Off field the SANFL has had a terrible year… We’ll get to that next month.
On field though and there is storylines galore.
West Adelaide won the 2015 premiership and in 2016 after a raid on their best players, The Bloods finished stone cold last. Some have been quite critical of the West, but when you lose the talent of Jono Beech and Will Snelling all at once, that would dent any clubs chance of success.
Glenelg are on the verge of financial collapse but strung a few good performances together to show enough to perhaps be a finals contender in 2017.
North Adelaide became the pests, pushing quite a few finals contenders right to the end of a few games throughout the season. They’re on the improve.
Port Adelaide’s AFL side was decimated by injury and poor form which meant its SANFL side was no chance of finals action. While Norwood also had a year to forget.
The five finals contenders though each have a genuine shot at the title this year. There is no clear stand out and most are actually not in that great a form heading into the finals series.
Central District –
They’ve been consistently inconsistent the Dogs. Face Adelaide first up which is not ideal. Lose that and season is over. Central District did enough to get the job done against West Adelaide last weekend, but feel that if the season had gone one week longer, they wouldn’t have made finals. A reasonable year, but after where they were last year an elimination loss would feel like a step backwards.
Can beat Adelaide on their day, but probably not at Adelaide Oval.
Prediction – Fifth
For the good of the competition, I hope they come second. There are different rules depending on how far the Crows can go at AFL level, which makes a mockery of the finals all together really.
They won’t field their strongest team of the year this week, but got enough talent in good form to be a threat. They face Central District in the elimination final and should advance through to the at least the semi final stage. From there who would really know.
Prediction – Fourth
Much like the Eagles, Sturt have had an indifferent second half of the year. At the halfway point they looked like flag favourites. A narrow win over North and a draw with Glenelg in the final two rounds have changed my mind on the Double Blues. A lot will depend on the form of Brodie Martin and Zane Kirkwood as to whether Sturt can do any damage at the pointy end.
Prediction – Third
South Adelaide –
Unbeaten at home this year, South need to find some more form away from Noarlunga in order to win it. However they are in the best form of all of the finalists at present.
If Brett Eddy can move his form from Hickinbotham to Adelaide Oval, the Panthers will go all the way. It might even get him an AFL contract if he can do that too.
Joel Cross will also be vital to their chances, but South have been in similar positions in the last few years and blown it. Won’t be convinced until they actually make the grand final, which they should do if they can knock of Sturt in the qualifying final this weekend.
Prediction – Second
Woodville West-Torrens –
The 2016 minor premiers came runner-up last year. Had a good season, but some strange losses against Norwood and the Magpies. Get the week off to recharge and prepare for the charge towards the premiership.
They’re flag favourites given Sturt’s drop off for mine. They have arguably the best list and probably been the most consistent side across the season, despite how it ended.
Prediction – First
All five clubs deserve finals action this year. Throughout the season they’ve all shown glimpses of being a premiership winner. An upset or two here or there should ensure it will be a cracker of a series.
The SANFL finals kick of Saturday September 3 with Adelaide clashing with Central District at 12.10pm and South Adelaide doing battle with Sturt at 3.1opm at Adelaide Oval.