Category: News Article


Kicking themselves




Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Eagles 6 0 7 6 19 Loss
Spartans 0 6 8 6 20 Win

Showing steady improvement, would the Eagles knock off the Spartans after their first loss in over a year? The probably should have, and will be kicking themselves that they didn’t.

The Spartans continue to move away from their traditional power offence, featuring the pass far more often. Webb connecting with Reichstein three times.

Untimely errors and turnover continue to cost the Eagles at critical moments in games, the Eagles could easily be sitting at 2-2, but haven’t managed to close the last two weeks. Losing each game by a single point.

Given the bye week to regroup, will the Eagles iron out their turnover issues and record their first win against the Chief on the 20th?

Are the last two weeks and aberration, or has the competition figured out how to slow the Spartans? Should be a good contest against the Oilers, whom are looking to rebound from their first loss of the season.


SPARTANS: Webb 3 passing. Reichstein 3 receiving.
EAGLES: Crummy 2 passing. Draper 1 receiving. Long 1 receiving. Burford fumble recovery TD.


Chiefs light up the oil




Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Oilers 0 6 6 6 18 Loss
Chiefs 12 6 6 14 38 Win

Benjamin returned at QB for the Chiefs after missing the first 3 games, managing the game well and avoiding crucial mistakes as his team took advantages of Oilers errors.

Playing without Tedmanson and undermanned, the Oilers fought well but were undone via inexperience, as the Chiefs scored twice defensively and via special teams. Smith filled in well in relief of Tedmanson, with 2 scores, but the team effort of the Chiefs proved unbeatable.

A well rounded game from the Chiefs, scoring in all three phases and chalking up their first victory of the season.


CHIEFS: Benjamin 1 passing. Meyers 1 receiving, 1 INT for TD. Kelly 1 receiving, 1 kick return TD. Edwards 1 rushing. #18 fumble recovery TD.
OILERS: Smith 2 passing, 1 rushing. Schibani 2 receiving.


Friday Night Lights



Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Hogs 0 7 7 9 23 Win
Spartans 14 0 8 0 22 Loss

After the Hogs ruined the Spartans perfect season last year, the grand final rematch was set to be a physical and entertaining affair. Welbourn returns for the Hogs, (after missing all three contests between the two rivals last season) leading the league’s highest scoring offense, against the competitions stingiest defense.

Early turnovers cost Adelaide Uni, spotting the Spartans 14 points. As the first half progressed, the Hogs offense managed to move the ball, with BTP scoring to bring the Hogs within 7. Musallam replied immediately, giving the Spartans a 22-7 lead at the major break.

The second half saw the Hogs offense awaken, with Morton, Olive and BTP each hauling in multiple deep receptions, but again turnovers and penalties stopping them from applying scoreboard pressure. BTP scored late in the third, closing the gap 22-13.

After an impressive first half rushing the ball, the Spartans were unable to sustain drives in the second half, giving the Hogs more opportunities to capitalize. Welbourn connected with BTP, closing the gap 20-23.

As time wore on Olive converted key first downs and put his team within field goal range via a long reception, before converting for three. Adelaide University remains undefeated 23-22.


HOGS: Welbourn 1 passing. Thera-Plamondon 2 rushing, 1 receiving. Olive 1 FG.
SPARTANS: Musallam 3 rushing.



10 Things I think I thought


The 1967 NFL Championship game between the Packers and Cowboys is known as the ‘Ice bowl’, played in the most awful conditions at The Frozen Tundra of (Curly) Lambeau Field.  Well we had our own epic contest, Hogs 23-22 Spartans in the grand final rematch, but whilst my warm winter wear was required I think it was closer to a ‘Pretty Chilly Bowl’

During the weekend, I was thinking of some of the ways that the Spartans could have won the game.  In a game that close, both teams have plays they want back.  The Hogs negative plays were primarily turnovers, however the breadth of instances that the Spartans could have put more points on the board, or stopped Adelaide Uni, was startling and so those instances feature heavily in this week’s column.

  1. Both teams were far from perfect, especially in the first half, with sloppiness including lots of penaltiesimpeding each team’s offensive rhythm. In the cold, the referees be forgiven for hurrying decisions but their committee approach helped ensure that decisions made were as thought-out as possible.
  2. There was a familiarity in the scoringfrom what we’ve seen in the early contests. Isaac Musallam scored his third, fourth and fifth rushing TD’s of the season as he has taken on the Spartans lead back duties with aplomb.  The Hogs TD’s came to Brendan Thera-Plamondon (BTP), who added two TD’s on end arounds to last week’s length of the field effort against the Chiefs.
  3. Worth giving a shout out to the Spartans for their incredible 19 games unbeatenin regular season games.  Fantastic effort.
  4. Some ways the Spartans almost won Part 1..  After an impressive interception by Brad Vegera (was he in bounds? I was dubious!) , the Spartans went three-and-out inside their own 10, with the 3rddown play creating room for the punt.  QB David Webb, whose impressive spiral punt later would show his ability, hit the ball too high in the air and with the unfortunate bounce the Hogs took the ball back at the Spartans 9 and scored with the very next play.  It was 14-0 at that point and the Hogs had been struggling to get out of their half.  At this level, punting is dangerous, I wonder if the result would have been different had the Spartans taken the intentional safety (what im now calling a ‘forced behind’) and punted the resulting free-kick pinning the Hogs back in their own half
  5. Some ways the Spartans almost won Part 2…At 22-7 to the Spartans, they were unlucky to not get a safety after Harry Headding appeared to take the ball in the field of play and purposefully retreat into the endzone.  That would have added to the Spartans score, to 24.
  6. Some ways the Spartans almost won Part 3….A critical penalty after the first of two viscous, but legal, hits applied by Ryan Ottens for taunting.  I may have missed it but I thought Ottens was demonstrating his strength to his own bench rather than directing it at the unfortunate Hog.  That was on third down and would have forced a fourth down decision, instead the penalty created a new first down and BTP found the endzone on the very next play (to make it 13-22).  Worth pointing out just how well both safeties played, stifling the Adelaide Uni offense for large periods of the contest.
  7. Some ways the Spartans almost won Part 4…The Spartans ran out of time at the end of the 1sthalf inside the red zone.  A catch to Reichstein and a run to Musallam both were ruled as still in-bounds, and hence the clock ran.  If one of them was ruled out I think the Spartans put at least 6 on the board.  Musallam had a great game but he needed to do more to ensure he got out of bounds and stopped the clock.  It was extra critical when Reichstein fumbled, for the Spartans, after a reception on the first play of the 2nd half.  22-14 could have become 28-14, instead the Hogs wrestled momentum away.
  8. Some ways the Spartans almost won Part 5…What looked a critical fumble on a promising Hogs drive was nullified, I assume due to a ruling of the runner’s forward momentum being stopped.  BTP’s (otherwise I breach the agreed Gridiron SA word count limit)  catch for the Hogs third Touchdown was a strong one, holding off safety Ryan Ottens over the middle.
  9. Some ways the Spartans almost won Part 6…This was the first play that I thought of which would have gained the Spartans the 2 critical points needed to win.  After pulling within 2 (at 20-22), the Hogs went for the tie, their opportunity was intercepted by Ottens who looked to have a good chance to return it the other way for 2 points.  He was caught, and the score remained a 2-pt game, those two points would have forced Adelaide Uni into ‘endzone or bust’ instead of requiring a field goal.
  10. You either love or hate Olive’s….Adelaide Uni Coach Thomas Etherton and QB Josh Welbourn love him (Mitchell Olive #89) after several clutch sideline catches at the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth stanza.  Offensively, the Hogs lined up in four receiver sets most of the game with two on each side, but seemed to have more success when moving into trips formations (three receivers on one side) late-on.  Olive then lined up for the game winning kick which he slotted through.

I hope you enjoyed your rare public holiday with a full slate of NFL games. For those lamenting missing the game last weekend, there could be a game just as dramatic this week with Gridiron SA’s two winless teams (Eagles and Chiefs) squaring off at 1pm next Saturday.  Add that, and the next time the Hogs and Spartans meet (17th October @ 4pm)  to your calendar.



Rivalries are forged by repeated battles, through triumph and heartbreaks with some still so raw. We are lucky to be blessed with such a rivalry and can witness its latest chapter this Friday night.

For two sides last year’s Gridiron SA season appeared headed in different directions. The Spartans were perfect through ten games and qualified directly for the Great Southern Bowl. Its opponent would be the Razorbacks (Hogs) who had limped home with a 5-5 record after QB Josh Welbourn (passer rating 123.5) was lost to the season prior to the first meeting between the two clubs. The Hogs would win their fifth straight with a resolute defensive stop on a 4th and 1 in overtime to stun the Spartans.

Gridiron SA’s graphic shows the stats from the three battles the Spartans and Razorbacks took part in. Those stats reflect the Spartans prominence as a running team with a strong defense and the Hogs as the better passing outfit of the two.

This year has begun, as expected, with both sides winning two-from-two with both having faced the Eagles and Chiefs.  The Spartans defense has been magnificent and hasn’t conceded in the two games. Whilst, with Welbourn (#8) back, the Hogs offense and passing game has thrived especially against the Chiefs last weekend when they put up 61 on the board, with five passing touchdowns for Welbourn, and three receiving Touchdowns to Sam Morton (#10).  Brendon Thera-Plamondon (#83) had two receiving Touchdowns in the Hogs first game of the season and a rushing TD from an end around.

The matchup, of the Hogs passing game against the Spartans defense, is intriguing. Will their running game pose enough of a threat to the Spartans who will do everything possible to limit Welbourn’s effectiveness?  Receivers Morton, Renney (#11), Thera-Plamondon and Olsson (#85) have a good secondary lined up against them, including Brad Vegera (#24) who had 8 interceptions during 2017 of which 4 were against the Razorbacks.

Whilst that will be a critical matchup, the other side of the ball will also be key in determining the winner. Can the Hogs stop the Spartans running attack spear-headed by last year’s Gridiron SA MVP Damian Vollar (#36) and Isaac Musallam (#14), who had two rushing TD’s against the Chiefs in Round 2? Will QB Nathan Van Pamelen (#19) be able to take advantage of the Hogs stacking the box?

I encourage all reading this to get to the game and bring a friend who hasn’t seen a local game before. It will be well worth your effort and will begin a fantastic long weekend!  Kick off is Friday at 7pm at Port Adelaide Rugby Club.

Hogs V Spartans 2017 review


The one that got away



Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Oilers 0 0 7 7 14 Win
Eagles 7 0 6 0 13 Loss

After a high-octane early game, passes were flying early in the second game… into the hands of the opposition. The Oilers and Eagles took turns throwing interceptions (5 combined), yet the Eagles were unable to convert these opportunities into points at critical moments.

After completing a bomb, the Eagles were presented with 1st and goal inside the 5, The Oilers defense held strong and prevented the Eagles from taking an early two score lead.

Tedmanson showed great individual effort running the ball, on a day when he struggled to hit targets, Anderson’s extra point being the decider. The Oilers, lucky to win a close game, will look to tighten up their offence against the Chiefs in week 5.

The Eagles head to the break wondering how they let this one slip away and will need to improve as they prepare to face the Spartans.

The Gridiron SA community wishes Jarrod Shiels a speedy recovery after suffering a broken leg during the contest.


OILERS: Tedmanson 2 rushing.
EAGLES: Crummy 1 passing. Burford 1 receiving. Kelly 1 rushing.


MC Hammers!



Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Hogs 14 21 12 14 61 Win
Chiefs 0 8 0 0 8 Loss

The Chiefs won the coin toss, electing to defer, a small win on an otherwise miserable outing.

Starting QB Benjamin was lost to injury on their first series of the game (already down 7-0) as the Hogs continued to move the ball with ease.

Welbourn threw 5 scores (Morton with three, Renney with two). Morton the first half star, helping the Hogs pile on 35 in the first two frames.

Edwards was under pressure all day but did manage to generate a handful of wow plays, which should provide comfort moving forward. Ball security being an issue, the Chiefs giving the Hogs too many opportunities, including a pick six.

The Chiefs will look to regroup during the bye, hopefully get healthy and see if they can find a way to generate scoreboard pressure.

The Hogs now look toward Friday night, can their D shut down the Spartans league leading rushing attack? Will the Spartans be able to slow the explosive Hogs passing attack (10 passing TD’s V zero points allowed in two common opponent games)?


RAZORBACKS: Welbourn 5 passing. Ryan 1 passing, 1 receiving. Stewart 1 passing. Morton 3 receiving. Renney 2 receiving. Olive 1 receiving. Headding 1 rushing. Smith INT return for TD.
CHIEFS:  Edwards 1 passing. Riach 1 receiving.



Welcome to another 4th and Goal.  I’ve learnt from the NFL to use ‘personal reasons’ as an excuse for everything (e.g. Josh Gordon’s pre-season MIA in Cleveland as well as Antonio Brown and Earl Thomas’ missing practice this week), so if you want to know why there wasn’t a 4th and Goal last week, it was clearly due to personal reasons.

We’re six games in to our season and we have two winless and three undefeated teams. That will all change as the next game (Week 4) is between two unbeaten teams and the first game in Week 5 will see the winless squaring off.



This week we’re looking at the first Power Rankings, based on the six games we’ve witnessed, some in person, some on highlight videos and some through Facebook updates:

  1. Spartans (2-0) – We’re going to go with the Spartans as the number one team, as their defense has been playing great so far this season (averaging four points allowed), and their offense has done enough to knockout the Eagles and Chiefs.
  2. Hogs (2-0) – The league’s best offense, three QBs with Touchdowns in the 61 points against the Chiefs, are they the league’s best team? We’ll find out soon enough; their defense has allowed 27 points to the same opponents as the Spartans.
  3. Oilers (2-0) – Narrow 14-13 over Eagles puts them in this spot now.  Since mid-October 2017 the Oilers are 4-0-1 in games against the Hogs, Eagles and Chiefs and 0-2 against the Spartans.
  4. Eagles (0-3) – The Eagles and Chiefs both had narrow defeats to the Oilers and will face off in Week 5 against each other.  The Eagles are in our fourth spot now as they have played hard in every game and their offense and defense both appear ahead of the Chiefs.
  5. Chiefs (0-3) – It was always going to be a challenging start for the Chiefs with plenty new fresh faces needing to gel.  The task has become harder with the injuries they have had.  Whilst the short-term looks challenging, I expect the Chiefs to play their best ball late in the season and to take a scalp or two



I’ve been very impressed by the social media updates teams provide, both in promoting the games and in representing their clubs.  A few highlights I have seen:

Adelaide University Hogs took us inside the dressing room (LANGUAGE WARNING!!!)

UniSA Eagles – Young fan does coin-toss

Souths City Chiefs – Great photography of their games on their Facebook page

Port Adelaide Spartans – Championing women’s gridiron in SA

Southern Districts Oilers  – Glamour photos of recovery sessions (NSFW) 

….and lots of good ‘ol fashion banter about educating each other on what ‘holding’ is.

Also be aware that teams are beginning pre-season activity for Junior players so please think of any kids you know that would be interested in playing!



The big one is coming up this weekend, not Eagles v Magpies, it’s the Hogs v Spartans, the league’s top 2 teams go head-to-head for the first time since last year’s epic grand final.  There are so many matchups I am looking forward to seeing!  The Gridiron SA preview for the game will be available on Thursday night to whet your appetite for the big clash.  I’d remind you it’s this Friday (28th) at 7pm at Port Adelaide Rugby Club but I know you’ve already added it to your calendars.  See you there!!

Finally, I wish to say how glad I am to hear that youngster Kurtis Bolton’s surgery appeared to go well after his severe injury last week.  The Chiefs run-stuffer out of Maine will need plenty of rest so I hope he gets to see plenty of NFL and college football during his rehabilitation. And, as we’re going to press good luck to Jarrod Shiels (Oilers) who is having surgery on his leg after yesterday’s injury.



Spartans rush to a W



Team 1 2 3 4 TD T Outcome
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0 Loss
Spartans 12 7 0 0 19 Win

The Spartans arrived ready to run as the Chiefs came out the gate with a new look at QB, starting the mobile and strong-armed Benjamin.

Benjamin started strong, before rifling a pass in the redzone directly to Ottens, from here the Spartans took control. Their strong ground game being the perfect complement to the poor weather.

Mussallam continuing to flash the form he displayed in round one, looks to compliment the bruising style of Volar perfectly.

Unfortunately, the game was called early due to a serious injury, our thoughts are with the Chiefs as we wish everyone a speedy recovery.

SPARTANS: Musallam 2 rushing, Volar 1 rushing.


Hogs find rhythm on the fly



Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Hogs 7 12 6 6 31 Win
Eagles 6 6 6 0 19 Loss

The Hogs arrived at Riverside looking to defend their title, with the Eagles looking to get their first W of the season. Conditions would prove difficult, as strong winds and rain drove onlookers inside.

Welbourn returned for the Hogs (post 2017 season-ending surgery) to move the chains early, although overthrowing potential scores twice early in the 1st kept the contest close.

The Hogs defense allowed Crummy to throw for 3 scores, but swarmed the Eagles running game.

Eventually the Hogs found rhythm, the efficiency of their passing game being the decider.

Thera-Plamondon being the difference maker in round one, with 3 scores (2 receiving, 1 rushing) and several key receptions to extend drives.

RAZORBACKS: Welbourn 3 passing. Thera-Plamondon 2 receiving, 1 rushing. Olive 1 receiving. Bigiri 1 rushing
EAGLES: Crummy 3 passing. Draper 1 receiving, Long 1 receiving, Burford 1 receiving.