By ZAC MILBANK
West Adelaide put a dampener on the farewell game for Norwood premiership ruckman Sam Baulderstone, producing a stirring 10-point win at The Parade on Friday night.
Securing just their second victory of the season, the Bloods showed plenty of spirit in the final term to score the only three goals after the last change while restricting the Redlegs to just two behinds.
In an encouraging performance from Gavin Colville’s men heading into the preseason, the visitors hit the front on the back of a stunning goal from debutant Bailey Chamberlain seven minutes into the fourth quarter.
After fellow AAMI Rookie Jye Sinderberry put a long ball inside 50m, Chamberlain showed off his speed to hit the greasy ball at pace ahead of his opponent before snapping truly on the run – a memorable moment featured in the clip below.
Suddenly West led by four points after trailing by nine at three quarter-time, Isaac Johnson making the most of a free kick for kicking in danger against Brad McKenzie with a 20m set shot inside the first two minutes of the restart.
And when the classy left-footer saluted 24 minutes into the final stanza with a 40m set shot – having marked a low lateral pass from Brett Turner – it was the Bloods who were celebrating instead of the hosts.
With both sides unable to make the top four heading into the contest, the triumph meant much more to Westies as evidenced by several players punching the air upon hearing the final siren.
The Bloods had less of the ball overall and five fewer inside 50 entries but their ability to be clean in the contest despite the driving rain proved pivotal in securing the premiership points.
Tireless West midfielder Kaine Stevens was a strong influence on the outcome with his 34 disposals and six clearances while Brett Turner (19 disposals and 10 clearances) as well as Josh Schiller (21 disposals and five clearances) provided plenty of support.
Former Redleg Lyndon Hupfeld played one of his best League games in an uncustomary defensive role, finishing with 24 disposals, seven marks and four tackles to be another of West’s best.
Fellow backman Mitch Duval – set to test at the AFL Combine in Adelaide this Wednesday – was also super impressive with his intercept marking to tally 19 disposals, eight grabs and an important set shot goal in the third quarter.
Roxby Downs product Chamberlain capped off his impressive debut with his goal to register 16 disposals and seven marks while Sinderberry had some nice moments across half-back for 13 disposals and three tackles.
Norwood had a chance to hit the front in the final term when the returning Declan Hamilton hit the post on the run from 20m in front in the 21st minute but the Bloods appeared hungrier for victory.
Richard Douglas and Matthew Nunn each tallied 24 touches and six clearances while Cam Shenton tried to spark several attack from defence with his 23 disposals and a goal.
But it was another spirited display from the retiring Baulderstone which nearly lifted Norwood across the line, the dual premiership bigman chalking up 17 disposals, 11 clearances, four tackles and a whopping 47 hit outs in his final League outing.
Fittingly, the 29-year-old was given a guard of honour from both teams as he left The Parade for the last occasion.