By ZAC MILBANK
North Adelaide secured its first SANFL Hostplus League minor premiership since 1989 in dramatic fashion after a pulsating final day of home-and-away matches.
Despite succumbing to Sturt by 22 points at Wigan Oval, the Roosters held on to top spot as Port Adelaide caused a three-point upset against finals-bound Adelaide in the SANFL Showdown at Adelaide Oval.
It ensures Jacob Surjan’s charges earn a valuable week’s rest for the first week of the major round as second-placed Adelaide will now confront third-placed Norwood in the Qualifying Final at 3.15pm at Adelaide Oval on Sunday August 28.
Both sides will come into the intriguing clash coming off shock narrow losses after the Redlegs – without star midfielder Nik Rokahr (foot) – were edged out by a buoyant West Adelaide by just one-point at Hisense Stadium.
Desperate to honour premiership defender Logan Hill in his 200th and final League match, the Bloods hit the front when Nick Steele nailed a 55m set shot deep into time-on of the fourth quarter.
There were similar scenes at ACH Group Stadium when Glenelg came from the clouds to pinch a two-point win against Central District in captain Max Proud’s 150th League game.
Trailing for the entire clash, the Bays didn’t hit the front until mercurial forward Lachie Hosie extracted the ball from a pack and snapped truly in the 31st minute of the final quarter.
Finishing in fourth place, the Tigers will now tackle fifth-placed Sturt in the Elimination Final from 12.15pm at Adelaide Oval in the first match on Sunday August 28.
The Double Blues will carry meaningful form into the contest after toppling the minor premier in a no-nonsense fashion.
Eagles premiership forward Daniel Meznel sealed the 2022 Ken Farmer Medal with three goals against South Adelaide but it wasn’t enough to extend the career of retiring teammate Jarrad Redden as the Panthers won by 21 points at Flinders University Stadium.