Lions bare teeth early

SEASON KICKS OFF: Sollies' Jake Nitschke in action in the first SGL game played at the new Memorial Oval Sports Precinct.
SEASON KICKS OFF: Sollies' Jake Nitschke in action in the first SGL game played at the new Memorial Oval Sports Precinct.

The Prop Risdon Lions outclassed the Port Bulldogs in the crosstown local clash in the late twilight game at Memorial Oval as SGL's round one closed out.

Lions entered the game with some players returning from injury late last year with other former players Hugo Wallace and Dean Steele returning and well-credentialled recruit Stuart Hill making his debut.

For Port, former players Terry Hall and Chris Edmonds returned along with debuts for previous Madigan Medallist Graham Cooke, Oliver McDowall and promoted junior Liam Hargraves making his debut.

After an initial arm wrestle, the Lions kicked away early and took a commanding 29-point lead into the first break. They looked much sharper and finished their work well with the Dogs being forced into errors that costs them badly.

The second and third quarters evened out much more with Port coming back into the game but failing to bridge the gap despite having good periods throughout but still trailed by 27 at the final change.

Port needed the opener in the last to make a charge, but it was the dominant Blue and Gold that kicked away to win by 45.

The new players for Lions were good with Wallace (3 goals) and Hill offering extra height and options across the ground whilst Steele remains classy and clever.

Fuller (Anzac Medallist for the day) and Eckert put in their usual quality performances whilst Horsnell with five goals and Dyer was great in ruck and chimed in for two.

Lions best afield though was Browne who was superb across half back giving real rebound.

For Port, they were harder to find, especially across four quarters but Cooke was good in his first Dogs game whether forward, in ruck or on the ball.

Hall had a good work rate and vigorous attack whilst Parker and Keane were busy and tried all day. Coe had plenty of it, but his finish let him down and youngster Amey has shown continued improvement.

Good start from the Lions and they would be thrilled looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead whilst Port will have work to do to improve. Lions 16.7.103 Port 8.10.58

Sollies' Nick Redman fights to get control of the ball.

Sollies' Nick Redman fights to get control of the ball.

Cats bloodied by Central

The Solomontown Cats were soundly beaten by the Central Augusta Bloods in the early Saturday game at the revamped Memorial Oval in a result few would have tipped.

Sollies would have been looking a solid start to season 2019 given it was their captain Lindsay Bearman's 200th game as well as being the first for freshly installed but very experienced coach Joel Head.

They appeared to be on song early with the first four scores of the game but in a sign of things to come, they were all points.

After a couple straight to Central they led by seven points at the first break. The Bloods grew in confidence from there and owned the second quarter with four goals to nil to lead by over five at half time.

The Cats first goal came in the third quarter but the damage was well and truly done and Central ended up with a very comfortable 39-point victory.

For the travelling side their best on is the classy Muirhead who won the Anzac Day Medal. They had a lot of enthusiasm and run and others to perform well included recruit Cribb plus Little, Taylor and Hill.

Another recruit of interest from Central was Jordan Mandemaker, son of former SANFL gun Rudy who attended on the day.

For Sollies Kaleb Head was their best with serviceable games also from big man Lawson Munzberg, runners Joe Caputo and Redman plus Sciangalepore and Bernhardt tried hard all day. Bearman was injured early and in honesty anything that could go wrong for the Cats did!

They had 20 scoring shots to the Bloods 19 but went down by over six goals. Centrals have struggled to win, especially in Pirie for a few years and whilst we don't take anything away from their efforts as they were clearly the better side, Sollies kicking 17 points is clearly one of those days!

Sollies will improve quickly from this result and Centrals can head into round two with a real spring in their step! Solomontown 3.17.35 Central 11.8.74

South wear down improved West

The SGL season kicked off in Port Augusta on Anzac Day and triple premiers South Augusta only lead West Augusta by 8 points at half time before releasing the brakes to end up 37-point victors.

A much better display by the Hawks who have improved and perhaps a signal that the juggernaut of recent seasons may be coming back to the field somewhat. Time will tell. South 9.10.64 West 3.9.27

Round 2 Previews

All three games feature Port Augusta v Port Pirie sides and in a test for the new formats all three games are scheduled at the same time this Saturday.

Central Augusta v Prop Risdon

Saturday at Etsa Oval, Port Augusta

With both sides coming off good wins in Port Pirie last Saturday this game should be the pick of the round! Lions will be thrilled with the way they dealt with Port and to get an early win in Augusta would be a perfect quinella for them to start season 2019.

They have a more balanced looking outfit this year and more up-front scoring power to assist Horsnell in Wallace, Hill and Dyer when given a rest in ruck.

Centrals were expected to struggle having missed the finals and lost players but clearly the ones they have picked up plus players now fit from injury is allowing them to present a much better outfit. They have some good on ballers but not as many as Lions and we are tipping the Blue and Gold to triumph by 18 points.

Solomontown v South Augusta

Saturday at Memorial Oval in Pirie

Incredibly this will be the eighth time in South's last 21 games that they square off against Sollies and they have won the last seven.

Sollies would have been shattered at their disappointing result last start and they won't be that poor again. They don't have any real new recruits but their form over the past two years has been very solid and they will want to turn the tables on the Bulldogs.

South on the other hand are coming off their most successful three-year period of their history and despite losses to the team they should still be too strong on the road.

South by 24 points.

West Augusta v Port

Saturday at Central Oval, Port Augusta

Both sides were on the wrong end of the equation last week and will be looking to open their accounts in the win column this week.

West have recruited well with the Warren boys back on deck adding to Allen from Central, Duffy from Orroroo plus a few back from injury including Hobbs.

Port on the other hand were not consistent in their efforts last week and after a disappointing end to last year they will want to get cracking.

They should have enough class around the ground to post a win and perhaps parochially we will call them for a narrow 10-point win and unusually all away teams to win for the weekend.

It should be a good round!