Clinical Croweaters power past WA
South Australia have secured the Haydn Bunton Cup for a second time in three years, defeating a lacklustre Western Australian outfit by 53 points at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
The Croweaters led at every change in a dominant showing, the Black Swans made to pay for several turnovers that became more costly as the match progresed, South Australia overcoming the early loss of Matthew Nunn to a hamstring injury.
Former Power player Matthew Broadbent won the Fos Williams Medal as the best South Australian player afield, registering 29 disposals and taking 11 marks in a dominant performance across half back.
Claremont midfielder Jye Bolton showed his class once again for his side, winning his third Simpson Medal in state games and his fourth overall with 29 disposals and 6 inside 50's, a gallant performance in a losing cause.
Both sides were wasteful early in a highly skilled contest, Western Australia squandering several early chances in front of goal while South Australia also kicked inaccurately in the first quarter, kicking 3.7 to the visitors 1.6, Tyler Keitel kicking WA's first goal just before quarter time.
South Australia's midfield was having more of a say in the contest, former Blue and Crow Bryce Gibbs finding plenty of the ball as his experience proved telling, former AFL team mate Riley Knight also proving damaging through the middle.
WA kicked consecutive goals in the second term to close within 14 points but couldn't get any closer as the Croweaters pushed away again either side of half time.
A 20 point lead at the half became 40 by the final change with former Richmond and Adelaide small forward Tyson Stengle causing headaches for the Sandgropers defence with three majors, support from Luke Reynolds and Jack Hayes.
The result was well and truly decided as the game became an open affair in the final half hour of the contest, South Australia kicking eight goals to Western Australia's six, 31 goals shared on the afternoon in the home side's 20.10 (130) to 11.11 (77).
Reynolds kicked four goals to be his side's most potent player in front of goal, Stengle and Hayes sharing three apiece as Jade Sheedy's side levelled the head to head ledger at 48 wins apiece between the proud footballing states.
Gibbs had 31 disposals and hauled in 13 marks in a vintage performance from the former number one draft pick, Broadbent pipping him for best afield with his 29 touches and 11 marks.
Former West Coast Eagle Luke Partington kicked two goals to go with 23 disposals, a young Western Australia side unable to match it with their more experienced opponents.
Bolton was his side's best player, winning a third Simpson Medal after previous best on ground performances against Tasmania in 2016 and South Australia at the same venue.
Coupled with his Grand Final Simpson Medal win in last year's Grand Final, Bolton has cemented his place as one of Western Australia's greatest modern footballers, having also won two Sandover Medals since moving from Victoria in 2016.
Lachlan Delahunty had 26 disposals in support in midfield, while Falcons forward Keitel kicked four goals to be the most dangerous of the forwards in attack.
The teams are scheduled to meet again in 2021 in Perth, with the winner of that match to take a decisive lead in the history of state football between the two proud footballing states.
IMAGE: Adelaide Now.