By TOM WYMAN
Glenelg overcame an inaccurate North Adelaide by eight points in the U18 Torrens University Cup Grand Final at Adelaide Oval in a see-sawing affair to redeem last season’s title-decider defeat.
Classy Bays utility Archie Lovelock claimed the Alan Stewart Medal after a standout display which saw him gather 35 disposals, eight marks, five clearances, seven inside-50s, five rebounds and a goal.
Glenelg forward Eli Redman booted two first term goals but North Adelaide dominated proceedings in the first term, winning almost all the major statistics.
However, the Roosters weren’t able to capitalise on the scoreboard, booting six straight behinds before Billy Dowling broke the deadlock to ensure the two sides couldn’t be separated at the first break.
The Roosters again looked capable of breaking open the game in the second term, but Glenelg’s defence weathered the storm before Billy Dowling found Oliver Dignan inside-50 who kicked truly.
Dignan added another before half-time, this time from general play, to give the Roosters a ten-point advantage at half-time.
Glenelg came out firing after the break, with Archie Lovelock and skipper Ben Ridgway propelling the Tigers forward.
Lovelock marked strongly in attack after a clever soccer kick launched the Bays deep inside-50, then wingman Chester Forster added another to make the Roosters pay for earlier inaccuracies.
Swingman Jack McAuley ran onto a loose ball out the back to make it three Glenelg goals in a row, before North Adelaide’s own versatile tall Shaun Bennier launched a set-shot which sailed over the big sticks following a strong grab.
Rooster Jed Dignan added another minutes before the three-quarter time siren sounded to wrestle back the momentum from the Tigers.
Bays skipper and McCallum Tomkins Medallist Ben Ridgway nailed a major to take back the lead, but North star Oliver Dignan kicked the immediate reply with a sensational set shot from a tricky angle in the south-western pocket.
Five minutes later, onlookers could have been excused for assuming Dignan’s snap goal, his fourth, would kick-start North Adelaide’s Grand Final weekend with a win.
It wasn’t to be as Eli Redman booted his third and Jack McAuley his second to hand Glenelg the match-winning lead.
In a thrilling game which saw six lead changes, Glenelg half-back Jakob Ryan was again outstanding with his marking and distribution, gathering 29 disposals and ten marks.
Dashing half-back Hayden Brokensha completed a terrific year with 25 disposals and seven rebounds, with on-ballers Jake Walker, Chester Forster and Jake Pavia-Amato also among the Bays’ best.
Hughen Wissman was terrific in the middle for North Adelaide, accumulating 27 disposals and laying a game-high 12 tackles in the trenches.
Billy Dowling and Kane McAuliffe both had 26 disposals and the smart Max Blacker managed 20 but the Bays held on to win their third game by under ten-points in as many weeks.