League Match Report - Round 16 - South Adelaide vs Port Adelaide
League Match Report
South Adelaide vs Port Adelaide
Round 16 - Alberton Oval - 28/07/18
Goals: Fitt 3, Liddle, Szust, Kreuger, Davis, Cross 2, Rankine, Hunter, Brown, Brooksby
Best: Liddle, Brooksby, Fields, Davis, Cross, Whittlesea
South Adelaide claimed their first win at Alberton Oval since 2011 with a comprehensive 74-point win over the Magpies on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers started well and shook off some jitters in front of goals to register a 17.15 (117) to 6.7 (43) win against the old foe - their biggest ever margin of victory at Queen Street, eclipsing a 41-point win recorded in 1939.
The win gives the Panthers room to breath inside the top five. They now hold a three game plus percentage buffer over sixth placed Central District with just three games remaining.
The coming month will be season defining for South, who after the bye play fellow finals contenders Sturt, Eagles and Norwood. Sitting only one game back from third place and the double chance come September, there is plenty up for grabs for Jarrad Wright's men.
A fast start from the visitors kept the Magpies at bay during the first half.
South opened up a 23-point margin at the first break in large part due to some stingy defending as they kept Port to their first scoreless quarter of the season.
It took a while for the Panthers offence to click into gear. It wasn't until their 13th forward 50 entry that they hit the scoreboard with a major score through Nathan Kreuger.
The visitors looked dangerous in attack, with Kreuger providing a strong marking target up front, but were unable to convert their great play into serious damage on the scoreboard.
Skipper Keegan Brooksby put in an immense performance, racking up 21 touches, but more importantly imposing himself on the contest with several courageous marks. None more so than his attempt going back with the flight of the ball in the opening term.
Meanwhile, Nick Liddle (24 touches and two goals) steadily worked his way into the contest, while the outside run and penetrating kick of Tom Fields (28 possessions and seven inside 50s) cut open the Magpies defence on several occasions.
Another bright spot was the performance of debutant Hayden Sampson. The son of South champion Clay collected 17 touches on debut and played a hand in several scoring plays with his eight inside 50s.
The Panthers inaccuracies in front of goals continued in the second term, as they could only muster 1.5 to Port's 3.4 and their lead was cut to two even kicks at the major change.
However, the Panthers regrouped after halftime and systematically took apart their hosts, kicking 13 goals to three to bank and important win and some handy percentage.
The usual suspects did most of the damage after the break.
Joel Cross (19 disposals) slotted two goals in the third term playing a predominantly forward role all afternoon, while Abe Davis' (26 touches, seven clearances and two goals) development as a big-bodied, goal kicking midfielder continues to evolve each week.
The Panthers pressed well throughout the afternoon. While they conceded more possessions to Port, they kept the hosts from enjoying many damaging possessions, often holding them to short kicks in the back half just to retain possession.
More telling though was the split of disposals, with South recording more kicks and marks despite their disadvantage in total possessions, which illustrated the greater efficiency and movement they showcased throughout the game.
South were able to generate 66 inside 50s (to the Magpies 34) despite getting their hands to less of the ball and Port's midfield doing a good job of sharking the ruck work of Brooksby and Alex Aurrichio.
South spread the load around up front with 10 different goal kickers. Youngster Liam Fitt lead the way with three and also played a nice two-way game, as he shifted onto Port skipper Steven Summerton after the break and held him to just seven touches after he'd amassed 20 in the first half.
While he didn't hit the scoreboard, Tom Whittlesea also impressed with his link up play, clunking and game-high 11 marks higher up the ground.
Overall it was a methodical performance from the men in blue and white, which helped steady their finals claims and set up an intriguing final three games.
South enjoy the bye this weekend and are next in action against Sturt on Sunday, August 12 back at Hickinbotham Oval in a game which could very well decide the final place inside the top three.
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