Junior Grand Final Match Report: Panthers vs Eagles
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Orthopaedics SA Under-18s Match Report
South Adelaide vs Eagles
Grand Final - Adelaide Oval - 15/09/19
Goals: Sladojevic, McCreery 2, Ryan, Kraemer, Draper, Horne, Clifton
Best: Horne, Copley, McCreery, Draper, Douglass
A costly first half sees the Panthers fall to a heartbreaking 23-point loss in this years U18 Grand Final at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Despite kicking the first two goals of the match; South Adelaide could not manage to hold on to the momentum as the Eagles booted eight first half goals to set up the 12.11 (83) to 9.6 (60) loss.
After halftime, the Panthers did manage to outscore the Eagles, however, it wasn't enough for the Panthers to overcome the Eagles.
The signs looked good early; with Benjamin Ryan (six disposals and three inside 50s) kicking truly after just a minute of play.
Then just two minutes later; Max Clifton (nine disposals and three tackles) followed up to give the Panthers a strong double-digit lead.
The Eagles would kick their first goal at the fifth minute mark; and this would be the last goal kicked for both sides until the Eagles followed up again midway through the quarter.
Not to be outdone; Arlo Draper (14 disposals and three tackles) steadied the side with a goal late in the first.
Captain Aaron Douglass takes a strong mark. Image: Nick Hook Photography
But it was not enough; as the Eagles booted three goals in just four minutes to head into the first break with a 5.2 (32) to 3.1 (19) lead over the Panthers.
This small run of momentum to finish the first quarter would prove to be the deciding factor; as it put the Panthers on the back foot early and meant they would spend the rest of the game playing catch-up.
The second quarter saw the game become more of a struggle, but the Eagles managed to kick the first goal of the quarter after ten minutes of play.
The Panthers had to battle against immense pressure; with the Eagles collecting 75 tackles to the Panthers 50.
Beau McCeery (14 disposals and five tackles) kicked the Panthers first of the second as South looked to get back in the game.
Unfortunately, it was short lived as the Eagles would once again kick back to back goals to finish the quarter and send the Panthers into the main break facing an 8.6 (54) to 4.2 (26) deficit.
Coming out after the main break; it was McCeery who tried to spur on a Panther comeback with his second goal of the game.
Then Jason Horne followed up with his first goal of the match. Horne would go on to finish the match with a strong display which included 17 disposals, seven tackles and seven clearances.
But the Panthers weren't finished there; as Nicholas Kraemer (13 disposals and seven clearances) booted his first goal of the match just two minutes later.
Meanwhile, in what was two impressive displays for the Panthers; Talon Copley was busy gathering 15 disposals, four marks and five rebound 50s while Zac Dumesny was also busy collecting 21 disposals, five marks and three clearances.
However, South Adelaide would once again allow the Eagles to break free in the dying stages; as once again the Eagles booted back to back goals to end the quarter and send South into the final change facing a 10.9 (69) to 7.5 (47) deficit.
Daniel Sladojevic (nine disposals and four contested marks) booted his first of the match to start the final quarter but once again the Eagles responded with back to back goals.
Despite losing the inside 50s 36 to 47; the Panthers did manage to win the rebound 50s 35 to 26. While the evenly matched teams saw them, both tie the contested marks (15 to 15) and clearances (37 to 37).
Sladojevic did respond with his second goal of the game but it was too little too late for the Panthers as the siren sounded to end the Panthers nine game winning streak in the final game of the year.
Nonetheless, despite finishing runners-up; it does show the great young talent and depth at the Panthers disposal and a positive sign for the years ahead at South Adelaide.
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