League Match Report: Panthers send off two greats in fitting fashion
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South Adelaide vs Adelaide Reserves
Round 18 - Flinders University Stadium - 24/08/19
Goals: Overall 3, Davis, Fitt 2, Cross, Wilkinson, Whittlesea, Sampson, Heaslip
Best: Liddle, Crabb, Haines, Overall, Cross, Davis
Injuries: Haren (Concussion)
South Adelaide farewell two club greats with a seven-point victory over the AFL laden Adelaide on an emotional day at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday.
In a season that saw the Panthers suffer draws, close losses and the loss of key players to the AFL; the victory was the way best possible send off for the 200 plus gamer Bradley Crabb, and the five-time Knuckey Cup winner Nick Liddle.
Despite narrowly missing out on a finals spot; the scenes after the game were of celebration and emotion as the two were chaired off Flinders University Stadium in front of proud supporters and family.
With familiar faces watching; it was the Panthers who scored first with Sam Overall (14 disposals and four contested marks) kicking truly after three minutes of play.
Overall then followed up late in the quarter with his second goal to send the Panthers into the first break with a 4.3 (27) to 2.1 (13) lead.
Unlike the previous wet and wild round; Crabb and Liddle's farewell game was played in more favourable conditions.
Coming out after the first break; South Adelaide's leading goalkicker Joel Cross (24 disposals and five clearances) continued his string of impressive performances with a goal coming after just 58 seconds of play.
Just five minutes later, Hayden Sampson (14 disposals and four inside 50s) followed suit with his first goal of the match.
However, Adelaide were able to take control and the lead as they booted four unanswered goals midway through the quarter.
Luckily for the home side, Thomas Whittlesea (seven marks and five tackles) was able to steady the Panthers with a very late goal.
Heading into the main break with the narrowest of margins; 7.3 (45) to 7.2 (44), the Panthers had plenty of work to do to ensure the win.
Continuing his breakout year was Joe Haines who collected 31 disposals, 12 marks and four rebound 50s while going up against quality AFL opposition.
Overall continued his run; kicking his third goal to start the third quarter. Meanwhile, Co-Captain Matt Rose was also busy around the ground; finishing with 27 disposals, 11 tackles and five clearances.
Local product Ben Heaslip (19 disposals and three clearances) also continued his impressive season with a goal mid-way through the quarter.
With the Panthers holding Adelaide to just one goal for the quarter; an impressive clearance and goal by Abe Davis (24 disposals, nine marks and five tackles) saw South enter the final break with a 10.7 (67) to 8.4 (52) lead.
However, the quarter wasn't without setbacks; with Ben Haren suffering a bad concussion which forced him to be stretched from the game.
Coming out with one quarter left to play alongside two of South Adelaide's biggest cult heroes; it was Davis who struck first with a goal at the seventh minute mark.
Unfortunately, three costly free kicks resulted in three goals for Adelaide in just five minutes to cut the Panthers lead to single digits.
Luckily, the Panthers were able to steady through Fitt who kicked his second of the game at the twentieth minute mark.
Fitting send off: Brad Crabb and Nick Liddle leave Flinders University Stadium for the last time. Image Nick Hook Photography
Adelaide did respond with a goal, but it was too little too late, as the siren went to give the Panthers a win in their final game for the 2019 season.
Donning the blue and white for the last time, Nick Liddle finished his final game with 31 disposals, six marks and four tackles to be rightfully named best on ground for the Panthers.
Likewise, the king of KI finished with ten disposals and two marks against a quality AFL opponent; a staple of Crabb's tendency to take on and beat guys that are twice his size.
Despite other results not going South Adelaide's way, meant missing out on the finals by just one win; the season saw plenty of highs including numerous debutants, big wins and being the only team in the SANFL that didn't lose to the minor premiers.
Likewise, South Adelaide's third straight victory was a fitting send off for two club greats in front of adoring fans and family at Flinders University Stadium.
And here's to a hopefully bigger and better 2020 season for the boys in the blue and white.
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