MRS Property Match Report Round 6: vs Eagles
MRS Property Match Report
South Adelaide vs Eagles
Round 6 - Maughan Thiem Kia Oval - 8/05/21
Goals: Tarca 4, Gibbs, Schwarz 2, Fitt, Horne, O'Neill, Roberts, Rose, Skinner, Wilkinson
Best: O'Neill, Gibbs, Kappler, Broadbent, Tarca, Cailotto
Plenty of grit and determination was on display during South Adelaide's eight-point win over the reigning premiers at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Saturday.
The hotly contested match came down to the wire, but it was the Panthers who managed to break the deadlock during the final term before valiantly defending their lead to claim a hard-fought win, 15.9 (99) to 13.13 (91).
The last time the Panthers defeated the Eagles at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval was during Round 18, 2018. On that day, Victor Harbor product Nathan Krueger kicked three goals to help South get up by a goal. Fast forward to 2021, and it was the Encounter Bay product Jake Tarca who stepped up with four straight goals.
After suffering their first loss of the season the previous week, the Panthers had to face off against the Eagles at Eagles, with the small oval dimensions making it one of the hardest travels in the SANFL.
Yet South Adelaide started out as the livelier one of the two sides, but after several attempts the Panthers could only muster behinds. This was until Bryce Gibbs collected the ball from a throw-in and, with an outside of the boot snap, managed to kick the first of the day.
The home side replied with two quick goals, but the Panthers were able to respond after Mitch O'Neill managed to intercept an Eagles pass at half forward, before kicking truly from beyond the arc.
This was the lift the side needed, as the corresponding clearance saw South clear and hit up Liam Fitt, who celebrated his return from injury with a goal.
Turning back the clock once again was Joel Cross, who caught Stengle holding the ball before hitting up Jason Horne whose beautiful kick soared through for a goal to increase the Panthers lead to double digits.
In the dying stages of the opening term, the Panthers managed to rebound out of defence with blistering pace, and Eamon Wilkinson's dribbling pass across goal to Tarca, allowed him to quickly snap his first of many for the day.
Holding a 5.3 (33) to 2.3 (15) lead at the first break, the Panthers weren't able to build the buffer any further as former Central District pair, Troy Menzel and Dan Menzel, combined for five goals during the second term.
The Panthers found some relief from Matt Rose, whose captain contribution gave the side a much-needed goal midway through the term but the Eagles continued to threaten to break the game open.
A half-volley pass allowed Menzel to go back and drill a goal during the dying stages of the half, which handed the Panthers a 7.4 (46) to 8.6 (54) deficit at halftime.
Yet the side showed plenty of grit and strength after halftime as they begun to grind down the reigning premiers and it all started with a thumping goal from Gibbs.
From here, it was a shootout between the two sides, with Skinner adding his first of the day, but not before the Poole was able to reply for the Eagles.
The Panthers desperately needed a goal to help break the deadlock, and they found their answer in the form of the 17-year-old debutant from Langhorne Creek, Matty Roberts. His quick-thinking snap while being amongst a pack of opponents was a momentum swinger, as Tarca followed up minutes later to hand the Panthers back-to-back goals for the first time since the first term.
While they were potent on the offensive end, the Panthers backline continued to flex their muscle, with Matthew Broadbent along with the 100 gamer Ben Haren, helping to stop the Eagles from replying with a late goal.
After some valiant defending, the 31-minute quarter came to an end handing the Panthers a 12.5 (77) to 11.10 (76) lead at the final break.
A harsh free during the final term allowed the Eagles to take the lead. The Panthers were able to stay composed and not panic, and it paid off as Nic Schwarz kicked a thumping goal to retake the lead for the blue and white.
Showing their endurance, South Adelaide continued to put forward pressure on the Eagles. Then, after juggling the ball, Wilkinson was able to slap it onto his boot for a much-needed goal to give South some breathing space.
Minutes later, Schwarz squandered a shot at goal, but was able to regain possession only seconds later and this time he quickly kicked truly to increase the lead to 15 points.
With fourteen minutes left to play, the Panthers managed to hold the Eagles to just one goal allowing the blue and white to hold on and claim an impressive 15.9 (99) to 13.13 (91) win.
In a game with many contributors, it was hard to pick any standouts, yet O'Neill certainly made himself known with 22 touches and 8 tackles, while Gibbs finished with 21 disposals, 11 tackles and two goals. Broadbent also showed what the Panthers missed last week, as he collected a game-high 28 touches and 7 marks.
The Panthers will enjoy a well-earned weekend off before returning home for the game of the season so far. As South Adelaide will clash with Glenelg on Sunday, 23 May, from 2:10pm.
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