• Ellis Gelios

Surging Eagles have Tigers in their sights

The Eagles clinched the 2020 SANFL Premiership in the competition’s 141st season last year and will be hoping to carve out a similar path to retain their flag when they lock horns with the Glenelg Tigers tomorrow night at Adelaide Oval.

Despite Glenelg being first past the post and clinching the minor premiership six weeks ago, the Eagles are in pole position to prevail from the encounter as the Bays have been unable to benefit from idyllic conditions in relation to the side’s preparations for the primetime Saturday night clash.

Brett Hand’s team has only seen involvement in four competitive matches in the past two months as a result of the break in fixtures due to South Australia’s Covid lockdown.

Not only does this fixture embody an epic narrative – that being the past two SANFL Premiership winners butting heads in a cutthroat encounter; it will also be a case of the league’s best attack against the best defence in the competition.

No other team has been anywhere near as efficient in front of goal as the Tigers this season, while the Eagles’ watertight backline has served the Premiers well throughout the regular season.

Former Adelaide Crows gun Riley Knight was one of the most lucrative off-season captures for Woodville-West Torrens and has undoubtedly proven his worth for coach Jade Sheedy.

Knight has demonstrated his ability as a tremendous ball carrier in midfield but has also offered himself up as an option inside 50 for the Eagles.

The 55-gamer for the Adelaide Crows shocked SANFL observers when he decided to return to his junior club as opposed to turning out for North Adelaide earlier this year.

Another player to look out for from the Eagles camp ahead of tomorrow night’s battle is 25-year-old superstar Jack Hayes.

Hayes was named as the West End State Captain back in May of this year and is widely considered as one of the biggest names in the competition.

It's likely Hayes will be deployed in the Eagles’ attack in Saturday night’s crunch affair, though the league leader for contested marks can fill any role that Sheedy requires.

Hayes is also a representative of the Brinkworth Spalding Redhill Football Club in the North Eastern Football League, where his family name lives large at the Mid-North based club.

Family members Cooper Hayes, Daniel Hayes and Luke Hayes are also on the club’s playing roster.

While the Bays’ dominance throughout the minor rounds of the SANFL this season cannot be disputed, the fact the Eagles are gunning for a second straight flag coupled with a severe shortage of competitive action for Glenelg in the lead-up to the clash point to a possible Eagles victory.