U18 Match Report: Semi Final v Central District
Our Under-18's go straight through to the Big Dance!
South Adelaide Under-18 V Central District Under-18
Semi Final - Flinders University Stadium - 02/09/2023
Goals: Delean 3, Draper, Howes, Wheaton 2, Shadforth
Disposals: Wheaton 26, Hargrave 25, Pearsons 18, Draper 15, Sterzl 14
Best: Wheaton, Schroder, Delean, Hargrave, Barrett
Finals had arrived for the Under-18's over the weekend as they faced Central District for a chance in the Grand Final.
In great conditions at Flinders University Stadium the boys laced up for their most important game of Season 2023 so far.
The first term started, with high pressure as neither side could break through early.
Out the middle the Boys were looking fierce with Taylor Goad and Tom Schirmer setting the tone for the midfield with his efficient ruck-craft, ending the game with 19 hitouts.
Central District would kick the first goal of the game, but this only sparked a fire in the Panthers.
Tom Wheaton got the Panthers on the board after a spectacular mark. Controlling a high ball with one hand, Wheaton shook off his defender and adjusted to snap around his body from 40-metres out; it was all class and an indicator of what was to come.
The skills were up and the Panthers were doing really well to stop all of the attempts made by the opposition.
Noah Howes would take a great grab 35-metres out on a tight angle. Going through his set-shot routine and lining it up the kick from 40-metres was perfect, sailing right through the middle and putting the Panthers in the lead.
Momentum was up and the Boys were thriving, it would end up forward once again and Jack Delean would read a pack with precision, turn on the jets, swat away a defender and kick a snap from 35-metres out.
The Panthers took at 13-point lead into the first break.
It was Delean who kicked the first goal of the second quarter. The mark was strong and the kick was pure from 30-metres out.
The back-six were impactful throughout the match, led by Captain Nick Schroder, the defensive line made it difficult for Central District to enter their forward half with ease.
Sid Draper kicked two in a row in swift succession. The first coming while on the move from 35-metres out, following up this effort with a siege forward, turning on the jets, taking a bounce and slotting the open goal.
This lifted the spirits in the group and Howes would slot his second shortly after this, his patented set-shot from 35-metres out was grand.
Headed into the second half with a lead of 16-points the Panthers looked confident.
The scoring would slow up in the second half as the point of emphasis turned towards shutting down the opposition by any means necessary.
Wheaton would continue his form in the third quarter as his second came from a kick while on the move from 40-metres out, he was impressive and finished with a game high 26-disposals.
The second and final goal of the term would come from Clay Shadforth shortly after the prior score. Taking a great contested mark, playing on quickly by stiff arming a defender, running towards goal and unleashing from 45-metres out.
Kicking a goal became tough for the Panthers as a flurry of minor scores would follow; limiting what could have been an absolute blow out.
The quarter ended with Central Districts kicking two major scores and closing the deficit to 22-points.
After giving it their all for three quarters of football combined with unfamiliar heat starting to take effect, the Panthers slowed down.
The only major of the term would come from Delean 2 minutes into the term registering his third goal of the day.
A late charge by the Dogs wasn't enough to get them over the line.
The pressure throughout the game was unrelenting from the Panthers with a team tackle count of 62, with Dakota Sterzl accounting for 8 of those. Wheaton and Pheonix Hargrave continued their impressive form with 26 and 25 disposals respectively.
The Panthers Under-18's are now headed straight through to the Grand Final at Adelaide Oval, with those details to be confirmed.