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Norwood held on to Prospect, going 5-0

Norwood held on for an eight-point win over North Adelaide at Prospect Oval to secure his fifth straight win to start 2024.

The Redlegs took the lead and never trailed on Saturday, but that was far from the story of the match as North Adelaide pushed the visitors straight to the line in a 10.7-67 to 8.11-59 win.

After losing veteran Matt Panos to a knee injury last week, co-captain Jacob Kennerley and halfback Matt Ling were both late from the Round 5 match with leg injuries.

Baynen Lowe stepped up, spent more time in midfield in Kennerley’s absence, finishing with 26 disposals, five clearances and a goal.

Billy Cootee and Mitch O’Neill both had 24 disposals, while Harry Boyd again made a major contribution to the ruck with 19 disposals, 45 hitouts, 11 clearances and a goal.

Xavier Tranfa was back in the starting lineup for the first time this season and made the most of it with three goals in the first half.

The Redlegs scored the first four goals of the match, including the first within the first 20 seconds of the match.

Lowe won the first center clearance and followed up his own kick by recovering the ball and scoring the first goal in the opening 20 seconds.

The next 10 minutes were close, with Norwood finding 4-1 inside 50 meter posts, but North’s defense stood tall.

North was under siege early and did its best to slow the game down; took 14-7 points and laid 11-7 tackles, but Norwood won the early clearing battle 7-2.

Norwood found his second goal through a clearance, with O’Neill finding three quick disposals as the Redlegs went back from the half to a Boyd point inside 50 yards. Boyd converted to make it a 2.1-13 to 0.1-1 match after 14 minutes.

Norwood made another nice transition from halfback and Goy Lok found a leading Izaak Twelftree. Twelftree’s set shot missed, but Norwood scored a third goal a minute later through Tranfa.

Finn Heard – who had a breakout game with two goals, 18 disposals and six points against Port last week – kicked Norwood’s fourth goal after a strong score from 30 yards out.

F. Heard’s goal took Norwood to a match-high lead of 26 points after 21 minutes of the match.

Trailing 4.3-27 to 0.1-1, North finally got its first goal on the board after 23 minutes, a long shot from Keenan Ramsey.

The Redlegs went into quarter time with a 22 point lead from 4.5-29 to 1.1-7 on the scoreboard, but also led on disposals 84-65, clearances 13-8 and inside 50m posts with 14-4.

Cootee had nine disposals in the first quarter, while Lowe and O’Neill had seven each.

North scored a much-needed goal to start the second quarter, making it back-to-back goals for the home team and cutting the margin to 16 points.

Twelftree made something out of nothing with a clever juggling move from a sloppy entry on 50 yards, but again missed his kick to the left.

Brad Ashcroft kicked the Roosters for the third goal in a row, and Mitch Harvey scored from 10 meters to make it four in a row and only four points behind after 13 minutes of the second term.

Norwood had to respond and won the resulting middle clearance, when Lowe found Tranfa 25 yards out, who flew over a defender to take a closely contested point.

Tranfa’s goal was Norwood’s first of the second term and cut the margin to 10 points.

It was a tight and tricky affair, and Cooper Murley provided the spark, attacking a loose ball, bouncing and finding Tranfa in the pocket.

Tranfa scored his third goal of the half to make it a 16-point game, 6.6-42 to 4.2-26 after 20 minutes.

Just as Norwood threatened to take the game away again, North held steady and Ewan Mackinlay scored a classy goal to stay close at half-time.

At the main break it was 6.6-42 against 5.2-32.

Tranfa scored three first-half goals from ten disposals and four points. Lowe had 14 disposals, three tackles and a goal at half-time, while O’Neill had 13 disposals and Boyd had 12 disposals, a goal, six clearances and 24 hitouts.

Norwood led disposals 159-125, inside 50m 21-16 and clearances 25-21, while North led tackles 45-39.

North threatened the goal face to start the second half, but it was Norwood who found the first goal, going from end to end after a kick-out and finishing with a goal from Connor McLean.

The Redlegs found success with Murley’s long kick to Boyd in the middle of the ground, and again only two kicks were needed to get within 50 yards. This time Tranfa put the shot out of bounds.

North dominated the early stages of the third term but were able to manage a wayward 0.3 to Norwood’s 1.0.

It soon became 2.0 for Norwood when another kick found a Redlegs forward, with McLean kicking his second to make it a 19-point lead.

After trailing by four to start the second half, Harvey finally set up North’s sixth goal to bring the score back to 12 points.

Back in the league, after kicking the sealer in the reserves last week, Mitch Carroll evaded a North defender and kicked Norwood’s ninth goal. This was Norwood’s last for a long time as the Roosters took the upper hand.

The Redlegs did not enjoy the 19-point buffer for long as Ashcroft pulled off a free-kick and scored the reply goal two minutes later.

Three-quarter time couldn’t come soon enough for the Redlegs, who conceded a wayward 2.7 for the season and were under pressure in defence, with a 17-9 inside 50 meters in favor of the Roosters.

North’s Sam Mayes missed a 25-yard set shot right in front on the siren, and Norwood held onto a 10-point lead at the final break, 9.7-61 to 7.9-51, thanks to an accurate 3.1 in the third quarter of a limited number of entries.

At the start of the final term it was anyone’s game, with the Roosters going with all the momentum.

Boyd won his 36e hit of the day to start the final term and Norwood smashed the ball inside 50 yards.

North had the first two shots on target, but the poor kicking continued with a deficit and a complete zero from set shots.

Both sides continued to defend well but Harvey scored and kicked his third goal of the match eight minutes into the final term to bring it within three points.

Norwood clung to a lead it had held all game, with North peppering with seven straight scoring shots after M. Carroll’s goal in the third quarter.

Twelftree laid a great tackle on Blayne O’Loughlin to keep the ball inside 50 yards, as Tranfa leapt to smother a ball on the wing, and players in defense dived in front of attackers to desperately spoil and intercept the ball .

The Redlegs were held scoreless for the first 20 minutes of last term at North’s 1.2 when Jake Cresswell went back on the run to take a pack in the pocket. He went back and kicked a crucial goal to move eight points higher.

Norwood held on in the final minutes to record his fifth win in a row over Sturt, Glenelg, West Adelaide, Port Adelaide and now North Adelaide.

The Redlegs will take on Adelaide at Coopers Stadium on Friday, May 10.

Norwood 4.5, 6.6, 9.7, 10.7 – 67

North Adelaide 1.1, 5.2, 7.9, 8.11 – 59

Goals: Tranfa 3, McLean 2, Boyd, M. Carroll, F. Heard, Lowe, Cresswell