Category: News Article

Great Southern Bowl 2018 Razorbacks v Spartans by Tony Virgo (37)-X3

Great Southern Blowout

Hogs 33 v 0 Spartans


Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Hogs 9 10 7 7 33 Win
Spartans 0 0 0 0 0 Loss

They say defence win’s championships, but you still need to put points on the board. The Spartans entered the bowl minus starting QB Webb and having committed nine turnovers in the semi-final, but still boasting the competitions best defensive unit.

The Hogs offence lead the league in scoring, while also protecting the ball, ranked first in turnovers allowed.

Would the Spartans defence fine a way to slow the Hogs, and perhaps provide their offence with advantageous field position?

The Spartans received the opening kick-off, before everything unravelled quickly, an ill-fated punt attempt resulting in a safety and points on the board before the Hogs offence had stepped on the field.

The Hogs moved the ball efficiently throughout the afternoon, stretching the Spartans sideline to sideline with their superior speed. Valles often breaking contain and moving the chains via his punishing rushing style.

Welbourn connected with Plamondon early in the first, before Valles rumbled for a 62-yard TD the following possession, breaking open the game before the main break.

The second half saw more of the same, the Hogs defence continually harassing the Spartan offence, and pressuring Van Pamelan into 3 interceptions, rarely giving up first downs.

Valles continued to run hard, giving Olive, Berrington and Plamondon plenty of opportunity to stretch the field, at one stage Oilve and Plamondon posting back to back highlight reel catches, before Plamondon scored again, leaving no doubt as to the result.

The Hogs defence continued to pin the Spartans in their own half of the field, giving their offence further opportunity. Welbourn connected with Berrington late in the 4th, the Hogs securing their 6th consecutive Bowl win.

His punishing running and hard pursuit on D meant Valles was awarded the game MVP, deservedly so.


HOGS: Welbourn 3 passing. Plamondon 2 receiving. Valles 1 rushing. Berrington 1 receiving. Olive FG. Safety.


4th and goal finals edition

It has been twenty-six games, 971 points and 98 days since the season started, which has led to two teams earning the right to square off for the prize of hoisting The Great Southern Bowl. Will it be a sixth-time in a row for the University of Adelaide Hogs with the impressive aerial attack, or will it be the more run-orientated Port Adelaide Spartans?

I saw my first Superbowl in 1990 and have watched live on TV ever since (except one year when I got a chance to see the game, and a power cut, up close and personal). The Superbowl features teams who have met only once, if at all, during the season; as such, the Superbowl often comes with few meetings with which to draw any conclusions about the quality of the game ahead.

The opposite is true for our dear Great Southern Bowl. A rematch of last year’s epic contest awaits. The Hogs have won the last four matchups with the three games this year won by margins of 1, 1 and 7 points. With so many close games in this matchup I do have a fear we’re overdue a blowout…. let us hope that’s not the case!

A couple of weeks ago, I expected the Spartans to make light work of the semi and so agreed to look after the kids on that day.  I started regretting that after the Eagles spoilt the Hogs perfect season. On the day of the semi-final, and with a close game, I ended up rushing north to see the final quarter (with the kids!). From what I saw and what I’ve read it was a defensive struggle with a multitude of turnovers. The Spartans were without QB David Webb, who they’ll want back for the final if he can recover from the injury caused by this jarring tackle.

I have put together some dashboards representing the scoring from this year’s games. I hope you like it and can use it to understand the strengths and weaknesses of individual teams and to see when individual players scored and then click on the link to watch that play.

Another project I have worked on are the summary videos for each team that has played its final game of the season. For each team you will be able to view a video of all their scoring plays by the type of play (e.g. Rushing, Receiving, etc..).There are also individual videos for every player who had a scoring play during this fantastic season. Videos for the Chiefs and Oilers are available on Gridiron SA’s YouTube page and the Eagles, Hogs and Spartans will be added soon.

I encourage all teams to utilise these videos on their social media pages. For any sadomasochistic coaches and players out there, I have available videos combining all the plays showing how you conceded.

The All-starts were announced during the week with an even spread of Hogs, Spartans and Eagles.  Big congratulations go to Jaden Valles who managed to be a two-way all-star.  Our league MVP is Joshua Long who you can see pounding the rock in this highlight video (link, if uploaded).  Long was also named Offensive Player of the Year with teammate Benjamin Taylor the rookie of the year.  Pick-machine Brad Vegera made the team of the year at safety and was Defensive Player of the Year after a stellar campaign.  The competitiveness of the Oilers during 2018 won Steve Rudd Coach of the Year.  Well done, everyone!

The final 4th and Goal of the year coming soon, recapping the Bowl game and celebrating with the winners and commiserating the losers.


lucky 13

Spartans 14 v 10 Eagles



Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Spartans 0 14 0 0 14 Win
Eagles 0 0 7 3 10 Loss

The Spartans entered the final minus Webb, and question surrounding their ability to score points. The Eagles arrived on a high after defeating the resting Hogs, would they be able to take advantage of a depleted Spartans outfit?

They should have! The Eagles were gifted the game, the Spartans doing their best to lose the game, coughing up the football nine times! Nine! The Eagles were unable to take advantage, instead questionable (predictable) play-calling and poor of field decisions led to them giving up 14 points in the first half, after the two-minute warning. The teams combined for 13 turnover within the game.

The Spartans continued to turn over the ball in the second half, three straight possessions resulted in turnover, but their defence was stout. A fourth turnover was too much to take, as the Eagles made a house call via Van Pamelan on route to their first score of the afternoon.

The Eagles did rally late, but Gridiron SA MVP Long was largely ineffective, in a game where Crummy couldn’t string completions together. The coaches opting for a field goal late in the fourth when down by seven, a questionable decision considering the Spartans offense didn’t break 100 yards passing in the contest and were struggling to move the football.

The decision meant the Eagles were forced into a Hail Mary situation with no time left, Volar putting down Crummey to secure the Great Southern Bowl rematch.

Can the Spartans get their offence on track, and reduce turnovers (12 in the last two games)? Can the Hogs face the Spartans will a full squad, injuries preventing them from doing so this season.

Should be a cracker, Riverside at 3pm, Saturday 15th.


SPARTANS: Van Pamelan 1 passing. Formentera 1 receiving. Ridington INT TD.
EAGLES: #14 INT TD. Plowman FG.


Momentum rested

Eagles 31 v 13 Hogs


Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Eagles 3 7 7 14 31 Win
Hogs 7 13 0 0 13 Loss

With the Bowl game wrapped up, the Hogs had nothing to play for… other than a perfect season. Were the Hogs coaches influenced by the injuries in game one, the Spartans losing two QB’s the week before finals. Probably. The Hogs sat Valles, Plamondon, Berrington and Renney, while playing Morton and Welbourn sparingly in the first half. The score at the main break Hogs 13 v 10 Eagles.

Would the Eagles handle the Hogs backups? Indeed. Stewart saw extended action for the first time in his young career, and in difficult conditions struggled. Poor decisions resulted two interceptions, one going to the house via Wyten. As the Hogs struggled to mount an attack, the Eagles took advantage of excellent field position, scoring three second half TD’s.

In windy conditions the Eagles coaches took the ball out of the air, Crummy attempting less than five passes in the first half. Given the Eagles recent INT woes, will this be a tactic employed during the prelim, where Spartans injuries could affect their ability to score…

Should be a tight one this weekend, see you at Riverside 3pm.


EAGLES: Crummy 2 passing. Burford 1 receiving. Wyten INT TD. Seve 1 rushing.  Lonko 1 receiving. Plowman FG.
RAZORBACKS: Welbourn 2 passing. Olive 1 receiving. Olsson 1 receiving.


A costly win

Spartans 27 v 6 Oilers


Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Spartans 7 7 7 6 27 Win
Oilers 0 0 6 0 6 Loss

It was a tough week for the Spartans, whom playing a dead rubber, lost two quarterbacks to injury. This being the worst possible result from a game that the Spartans were dominating in all phases.

The big question is will Webb be fit for the prelim, against the Eagles whom have playmakers on offence and a little momentum after defeating the resting Hogs.

Ridington took advantage of an errant Smith pass, taking it to the house, he should get one or two more opportunities this weekend. This game will be decided by the Spartans defense, whom has twice held the Eagles to zero points this season and blocking a field goal attempt to secure a one-point win on a third occasion. Given the -49 point differential, will the Eagles be able to mount enough offence to get to the big dance? The stats say no, but momentum is a funny thing.

Prediction, Spartans 21 v 7 Eagles

See you at Riverside 3pm.


SPARTANS: Webb 1 rushing. De Francesca 1 passing. Volar 1 rushing. Ridington INT TD.
OILERS: Smith 1 rushing.


Air raid

Hogs 34 v 12 Oilers


Team 1 2 3 4 Outcome
Hogs 6 6 15 7 Win
Oilers 6 0 6 0 Loss

With the Bowl berth wrapped up, the Hogs looked to tighten up their redzone efficiency, while avoiding injuries and resting players. With Olsson, Rose and Valles all sitting out, the Oilers got to work, scoring on their first possession. Would they be able to sustain the early success without key contributors?

The Hogs responded quickly, scoring 27 unanswered points. Olive and Plamondon with 2 scores each, both consistently moving the chains. Rookie Bigirimana running strong and adding a TD for good measure, as Valles sat this one out.

The Oilers scored again in the third, Munce impacting the game in all phases as usual.

The Hogs passing game and superior numbers proving too strong, although a great fight from an obviously undermanned Oilers squad whom now look to 2019.


RAZORBACKS: Welbourn 4 passing. Plamondon 2 receiving. Olive 2 receiving. Bigirimana 1 rushing.
OILERS: Smith 1 passing. Munce 1 receiving. Stewart 1 rushing.


Go Long

Eagles 31 v 8 Chiefs


Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Chiefs 0 8 0 0 8 Loss
Eagles 0 6 6 19 31 Win

The Chiefs have been decimated by injuries this season, they faced the Eagles with low numbers and key contributors missing. That said, they hung tough, leading at the half. Henshaw recoding his second pick 6 against Crummy this season, making an impressive house call indeed.

The Eagles have a plan, go Long! His impact this week was outstanding, registering 3 scores. As his bruising rushing goes, so does this team. If Long is contained, do the Eagles have an answer?

Whilst putting up 31, the Eagles must be concerned with their turnover numbers (multiple turnovers in the last 3 games). They will look to tighten that up against the hogs, before facing the Spartans in next week prelim. The net points being too much for the Oilers to overcome as they face the Spartans this week.


EAGLES: Crummy 2 passing. Long 1 receiving, 2 rushing. Burford 1 receiving. Seve 1 rushing.
CHIEFS: Henshaw INT return TD.


Bowl bound

Hogs 22-15 Spartans


Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Spartans 0 7 8 0 15 Loss
Hogs 0 14 0 8 22 Win

The Hogs have beaten the Spartans twice this season, each contest by a single point, would we be treated to another tight physical contest? Indeed!

The Hogs welcomed back Plamondon after he missed the previous contest, although Berrington would miss due to injury as did Spartans playmaker Ottens.

The Hog offence continued their recent form, Plamondon scoring twice in the 2nd quarter. The second score damaging, as the Spartans had just tied the game, the Hogs answering with a one play drive, Welbourn hitting Plamondon for the quick strike TD.

The Spartans took the lead in the 3rd Webb connecting with Reichstein before converting for two, taking a 15-14 lead into the fourth. Interestingly the Spartans have led all three contests in the 4th but have not been able to close.

The Hogs continued to consistently move the ball but stalled in the redzone. Making 4 second half trips into the redzone, netting zero points (turnover on downs, fumble and missed FG). The Spartans making a terrific goal line stand to keep the game close.

Ultimately the rushing attack of Valles and the Hogs multiple receiving threats overcame the Spartans, with Olsson scoring late to secure the win.

The Hogs have now secured a bowl berth but will look to clean up offensively, after allowing the Spartans to stay close. The Spartans now look toward the prelim and fighting for a bowl rematch.

HOGS: Welbourn 3 passing. Plamondon 2 receiving. Olsson 1 receiving.
SPARTANS: Webb 2 passing. Volar 1 receiving. Reichstein 1 receiving.


No offence

Oilers 20-0 Chiefs


Team 1 2 3 4 Outcome
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 Loss
Oilers 6 8 0 6 Win

The Oilers need to continue to win if they hope to catch the Eagles, and win big, as scoreboard differential is becoming an issue as both teams now have identical records.

The Chiefs offensive woes continue, 20 points in their last 3 games combined. Today would be no different as Benjamin struggled to mount a consistent attack, with an obviously undermanned side.

The Oilers defence bailed out their offence (as they continued to turn the ball over). Defence and special teams combining to score all 20 Oilers points.

The Oilers now face the Hogs and Spartans and will need to find a way to generate points if they hope to be playing football mid-December. The Chiefs look to 2019, needing more players and a consistent attack.

OILERS:  Schibani punt return. Hays pick 6. O’Connor pick 6.


Flying finish

Eagles 16 v 12 Oilers


Team 1 2 3 4 T Outcome
Eagles 3 0 6 7 16 Win
Oilers 0 6 6 0 12 Loss

The Eagles and Oilers are locked in a race to the finals, both fighting for the chance to face the Spartans in the prelim. Both QB’s have struggled with turnovers this season, often giving the opposition favorable field position. Would one of these teams be able to take advantage of a turnover and seal the win (as the combined offences managed to turn the ball over 8 times)?

In a game that was difficult to watch, both sides continued to trade turnovers, with neither side being able to consistently advance the football.

The Oilers did manage to apply scoreboard pressure, but multiple fumbles deep in their own territory being their undoing, as the Eagles scored late in the 4th to secure the win. The Oilers likely needing to win out in order to overtake the Eagles and secure 3rd place and a finals berth.

EAGLES: Crummey 1 passing. Long 1 rushing. Burford 1 receiving.
OILERS: Tedmanson 2 passing. Laffin 2 receiving.