Norton’s haul guides Tigers

Brendan Lines

NURIOOTPA strung together its best performance of the season to knock off heavy favourites Willaston by 30 points in the Barossa, Light & Gawler senior colts football grand final on Saturday.

Tiger Mitch Norton flexed his A-grade experience, gained throughout the season, to boot 10 goals and win the Tobitt Medal for best on ground.

The underdog Tigers got off to the perfect start through early majors to Colby Noack and Norton.

However, it was the defensive hustle of Ethan East that saved the Donnybrooks – he took two contested marks and, eventually, set up a scoring chance for Lachlan McCluskey.

Nuri wasn’t keen on letting Willaston back in the match, as two more majors to Norton set up a 14-point lead at quarter-time.

Willaston coach Grant Hemmerling ordered some assertion out of the Donnybrooks at the break.

“We’re nowhere near our best, it’ll be just too hard to get back in it, we need to clean it up,” he said.

The Tigers continued to dominate, as Beau Shinnick and Oscar Barnett stood up on the big stage with a combined 31 possessions.

The duo pushed forward inside 50 a devastating nine times and found Norton, who kicked five goals for the quarter.

The Donnybrooks went into damage control at half-time, as they trailed by 38 points.

However, the minor premiers still had something left in the tank.

They made every effort count, and converted every forward entry into a goal in the second half.

A flurry of majors to Owen Davis, Harry Green and a second to McCluskey, in seven minutes, closed the deficit to 27 points.

However, Nuri shut the door on the contest through Barnett and Shinnick, in addition to Norton’s 10th goal.

Nuri coach Darren Westlake was jubilant as the Tigers reigned supreme.

“You just want guys to come out and have a fair dinkum crack, if they do that you know you’re in with a chance and that’s what they did,” he said.

“It was just 21 guys doing what they had to do and not deteriorate from that.

“They’ve been playing well for about two months, and to see them hit their targets, they’ve done a great job.”

Nuri’s major ball winners were Barnett (15 possessions), Shinnick (16) and Norton (10 goals).

For Willaston, Ethan East (nine possessions), Jackson Phillips (nine) and Lachlan McCluskey (three goals) were serviceable.