Seniors Report: Round Seven - South Adelaide vs Norwood
South Adelaide vs Norwood
Round Seven - Hickinbotham Oval - 07/05/16
Goals: Eddy, Barnes 3, Hitchcock, Overall 2, Cross, Haren, Liddle, Rankine, Veide
Best: Cross, Schwarz, Seccull, Rose, Crabb, Barnes
South Adelaide have made it six wins in a row to start 2016 and sit atop the SANFL IGA after recording a 23 point win against Norwood on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers equalled their best start to a season since 1965 and celebrated skipper, Brad Crabb's 150th game for the Club in style as a dominant first three quarters proved too much for a valiant Redlegs comeback in the fourth.
Hotly contested at the stoppages throughout the match, it was the slick ball movement that has become the signature of Brad Gotch's charges in 2016 and some steadying hands in the final term that saw Norwood undone.
Joel Cross was at his brilliant best, amassing 33 possessions, nine clearances and a goal in a best afield display. More importantly, as Norwood found some ascendancy in the final term, kicking the first four goals of the quarter, it was Cross who consistently won the ball from the stoppages and surged South into attack for a pair of steadying goals from Brett Eddy and Ben Haren.
The Panthers looked to be Norwood's match through the first three quarters and took a 34 point lead into the final change. However, perhaps inspired by an all-in melee with erupted midway though the third quarter, the Redlegs came storming out of the gates in the fourth and piled on four unanswered goals in the first five minutes, cutting South's advantage to just 10.
Thankfully for South, the experienced heads of Cross, 150-gamer Crabb and Matt Rose showed their composure and stepped up with the game in the balance to help steer the Panthers towards a sixth consecutive victory.
Brett Eddy continued to shine in front of goals, adding three more majors to his already league-leading tally, which now sits at 25. As was Encounter Bay livewire, Rigby Barnes his with 19 touches, nine tackles and three goals.
Meanwhile, in the middle of the ground, Nic Schwarz (19 touches and nine tackles) and Brede Seccull (21 and 10) competed fiercely in the Panthers engine room all day and were key contributors to the winning cause.
On an otherwise joyous occasion, the win was somewhat soured for South as long-kicking defender, Tom Fields suffered a severe concussion, which rendered him unconscious for several minutes, in the third quarter and took no further part in the match.
Fields spent the night in hospital, but thankfully scans found no damage to his neck or spine and he is expected to make a full recovery.
South Adelaide now take on Sturt at Peter Motley Oval on Saturday 14 May from 2:10pm.
South Adelaide vs Norwood
Round Seven - Hickinbotham Oval - 07/0516
Goals: Trembath 4, Need, Newell 2, Szust, P. Kerin, Giddings, Steffe, O'Shaughnessy
Best: Newell, Gotch, O'Shaughnessy, Nichols
South Adelaide's Reserves fell agonisingly short of a fourth consecutive win after falling four points short of an undefeated Norwood outfit on Saturday afternoon.
South enjoyed a comfortable lead for most of the match. However, the Redlegs rode the momentum home in the final quarter, kicking three goals to one and erasing South's two goal advantage and chance at an upset victory.
Pleasingly for Adam Blakely's men (and senior coach Brad Gotch), there were again many strong performers in a losing effort and and competition for spots in the League side remains extremely high.
West Adelaide recruit, Richard Newell has been in sparkling form in the twos since coming to Noarlunga in the offseason and was again at his hard-running best in a best on ground performance on Saturday, which included two goals.
Newell found himself named on an extended bench prior to round seven and it wouldn't surprise many to see him in the mix at the selection table again this week.
In other good news, Xavier Gotch successfully navigated his return to the field after a month on the sidelines with a niggling hamstring complaint and immediately found himself amongst the best. Like Newell, it would not shock many to see Gotch in the mix for a return to the league side again soon.
Meanwhile, young key defender Scott O'Shaughnessy was also impressive across the backlines, while tough midfielder Hayden Nichols continued his growth since moving into the middle of the ground late last year. Josh Trembath was once again a force to be reckoned with in attach, kicking four goals to extend his lead atop the Reserves goalkicking.
The Panthers Reserves next face Sturt at Peter Motley Oval on Saturday 14 May from 11:25am.
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