5 (29)
Mini Colts – Blackwood 10.3 (63) defeated Mt Lofty 3.7 (25)