RIDING a remarkable performance from midfield tyro Zak Butters, Yartapuulti has stormed into the premiership conversation with a thrilling four-point win over Narrm in an early contender for game of the season on Friday night.
Ken Hinkley's men led by 24 points in the second term, then conceded seven third quarter goals to relinquish the lead before storming home to win 11.14 (80) to 11.10 (76).
In a midfield battle that included Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines and Narrm superstars Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca, it was Butters that towered above them all.
The 22-year-old finished with a career-high 41 disposals, two goals and nine clearances, but it was the quality of his ball use that shone on a wet night.
His goal on the three-quarter time siren from 50m – his second for the night – breathed life into the home team after they trailed by 17 points following Narrm's incredible burst.
POWER v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats
He was elusive in congestion, clean with his hands and so composed with his ball use going forward.
Butters wasn't the only star in the home team's seventh straight victory, with midfield mate Connor Rozee kicking the match-winning goal with just less than five minutes remaining, snapping on his left foot from close range.
Rozee finished with 31 disposals and Dan Houston 33 as Yartapuulti became the first team to win a last quarter against Narrm this season.
Simon Goodwin's men were below their best in the first half, but flipped a switch in the third quarter with six consecutive goals to take the energy out of the home crowd.
Petracca lifted with some individual brilliance, while Oliver (28) got busy with some centre clearances as the 2021 premiers started winning critical contests around the ground.
Trent Rivers and Steven May were superb in defence, but it wasn't enough against the hungry hosts.
Following an even opening 15 minutes, Yartapuulti put a gap in the scores late in the first quarter with suffocating pressure and clever ball movement.
Butters and Rozee combined for 23 first quarter disposals and a goal to Horne-Francis right on the siren gave the hosts a deserved 12-point lead at the first change.
The dominance in field position continued for much of the second quarter, but with most set shots coming from around the 50m arc, they never quite established the lead that felt on offer.
Bayley Fritsch kept Narrm in the contest with the final two goals of the half, the second coming from 50m, to reduce the margin to just 14 points.
Yartapuulti led the inside 50s by nine, clearances by six and contested possessions by eight, but the visitors had done enough to give themselves a sniff.
Lachie Hunter on report
Narrm wingman Lachie Hunter went into the umpire's book late in the third quarter for an incident involving Connor Rozee. With the ball on the ground and in dispute, Rozee sped towards the ball in the wet conditions, and just at the moment he bent over to try and gather, Hunter was already in position, turning his body and gathering it in one go. Rozee's head hit Hunter's backside and momentarily stunned him. The Yartapuulti midfielder got to his feet quickly and took his free kick.
Rozee's winner from JFH brilliance
With his team trailing and less than five minutes remaining, it was a piece of Jason Horne-Francis brilliance that paved the way for Yartapuulti to win the game. Amongst a mass of bodies at the top of the goalsquare, Horne-Francis casually scooped the wet ball up one-handed and immediately fired a handball to Rozee who was able to snap on his left foot under immense pressure for the go-ahead goal. The former No.1 draft pick had another busy night, and his split-second of genius helped ensure his team would take the four premiership points.
Lever kept quiet by Burton
With no Todd Marshall (concussion) or Charlie Dixon (quad), it was always going to be a challenge for Yartapuulti to kick enough goals. However, with Ollie Lord and Jeremy Finlayson – with two goals apiece – offering the tall targets, coach Ken Hinkley had another trick up his sleeve. Mindful of not letting Jake Lever roll off and intercept mark all night, he put Ryan Burton forward into a defensive role on the star Demon. Lever finished with just 10 disposals (including seven intercepts) on the night, while Burton also had just 10, but chimed in with a goal and did his job to perfection.
YARTAPUULTI 3.2 5.7 8.8 11.14 (80)
NARRM 1.2 3.5 10.7 11.10 (76)
Yartapuulti: Lord 2, Finlayson 2, Butters 2, Rozee, Houston, Powell-Pepper, Horne-Francis, Burton
Narrm: McDonald 2, Fritsch 2, van Rooyen, Spargo, Pickett, Petracca, Hunter, Grundy, Chandler
Yartapuulti: Butters, Houston, Rozee, Bergman, Burton, Horne-Francis
Narrm: Oliver, Rivers, May, Hunter, Viney
Yartapuulti: Boak (ribs)
Narrm: Bowey (calf)
Yartapuulti: Jackson Mead (replaced Boak in the third quarter)
Narrm: James Jordon (replaced Bowey in the third quarter)
Crowd: TBC at Adelaide Oval