MRS Property Match Report Preliminary Final: vs Glenelg
MRS Property Match Report
South Adelaide vs Glenelg
Preliminary Final - Adelaide Oval - 24/09/21
Goals: Horne-Francis 3, Roberts 2, Schwarz
Best: Horne-Francis, Sampson, Schwarz
The Fairy Tale Ending Stops Short: South Adelaide suffered a 28-point defeat at the hands of Glenelg during Friday night's Preliminary Final at Adelaide Oval.
The Panthers' 2021 season has come to a close after the side struggled to overcome a classy Glenelg outfit, 6.13 (49) to 11.11 (77).
Having come from fifth place, the Panthers had to battle it out as the underdogs during their previous two finals and, facing off against the Minor Premiers, the Preliminary Final was their toughest challenge yet.
The Tigers put the Panthers on the back foot early with 2 unanswered goals within the opening 5 minutes of the match.
Anthony Biemans gave the Panthers their first decent look inside 50 after intercepting a Tigers' pass – but a holding the ball call went unrewarded, allowing the Tigers to quickly rebound.
Midway through the opening term, Magarey Medallist Bryce Gibbs helped South gain another promising look inside 50 and this time Matty Roberts was able to take a strong mark and drill the Panthers' first major of the match.
The Panthers' final promising attack was beaten by the siren, which sent the side into the first break facing a 1.1 (7) to 2.4 (16) deficit.
Roberts got things going during the second term after strolling past the Tigers' defenders, who forgot to play by the whistle, to boot his second of the day.
South Adelaide, who began to chip through Glenelg's numbers and pressure, snatched the lead after an eye-catching Horne-Francis goal.
From kicking to assisting, Hornet then caught a Tiger holding the ball before passing it off to Schwarz, whose thumping goal gave the Panthers a 10-point lead.
However, the Tigers were able to kick 3 answered goals within stoppage time – handing the Panthers a 4.4 (28) to 5.8 (38) deficit at the main break.
Two costly frees during the opening minutes of the third term only saw the deficit grow for the boys in the blue and white – that was until Sam Overall and Fraser Turner linked up at half-forward to help break through the Tigers defence.
This quick-play saw the Panthers attack deep and Horne-Francis was able to sprint past and soccer his second major of the day.
Midway through the third term, Eamon Wilkinson helped keep the pressure up after a desperate chase down tackle at half-forward – but still, the side struggled to find that elusive goal.
Joe Haines and Jake Summerton did their best to keep the dangerous Tiger attack at bay but, after back-to-back interceptions were reversed due to frees, the yellow and black broke through with a late goal.
Facing a 5.6 (36) to 8.10 (58) deficit at the final break, the Panthers desperately attacked during the opening minutes of the fourth term.
However, within the first 9 minutes, the side amassed just 4 behinds – 2 of which struck the post.
Some desperation by Hornet saw him mark with the flight of the ball, and smoothly snap the side's much-needed goal – but the Tigers would ultimately run away with the game with two goals to close the match.
The siren would sound to signal the 6.13 (49) to 11.11 (77) defeat, ending the Panthers' season in the process.
Although not the fairy tale ending that Cross deserved, the Panthers faithful were able to give the number 19 a fitting farewell as he left the ground for the final time.
And the loss, despite hurting, was a tough end to a great run – since most outsiders had ridden the Panthers off after their Round 18 defeat to Port Adelaide, only for the boys to prove that they were not "just making up the numbers".
The late finals run, despite the abrupt ending, certainly made the faithful South Proud.