SANFL Match Report: Panthers turn up the heat during internal trial
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SANFL Match Report
Internal Trial Game
Flinders University Stadium - 01/03/19
Navy Goals: Davis 2, Brown, Grimley, Irra, Neville, Fitt, Bogle, Milsom
Hoops Goals: Sladojevic 3, Fairlie, Tucker, Haren, Kennedy 2, Hall, Whittlesea, Heaslip, Liddle
Best: Knoll, McKinnon, Heaslip, Sampson, Brown, Liddle, Kennedy, Tucker, Fairlie
South Adelaide's senior men had their first competitive hit out of 2019 with an internal trial match on Friday evening at Flinders University Stadium.
In the end it was the more experienced Hoops team (793 senior games to 414) that came away with bragging rights amongst the playing group.
More excitingly for Panthers fans it was some fresh faces and up-and-coming players that stood out during the proceedings.
Also pleasingly both squads got through the match unscathed despite the sweltering conditions.
The teams played four 26 minute flat quarters, with additional drinks break given at the 13 minute mark of each quarter as the temperature pushed close to 40 degrees during the day.
New recruit Michael Knoll was adjudged best on ground thanks to an eye catching display.
The former Box Hill Hawk was a dominant presence in the air around the ground and showed some positive signs with his ruck craft at the stoppages.
Such was his impression on proceedings he was traded from the Hoops to the Navy team at halftime.
Young on ballers Jesse McKinnon and Ben Heaslip also impressed the coaches with their work through the middle of the ground.
Meanwhile, the elusiveness and speed of Hayden Sampson looks to be a real weapon senior coach Jarrad Wright can deploy across halfback and on the wing this season.
Likewise, speedy Tyson Brown looks fit and ready to build on his strong 2018 that was unfortunately cut short following a scary head clash in the final home and away game against Norwood.
His dashing run down the western wing and goal from right on the paint on the Jimmy Deane grandstand flank opened the scoring for the evening for his Navy squad.
Connor Fairlie, who put on a composed display throughout the match, quickly replied for the Hoops on the end of some swift end-to-end ball movement, before Under-18s graduate James Grimley took a strong pack mark and converted his set shot.
Sampson, the evergreen Nick Liddle, Abe Davis and Joseph Haines found plenty of the ball in the early going, as only four points separated the sides at quarter time.
Another impressive youngster was Darnell Tucker, who showcased his abilities as a small pressure forward with a strong tackle and accurate set shot from the resulting free kick early in the second quarter.
That would trigger a run of six unanswered goals for the Hoops side.
Ben Haren crumbed a high ball and snapped a silky left footed snap at the Southern end, before an impressive chain of play between Fairlie, Knoll and Haren lead to Under-18 Daniel Sladojevic kicking the first of his three goals unmanned in the square.
Finally, Abe Davis pulled one back for the Navy's on the stroke of halftime thanks to a free paid down field.
As the Hoops took a five goal margin into the major break some changes were made to the sides.
Knoll and Haren swapped their hoops for navy strips, with inexperienced talls Cameron McGree and Damon Freitag joining the leading team.
The changes did little to hinder the Hoops progress as Sampson opened the second half with an early goal, quickly followed by another to Tom Whittlesea, while Jayden Hall capitalised on a poor clearing kick to slot his first.
Liam Fitt pegged one back with a tight angled set shot in front of the REDARC Electronics scoreboard, before a strong mark and goal from Brett Kennedy added another to the Navy's tally.
Both teams looked to fatigue in the extreme conditions and with a healthy margin between the two sides much of the heat in the contest began to cool throughout the final quarter.
Liddle and Heaslip found their way onto the scorers list, while young utility Reece Milsom curled home a running shot towards the end of the quarter.
The Panthers senior men get their first look at outside competition this Friday night (6pm, March 8) as they clash with Port Adelaide Magpies at Flinders University Stadium.
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