League Match Report - Round 10 - South Adelaide vs Sturt
League Match Report
South Adelaide vs Sturt
Round 10 - Peter Motley Oval - 11/06/18
Goals: Kreuger 3, Rankine, Liddle 2, Haines, Cross, Biemans, Fitt
Best: Liddle, Summerton, Brown, Cross, Brooksby, Haines
Injuries: Kreuger (Concussion), Noble (Thigh)
A complete team performance and impressive defensive display saw South Adelaide knock off reigning premiers Sturt at Peter Motley Oval on the Queen's Birthday.
In one of their most impressive performances under Jarrad Wright, South showed they not only had the class and structures to match it with the League's best, but also the grit and discipline to hold strong when challenged.
The Panthers took a 10 point lead into the major break after a strong first half. If anything Wright would have been frustrated his side did not add further scoreboard pressure, such was their dominance at the stoppages and controlling the ball.
South's ball movement was extremely impressive as they showed plenty of clean skills and worked tirelessly to find the holes in Sturt's pressing defence.
This was equally matched with an intense hunger for the contest.
The play of the first half came through young defender Tyson Brown, who burst through the middle of the ground, putting his body on the line for a 50-50 ball and then sent it forward where Matt Rankine selflessly handballed one over the top for Nathan Kreuger to run into an open goal.
However, the Double Blues fought back hard in the third term.
The home side kicked 4.5 to the vistors 2.4, rounding out the quarter with two goals in two minutes to Josh Dodd to give themselves a three-point lead at the final break.
Anthony Biemans quickly regained the advantage for the Panthers with a calm set shot at the bowling green end, before a third goal to high-flying Kreuger was cancelled out by a strong mark and goal to big Jack Osborn to cut South's lead to one point.
However, as they did for most of the day, South had the answer and a smart centering ball from Kreuger set up Rankine to slot his second from a 50m set shot.
With roughly 10 minutes remaining and only eight points in it, the game was well and truly still in the balance.
Enter the familiar Keegan Brooksby, Joel Cross and Nick Liddle combination.
With only minutes remaining, Brooksby pumped the ball from the grandstand centre wing into the Panthers forward line. The pack flew, but it was Cross who won the contested ball and fired out a handball into the hands of the crumbing Liddle who snapped truly from the bowling green pocket.
Tom Harms set up a stressful finish with a goal in the 25th minute, but a goal-saving tackle from Anthony Biemans with 15 seconds remaining secured a memorable win at Unley for the Panthers.
Liddle was ever impressive, adding 31 touches, 16 contested and nine clearances (all game-highs) to his two goals.
Fearless and competitive as always, he led from the front and formed a formidable force with Brooksby (50 hit outs) and Cross (28 possessions and a goal) in the middle of the ground.
Jake Summerton continues to make his case as one of the best recruits this season with another lock down job in defence, ably assisted by Brown.
The pair led an impressive back six performance that held the dangerous duo of Mark Evans and Shane McAdam to just 11 touches and one goal between them. Prior to Round 10 that pairing had combined for 37 goals in the Double Blues attack.
Brown's attack on the footy to set up Kreuger's second goal was one of the plays of the game and really set the tone for South's selfless team performance.
The game of the ever improving Joseph Haines should also not go unmentioned.
The third generation Panther was an instrumental rebounder as the Panthers repelled Sturt's 54 inside 50s, gathering 21 possessions of his own, repelling the ball six times and even sneaking forward for a goal.
South remain in fifth position on the ladder after the win, but have increased their buffer on sixth-placed West Adelaide to two games.
South now look forward to the challenge of the SANFL Crows in their annual White Ribbon Round from 2:10pm this Sunday, June 17.
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