League Match Report - Round 18 - South Adelaide vs Woodville-West Torrens
League Match Report
South Adelaide vs Woodville-West Torrens
Round 18 - Maughan Thiem Hyundai Oval - 18/08/18
Goals: Kreuger 3, Brooksby 2, Haines, Cross, Davis, Whittlesea, Rankine, Biemans, Fields
Best: Rose, Haines, Kreuger, Liddle, Davis, Brooksby
South Adelaide have secured their place in the 2018 SANFL Finals Series after a gutsy six-point Retro Round win over Woodville-West Torrens at Maughan Thiem Hyundai Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers had to hold off charges from both the West Torrens Eagles and Woodville Warriors, but held strong to claim a hard-fought 12.7 (79) to 11.7 (73) victory.
The win moves South Adelaide into fourth on the ladder and locks in their place in the Finals as the top five is now settled heading into September.
Jarrad Wright's men are now destined for an Elimination Final date with North Adelaide at Adelaide Oval in a fortnight, with neither side capable of moving higher than fourth or lower than fifth through the final minor round of games next weekend.
The Panthers booked their place in September on the back of an intense battle with the Eagles, where pressure and precision from the visitors helped secure the points.
South built their advantage in the second term, kicking an accurate 4.1 while holding their hosts scoreless to build a 26-point buffer at the major break.
Meanwhile, the Panthers showed plenty of resolve after the main break as Woodville closed within a goal in both terms.
Matt Rose was a welcome return to the League side, playing his first game since breaking his collarbone against the same opponents way back in Round 8.
Playing his trademark role running out of defence, the Panthers vice captain didn't miss a beat on his way to 28 touches and a team-high eight marks.
Equally important across half back was the game of Joseph Haines (23 touches and a goal), who's 10 rebound 50s were key to repelling many dangerous Eagles charges forward.
The hosts actually held the advantage in several key indicators, as they won the clearances (31 - 27) and inside 50 (51 - 46) battles.
However, the Panthers +15 advantage in the tackle count gives a good insight into how the match was won.
The pressure South put on around the ground, and particularly in their own forward half, forced the Eagles to over-possess the ball at times and caused several key turnovers.
Young forward Nathan Kreuger was excellent with both his forward pressure and chasing, as well as hitting the scoreboard with a game-high three goals.
He presented well all day and his long range effort in the final term helped steady the ship and secure the win.
The work of Nick Liddle (team-high 30 touches and seven tackles) and Abe Davis (20 disposals, one goal and team-high seven clearances) should also not be overlooked.
Their grit and determination through the centre of the ground helped set the tone for their teammates as they went toe-to-toe with the Eagles star studded on ball brigade.
Co-captain Keegan Brooksby was also influential floating between the ruck and forward, kicking two key goals and competing in the air all afternoon.
Both sides started fiercely. South kicked the first through the returning Anthony Biemans, but majors to Matthew Goldsworthy and Jack Hayes quickly regained the lead for the hosts.
However, it would be their only lead of the game and one short lived as Panthers skippers Brooksby and Joel Cross banked two goals in two minutes to restore their advantage.
That said, Woodville-West Torrens closed the quarter with two goals and South's lead was just one heading into the first break.
The second term belonged to the visitors, as Kreuger kicked his first for the afternoon just two minutes after the restart.
A trio of long range efforts continued to build the Panthers lead. Haines leaked forward to bang one home one the run, while powerful efforts from Davis and Tom Fields made it a 26-point lead for their team at halftime.
After wearing West Torrens Eagles guernseys in the first half, the Woodville Warriors emerged from the rooms after the break and they indeed looked a different side as they kicked the first four goals of the term to close within one point.
However, late goals to Kreuger and Brooksby pushed the lead back to three kicks.
The teams traded blows in the final quarter, as Matt Rankine chased down a loose ball in the square to cancel out Tom Gray's opener for the hosts, while Scott Lewis and Kreuger traded shots from beyond the painted line.
Goldsworthy made things interesting, closing the gap to six points deep into stoppage time.
However, the Panthers held firm in the dying stages to claim an important win and their return to Finals action.
While the first round of Finals matches might be locked in, South now focus their attention on a tough test against minor premiers Norwood this Sunday.
Get down to Hickinbotham Oval on Sunday, August 26 (Reserves 11:30am, League 2:10pm) to support the boys in blue and white as they look to close the season with a big scalp.
The 'Boot Full of Beer' competition is back again this weekend. Park inside the ground for your chance to win!
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