North Adelaide clinched its first SANFL premiership since 1991 with a 19-point win over Norwood.Twitter: SANFL
North Adelaide has capped a week of high controversy with a win in the SANFL grand final, beating favourites Norwood by 19 points at Adelaide Oval.
In a ripping finale to the season, the Roosters and the Redlegs put on an entertaining and thrilling grand final with North Adelaide holding off Norwood for their 14th premiership, winning 19.10 (124) to 15.15 (105) in front of a crowd of 40,355.
The Roosters — who finished 2017 with the wooden spoon with only four wins for the season — only made certain of a spot in the 2018 grand final after a SANFL tribunal hearing over the team having 19 men on the field in the fourth quarter of their preliminary final win over the Eagles.
North Adelaide started strongly, booting three goals in the opening eight minutes to fly out to a 17-point lead over the fancied Redlegs.
Norwood steadied, however, and started to create chances. Their conversion was poor, however, while the Roosters kicked five goals straight for the quarter to lead 5.0 (30) to 3.7 (25) at quarter-time.
An early goal to Brady Dawe — following a free kick — gave Norwood the lead for the first time early in the second term.
Keenan Ramsey answered quickly for the Roosters, but the lead see-sawed during the quarter.
Former Adelaide Crow Mitch Grigg began to turn it on for Norwood with two impressive goals, while Boyd Woodcock kicked a brilliant score for North Adelaide from the boundary line.
Two goals deep in time on to Sam McInerney and Alex Barns — the latter a soccer off the ground from 20m out — gave the Roosters an 11-point margin at half-time.
There was an exchange of goals in the early stages of the third term, with Woodcock and Mitch Harvey kicking majors for North, but Anthony Wilson and Grigg — with his third — answered to bring Norwood back to five points down at the 10-minute mark.
Simon Phillips kicked one of the goals of the day near time-on, when he kicked a right-foot checkside on the run for Norwood.
The sides went goal for goal — including a fourth for Grigg and a third for Harvey — but with a quarter to go, it was North Adelaide leading 14.7 (91) to 12.14 (86).
Two early majors to North in the final term put the lead out to 17 points, and although Grigg added two more goals to finish with six for Norwood, the Redlegs never got closer than 12 points as the Roosters claimed the premiership.
Grigg — who won back-to-back Magarey Medals earlier this month — added the 2018 Jack Oatey Medal for best on ground, despite finishing on the losing side.19th man controversy
North Adelaide was fined $10,000 and docked four premiership points for next season last Monday after Michael David QC, sitting as the SANFL tribunal, found the Roosters were "grossly negligent" in having 19 players on the field during the early stages of the fourth quarter of the preliminary final against Woodville-West Torrens.
The extra player was on the oval for about five minutes and during that time, North Adelaide kicked a total of eight points.
The matter was then referred to the SA Football Commission, which in turn referred the decision to the tribunal.
North Adelaide beat Woodville-West Torrens by five points, 15.10 (100) to 14.11 (95).
Photo Norwood captain Jace Bode and North Adelaide skipper Max Thring in Rundle Mall yesterday ahead of the SANFL grand final.ABC News: Sarah Hancock Norwood's dream run-up
The Redlegs beat the Eagles 9.15 (69) to 7.10 (52) on September 9 to get into the grand final.
The team lost just one game during the minor round — against North Adelaide in round four.
In round 18, they beat the Roosters by 15 points.
Norwood last won the premiership in 2012–2014, while North Adelaide's most recent flag was in 1991.
The last two SANFL premierships were won by Sturt.