The 1991 SANFL Grand Final was held at Football Park on 5th October at 2:10pm. The game was infamous for the brawl that occurred during the match Steven Sims hit Matthew Simpson which caused a massive fight, because of this the game is also called the "The Bloodbath".
North Adelaide finished 3rd on the ladder 56.54% work rate with 29 points. West Adelaide finished 5th with a 50.78% work rate and 24 points.
Forward : C. Burton M. Parsons D. Hart
Half-forward : B. Atkinson P. Bennett S. Hamilton
Centre : D. Sanders P. Krieg M. Marshall
Half-back : S. Barratt T. Clisby T. Perkins
Back : R. Saunders S. Tasker B. Ryan
Followers : M. Redden K. Klomp S. Sims
Reserves : S. Riley T. Nunan
(Coach : M. Nunan ; Captain : K. Klomp)
Courtesy of nafc.com.au
The Grand Final was played in fine and warm conditions with a slight breeze favouring the Southern end. West won the toss and kicked with the breeze but North, who were playing in their fifth Grand Final in seven seasons, were the first to settle. After a couple of unproductive sorties into attack, a string of handballs resulted in a mark to Hart only 30 metres out, and he kicked truly to open North's account. In a sign of things to come, Hart was hit by Goss as he marked but no penalty was paid - then a fight erupted after the goal was scored. West replied against the run of play soon after to level the scores, but from the centre bounce North ran the ball into attack with clever handball and again Hart made good position to mark and goal. West again levelled the scores, and there followed a torrid few minutes in which first Krieg was felled after taking a mark (unbelievably, no penalty was paid) and then Hamilton was first punched in the head and then taken crudely around the neck. Only the second of these incidents resulted in a free kick, and one can only wonder if the game might have been played differently if stricter penalties were enforced from the outset. North were playing the better football, and eventually Hart posted his third goal and then Hamilton cleverly soccered a goal to give North a handy break. Once more against the run of play West scored 2 goals to draw within a point, but North finished the quarter with Hart scoring his 4th goal.
The second quarter started where the first had finished, with North playing skilful running football and West seemingly intent on physical intimidation. One run out of defence saw Perkins decked after he had kicked into attack, and Burton goaled from the free downfield. Three points followed to North, before Burton kicked a magical goal, gathering the ball in the pocket, turning and threading a goal with his left foot. Shortly after Klomp was hit after he had disposed of the ball, again not gaining a free kick. He retaliated in the next passage of play, and West goaled from the resulting 50 metre penalty. Frustration was running high, and it probably should have come as no surprise when Sims hit Simpson in the side of the head as they contested a ball near the boundary line. Simpson was stretchered from the field, and any hope of the game becoming less physical was gone. North's defence was holding strong and they launched many attacks from defence. Atkinson kicked a long goal from inside the centre square, and from the centre bounce Redden tapped to Atkinson who handballed to Krieg and his long bomb also cleared the defence and bounced through. North's lead was out to 31 points and looking ominous.
West goaled from a dubious free kick and should have goaled again when Modra marked only metres out. However, he played on and completely miskicked, sending the ball out of bounds. North ran the ball beautifully from the back pocket, finishing with a great long goal to Perkins. Another soft free and 50 metre penalty gave West a goal, but a great long goal to Tim Nunan restored North's lead to 30 points at the long break.
The third quarter started in torrid fashion, with Hamilton again smacked in the face and then Sims decked after disposal creating a big melee. West lost focus completely at this stage, allowing Hart to run in an easy goal for North. The umpires were now paying a lot of free kicks, but the game was already out of control. West benefited from a dubious free kick to score their 8th goal, and when they goaled again the margin was only 24 points. North were still running the ball well, and a series of handballs finished with Hart who kicked truly for his 6th goal. Then Clisby gathered the ball at half back and was awarded a free and two 50 metre penalties to enable him to kick a rare goal. West replied, but more ill discipline saw Perkins awarded a 50 metre penalty and his kick went deep into the goalsquare where Hamilton took a great mark running the wrong way. His goal was the last of the quarter, as North kept attacking but added only points.
North dominated from the outset in the last quarter. Great pressure from Marshall forced a defensive error, which enabled him to gather and handball to Hart who brought up his 7th goal. Six consecutive points followed as North attacked incessantly, before Parsons gathered the ball on the boundary line, dummied a handball, dodged around a player and slotted a magical goal. The game had slipped from West's grasp and two more pieces of ill-discipline resulted in a free downfield and Burton converted. Three more points followed before Sanders kicked a lovely long goal. West finally got into the action, but another long goal, this time from Parsons, restored North's advantage. Burton marked just before the siren and duly converted to blow the final margin out to 75 points.
North First - 5.4(34) Second - 11.9(75) Third - 15.12(102) Final - 21.22(148)
West First - 4.2(26) Second - 7.3(45) Third - 10.4(64) Final - 11.7(73)
Goals : Hart 7.1, Burton 4.4, Hamilton 2.3, Parsons 2.2, Atkinson 1.1, Sanders 1.1, Perkins 1.1, Krieg 1.0, Clisby 1.0, Nunan 1.0, Marshall 0.2, Barratt 0.2, Sims 0.1, rushed 0.4
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