In what ended up being a super weekend for the Pirie teams, young Patrick McNamara coolly slotted a set shot goal with four seconds to go to send Port through to the preliminary final by a point in a cliff-hanger at Memorial Oval.
Port entered the game with the home-game advantage and knowledge of a victory last time they met, but Centrals were keen for a fight by generally shading Port for most of the day. The Bloods would have been confident with a 20-point, three-quarter-time lead, but it was the Bulldogs that bit back with the determination of a Pollard-coached side.
In a tense final-term tussle, the young and fit Dogs managed 3.4 to a solitary point that hit the post late for Central to take the home side to victory. A late free and 25 penalty were hotly disputed, but both teams gave their all in a classic final.
For Centrals, only Benbow bothered the scorers more than once with two and better players included evergreen Fuller, Stewart, Watson, and Williams with their best being Lucas Hill.
Port kicked poorly for goal with vigorous forward Sargent bagging 2. Coe was particularly good again and key backs in Remphrey and Noblett were resolute in defence. Patrick Keane and Dickeson gave plenty of run and Port were very animated at siren time to break through.
That is it for Central for season 2020 and Port are in it for one more week again. Port 7.11.53 Central 8.4.52
Bulldogs Clash for Grand Final berth
South Augusta host Port in Port Augusta this Saturday in what should be an interesting contest with the 4-time flag winners' clear favourites at home.
South had won the double chance by topping the league at seasons end and now use up that chance with a second bite at getting a Grand Final berth. South were hampered during a tense last quarter last week with a limited bench and players will struggle to come up.
Russell look a certainty to have his season finished with a nasty shoulder/collar bone injury and South will look to their strong seconds players for people to step up with Urbancic coming under consideration. They will still have plenty of class and seasoned finals campaigners with the likes of Thompson, Downey, Kildea, Shirley, Ritter, McKenzie and Dohnt with plenty of experience.
For Port it will be a nothing-to-lose-throw-at-the-stumps chance to get in to a grand final that many predicted miles away after their round one 24 goal thumping but they have slowly gelled and grown ever since.
They have good enthusiasm, good youthful energy, and height among their youth. The likes of Akker at half forward and Remphrey at half back have been a successful pairing gaining in experience. Run will come from Coe, Dickeson, Pisani, the Keane brothers and last weeks hero McNamara. Big man Amey will need a day out in front of the sticks if Port are to win.
South will be smarting and desperate to inflict revenge on Lions, but they have a job to do first to get there. Port will be hoping their minds are a week ahead and they can turn up a surprise. Port will be brave but its hard to see them winning. South by 25 points.
NAFA - Undefeated Roos stumble
The undefeated Orroroo outfit stumble for their first defeat for season 2020 when they ran into a fired up reigning premier in Broughton Mundoora Eagles on the tight confines of the Wirrabara Oval in a free flowing display that led to a convincing 46 point win.
After the week off last week the Eagles were all on the same page and led the Roos from start to finish with a big 8 goal third term doing most of the damage. Robinson was back in form and Odea was unable to stop him kicking 6 to prove a real thorn with Will Hewett complimenting him with 3. It was the runners of the Eagles that came to the fore with Hewett, Cant, Bowley and Button all having big days.
For the Roos both Hombsch and Launer were busy with their opportunities with 3 each after Redden suffered an early friendly fire blow to his jaw/cheek bone whilst their better players included half back Head who saw plenty of it plus ruckman Lee and busy winger in Kenny.
Orroroo will regroup and know they have stiff opposition in BMW charging their way this week whilst Broughton will sit back and see who they line up on. Orroroo 12.8.80 Broughton Mundoora 19.12.126
Lions surge past Roosters
The BMW outfit did all they had to to dispose of an outgiunned Crystal Brook at Broughton on Sunday by 52 points. Greenslade bagged 5 for the victors whilst the Kangur boys again were very good along with big man Bernhardt and Christopherson.
For the Roosters it was Hill with 3 to cap a good year and better players included Millard, Kupsch, Arbon and Slattery. The Lions were expected to win and they did with their real test coming this week. BMW 14.16.100 Crystal Brook 7.6.48
Grand Final spot up for grabs
Orroroo have surged from 5th last year to go through the minor round undefeated and will be wary of a BMW side that has grown in stature as the season wore on. They met in the final round with the Roos 41 point victors in Melrose but finals pressure can do funny things.
BMW have won many admirers with the way they go about it with the Kangur brothers, McCallum up forward and big man Bernhardt against Lee in the ruck particularly important to their side's success.
Orroroo have a fleet of on ballers with Hughes, Nicholas, O'Dea, Kenny, and Moten all highly skilled and effective and they should give their forwards in Hombsch and Launer the chance to kick a winning score. They will miss Redden as is unlikely to come up but they are blessed to be at home. Orroroo by 24 points.
The 2020 Northern Areas Mail Medal has been won by Lukas Kangur of BMW with an incredible 15 votes from 8 games! Joint runners-up Orroroo's Darren Hughes and Broughton Mundoora's ruckman Matt Altmann.
B-Grade winner, for a third time was Brett Cunningham (8 votes) of Southern Flinders. In the junior grades Broughton Mundoora's Bodhi Sims won the U17 and Orroroo's Ned Bowman the U14, both coming from footballing heritage.