We had a great day of football out at Port Adelaide Rugby Club, with the Oilers and Spartans recording wins against the Chiefs and Eagles respectively.  Whilst the better side won both contests there was critical periods of play that determined the outcome.

During this season I’ll be writing a column after each week’s games.  This week I’ve taken a leaf out of Peter King’s (MMQB) 10 Things I Think I Think column, and so without further ado, here is 10 Things I think I thought:

  1. As a new arrival in SA, I arrived at my first local game here in Adelaide to see the final play of the Chiefs epic goalline stand.  It appeared to be a pivotal moment that allowed the Chiefs to stay in the game, and was a fantastic way to start watching the competition.  (Note, the outcome of the safety is a great example that the downside of going for it on 4th and Goal is not that bad…..more on safeties to come).
  2. Michael Tedmanson and Oliver English (the new QB for the Chiefs) will battle this year for the ‘Steve Young’ rushing QB award.
  3. The aforementioned Tedmanson gets married next weekend, coinciding with the Oilers bye.  Its great those fine people at Gridiron SA schedule bye weeks so as they don’t get in the way of true love.  Congrats to all.
  4. Of all the battles in week 1, the one I most enjoyed was Caleb Hays v Sam Meyers.  Hays had 15 receptions for 251 yards last term enjoyed some success against the SA Shark, but last year’s joint-leading interception machine followed up a great timing play by picking off an English pass that came off Hays’ fingertips.
  5. I mentioned in the season previews the positive way the Oilers finished 2017.  Didn’t they just hit the ground running on Saturday? Oilers are now four games unbeaten against non-Spartans and have proven, if needed, that they won’t be pushovers for anyone.
  6. In the NFL the Falcons / Eagles was a snooze-fest, however despite the difference in talent level there was not a dull moment in our games today that kept the interest level through to the late stages of the fourth quarter.
  7. The commentary setup, audio volume and quality was awesome and I had to say well done to the guys.  They provided a great tempo and set up plays well with reminders on down and distance and made the game more enjoyable.
  8. Both the Eagles and Chiefs offense had positive plays, but whilst the Oilers created plenty of defensive pressure the Chiefs beat themselves with mistakes at crucial times.  You’ve got to not beat yourself before you can beat an opponent.
  9. The importance of a kicker/punter cannot be underestimated.  All facets are impacted with more attempts on fourth down (hence the name of the column) and better offensive starting positions.  There appears big differences between the kicking games of the teams which is a significant advantage/disadvantage to some.
  10. The Oilers fumbled punt recovered by the Chiefs, made the game contestable when the Oilers should have been comfortable.  It was a great situation for an often overlooked coaching option of the ‘intentional safety’ loved by Bill Belichick.  Had the ball been snapped out of the endzone, Tedmanson would have punted the resultant freekick and pinned the Chiefs deep in their own half, trailing by 11. Instead suddenly the Chiefs were 1play from winning the game; I’m hopeful of seeing an intentional safety by season’s end.

More again next week.  Can the Chiefs find their offensive mojo against the Spartans.  With some positives to take from their first game, can the Eagles defeat our state champions?  Same bat time, Same bat channel  (High Noon @ Port Adelaide Rugby Club)

The views in 4th and Goal reflect the views of Stuart Flint and do not represent Gridiron SA