Spencer Gulf League: South Augusta defeat Central Augusta

FOOTBALL: Billy-Joe Russell lines up for goal in South's 43-point win over Central. Russell was among the best players, kicking three goals. PHOTO: Judith Barnett.

FOOTBALL: Billy-Joe Russell lines up for goal in South's 43-point win over Central. Russell was among the best players, kicking three goals. PHOTO: Judith Barnett.

SOUTH Augusta has all but cemented a top-two finish with their eighth win of the season, but it wasn’t without strong resistance from rivals Central Augusta.

The Bloods refused to go away and remained within reach, but South were just too good overall and ran away with a 43-point victory.

For only the second time this season, the lights were on at Central Oval for the second match of the double header following West Augusta’s loss to PropRisdon Lions.

Adding to the spectacle, the Bulldogs were donning a special Indigenous guernsey for the first time in Spencer Gulf Football League (SGL) history.

Four changes to South’s line-up saw them without Tom Hamilton, Jason Lukich, Kyle Aitken and Simon Brusnahan, but they regained Aziel Stuart, Josh Ackland, Liam Bury and Gary Warren.

Central on the other hand made seven changes, and with big outs including Matt Harvey, Josh Berry, Brad Taylor and captain Mark Fuller, the Bloods were fairly undermanned.

Things started well for South, kicking six opening quarter goals, but there were worrying signs when SGL leading goalkicker Brendon Colson was carried off with an ankle injury.

Thankfully the gun forward returned to the field and went on to kick a bag of six goals, taking his season tally to an impressive 48 goals in 12 matches.

The Bloods weren’t going to die wondering and their endeavour couldn’t be faulted, trailing by just 21 at the half. Elijah Edwards continues to impress and was being rewarded for his effort by hitting the scoreboard. He went on to kick five goals and kept the Bloods’ hopes alive.

South stepped it up after half time, but so did the Bloods. Aziel Stuart and Billy-Joe Russell were both outstanding for South and broke away with lightning speed on multiple occasions to create scoring opportunities.

Stuart and Russell combined for a tally of four goals to help South break away to a five-goal lead at three quarter time.

Although the effort remained constant, Central was unable to catch the awesome South side who capped off a brilliant night with a strong win.

There was a lot required of Clayton Crabbe in the ruck with Mark Fuller not playing and he did a sensational job against the ever-dominant Matt Downey.

Mark French was very impressive for Cental in his debut game as a late inclusion, while Nicholas Callary and Lucas Hill also performed well.

Meanwhile, many of South’s Aboriginal players, including Billy-Joe Russell, Aziel Stuart, Kahran McKenzie and Gary Warren, put in outstanding performances in the 43-point win, proudly wearing the historic Indigenous guernseys.

The guernsey initiative was well received by SGL fans, who hope to see the league’s other clubs follow in South’s footsteps.