League Match Report: Sturt goal blitz stuns Panthers
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League Match Report
South Adelaide @ Sturt
Round 5 - Peter Motley Oval - 28/04/19
Goals: Davis 3, Liddle, Fitt 2, Overall, Noble, Kennedy, Sampson
Best: Rose, Liddle
Injuries: Cross (ankle)
A five-goal Double Blue blitz at the start of the third quarter has condemned South Adelaide to their first defeat of the 2019 season at Unley Oval on Sunday afternoon.
A tight contest through two quarters, South had no answers for Sturt after halftime, as the hosts blasted through five unanswered goals after the restart to hand a 11.4 (70) to 14.8 (92) loss to the Panthers.
Usual ball-winner Joel Cross (15 touches) was paid close attention to by Sturt runner Steven Slimming, which included a charge for striking in the opening minutes, and Abe Davis (three goals) pushed forward for much of the match as South searched to find a scoring avenue.
This left much of the grunt work to co-captain Matt Rose, who battled hard all day for his 30 touches, nine marks and eight rebound 50s on his way to claiming the inaugural Frank Barry Medal for best afield in South's Anzac Round game.
The evergreen Nick Liddle (24 possessions and six clearances) could also hold his head high after competing all day and kicking two crucial goals in the third quarter that kept his side within reach of the lead.
However, it was a dirty day void of too many more winners for the Panthers.
To their credit, Sturt put in a comprehensive performance with a game plan and desire for the ball and contest that restricted South's ability to move freely from stoppage and spread the ball around with much attacking intent.
Former Power defender Sam Colquhoun (40 possessions) found a lion's share of the ball for the home side, while Zane Kirkwood and Aiden Riley each kicked a pair of crucial goals.
That said, the Panthers were first off the mark, as Mark Noble continued to impress in his new forward role, snapping home the first goal of the afternoon with a neat left footer.
Hugo Munn juggled a mark and converted for Sturt's first, before Liam Fitt nailed a long range effort to regain his side's lead.
However, it was the Double Blues who took a four-point lead into the first break after Mark Evans slotted a neat set shot from the boundary late in the quarter.
The second term was equally tight as both sides traded punches on the scoreboard.
Riley and Jake Sutcliffe (three goals) bookended goals for Sturt, either side of a Davis snap.
However, South took a four point lead into the major change thanks to a coolly converted set shot from Liam Fitt (two goals) and a miraculous right-footed checkside from Hayden Sampson - his first SANFL League goal.
After the teams emerged from the rooms, the ascendancy belonged to the Double Blues.
Five unanswered goals in the first 18 minutes of the third term had the Panthers on the back foot and staring down a 28-point hole.
Liddle punched back with two running majors in time on to pull the difference back to 15 as the sides turned for home.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, Sturt blasted out of the gates in the last in similar fashion, kicking five straight goals within 17 minutes.
South drew it back to a more respectable margin by kicking the final four goals of the game, including Brett Kennedy's first League goal, but it was to little avail and the final margin sat at 22 points.
The result sees the Panthers remain in the top five but slide to fourth on the ladder.
Adding to the frustration, Dual Magarey Medallist Cross also suffered a minor ankle injury late in the game. His condition will be assessed during the week.
South are next in action from 1:10pm this Saturday, May 4 against West Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium, preceded by the Reserves (10:30am) and followed by the last game of the Women's minor rounds (3:45pm).