By ZAC MILBANK
Glenelg held on grimly to advance to the U18 Torrens University Cup Grand Final after edging out Norwood by six points in the Preliminary Final at Thebarton Oval.
Coming off a nail-biting two-point win against Sturt in the First Semi-Final, the Tigers appeared set to win in comfortable fashion midway through the third term against the Redlegs.
Star Bays midfielder Archie Lovelock opened up a commanding 28-point lead with his goal approaching the 12th minute of the third quarter, the fourth in succession for his side after leading by just three points at half-time.
But from here, it was all the Redlegs as they stormed back into contention with 13 of the next 14 scoring shots for the rest of the contest.
Inaccuracy in front of goal proved pitvotal for the Legs, who finished with 8.13 to the Bays’ 10.7, as they got within a point 12 minutes into the last term.
Tiger Jack McAuley kicked a vital goal for his team to stretch its advantage back out to seven points before Redleg Beau Baldwin kicked a behind approaching the 17th minute.
It would be the last score for the game as Norwood was left to rue its ascendancy in scoring shots (21-17), clearances (33-29) and hit outs (39-21).
Hard-running midfielder Lovelock was ranked as the Bays’ best player for the second final in succession after tallying 26 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and a goal.
Fellow Torrens University SA U18 regulars Jake Walker (25 disposals, five marks, four clearances) and Jakob Ryan (30 disposals, eight marks) were also influential for Glenelg.
Tigers Ethan Murdock, Harvey Lambert and Ryan Wurfel kicked two goals each.
Norwood midfielder Josh Bradford was outstanding with 30 disposals, 12 clearances and six tackles as he made the most of ruck teammate Alex Van Wyk’s (19 disposals, seven clearances, 34 hit outs, one goal) dominance.
Redlegs forwards Phoenix Foster and Harvey Pedler kicked two goals each.
Glenelg will now prepare for the U18 Torrens University Cup Grand Final against North Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Friday September 16 at 7.30pm.