League Match Report: Strong second half launches Panthers past Bloods
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League Match Report
South Adelaide vs West Adelaide
Round 6 - Flinders University Stadium - 04/05/19
Goals: Davis 4, Overall, Karpany 2, Fitt, Rose, Emery, Cross, Heaslip
Best: Knoll, Heaslip, Karpany, Cross, Davis, Kappler
Injuries: Irra (quad), Haren (ankle)
A second half surge lifted South Adelaide over West Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday afteroon.
Well beaten in the first half, the Panthers lifted significantly after halftime to record a 15.11 (101) to 10.9 (69) victory.
Down by 11 at the major break, South levelled the scores by the final change and stormed home to kick six of the last seven goals to secure the win.
The win sees South return to the winner's list after two draws and a loss over the previous three and maintain their position in the top five.
Michael Knoll was outstanding around the stoppages in arguably his best game of the young season.
The big man from Box Hill gathered 15 touches, clunked six marks and got his hand to 47 hit outs in an impressive display.
South were also well served by Ben Heaslip (23 disposals, eight clearances and a goal), who was one of few Panthers who could hold his head high at halftime, and Malcolm Karpany, who looked dangerous with each of 15 possessions and slotted two goals.
Abe Davis was also important to the turnaround, booting four game-changing second half goals.
That said, it was the Bloods that started the brighter of the two teams, controlling the contest from the onset.
Within six minutes, West had booted three goals, while the Panthers had barely gotten their hands on the ball.
Adding to the frustration, excitement machine Emmanuel Irra's day came to an end within the opening minutes thanks to a quad injury and Ben Haren was also helped from the field in the first quarter with an ankle complaint.
Things look precariously placed before Karpany and Sam Overall pulled back a pair for the hosts.
However, South missed a pair of gettable goals and West added another in stoppage time to push the difference back to 10 at quarter time.
Alex Cailotto drew first blood in the second quarter, but West continued to have the answers, with Jono Beeche's second for the term giving his side a three-goal buffer deep into the term.
Heaslip continued to battle physically through the middle of the ground, while Jaidan Kappler (13 touches and six marks) scrapped and scragged for the Panthers backline in his return to the League side.
Skipper Joel Cross was able to capitalise on a West Adelaide mistake coming out of defence and pull one back deep into stoppage time and cut the lead to 11.
However, it was a first half to forget, with West controlling the lion's share of possession and the Panthers effort leaving much to be desired.
To their credit, the Panthers emerged from the rooms a different side.
Some structural changes, such as Davis' move to the forward lines, and a renewed desire to hunt the ball proved the catalyst for a significant turnaround.
Heaslip atoned for his poor set shot in the opening term by launching home a long-range effort towards the southern end, before Liam Fitt pounced on a loose ball inside 50 to add his first for the afternoon.
In the blink of an eye the scores were level again.
Minutes later Davis slotted his first of four to give South their first lead of the match.
West fought back through Hugh Haysman and the dangerous Beeche, but when Davis nailed his second in stoppage time, nothing could separate the sides as they turned for home.
The final term belonged to the hosts, as West seemingly ran out of puff.
South slotted the first four goals of the quarter to establish a 25-point buffer midway through the term, before Will Snelling could finally pull one back for the visitors.
However, two more majors from Karpany and Tom Whittlesea would put the final touches on a remarkable comeback.
This weekend there is a competition-wide bye, as the SANFL State Team do battle with the WAFL at Optus Stadium, with several Panthers in contention for selection. You can catch all the action with a South Adelaide Digital Pass.
South are next in action from 2:10pm on Saturday, May 18 against North Adelaide at Prospect Oval.
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