Seniors Report: Round 18 - South Adelaide vs Adelaide
Beaks In Front: South held on for a four-point win over the Crows, 2016 Knuckey Cup winner Brede Seccull booted three goals. Image: Nick Hook Photography
South Adelaide vs Adelaide
Round 18 - Hickinbotham Oval - 26/08/17
Goals: Seccull 3, Cross, Davis, Raitt 2, Bass, Schwarz, Heaslip, Moyle
Best: Cross, Liddle, Seccull, J. Taylor, Bass, Davis
South Adelaide enjoyed a bittersweet win in the final game of the minor round, knocking off Adelaide in a nail-biting four-point finish, but failing to qualify for the Finals.
The Panthers needed a win over an AFL-powered Adelaide side to give themselves a chance at extending their season and put their best foot forward riding a six-goal surge to start the final term to register a 13.8 (86) to 12.10 (82) victory.
However, South entered Round 18 in seventh position on the ladder and needed a pair of other results to fall in their favour to jump to fifth.
Fifth-placed Glenelg played their part, stumbling to cellar dwellers West. However, top-of-the-table Eagles refused to play ball and fell to Central District at home and allowed the Bulldogs to snatch a Finals berth on percentage.
Before the game both sides stood proudly behind a banner to take the White Ribbon oath against domestic violence. South Adelaide has been proudly partnered with White Ribbon since 2013 and in 2017 the White Ribbon logo has had pride of place on the Panthers guernseys.
On the field, fast starts have not been the Panthers forte in 2017. In Round 18 this seemed to again be the case as Adelaide's Ben Davis goalled for the away side within 60 seconds.
However, South steadily worked their way back into the contest and a goal from the elder Davis, Ben's older brother Abe, had the Panthers on the board minutes later.
An impressive finish on the run from Joel Cross and a coolly slotted set shot from Nic Schwarz in his 50th game sent South into the first change with a 10-point lead.
The second quarter belonged to the opposition and both sides headed into the long break tied at 26 apiece. If not for some wayward kicking Adelaide may have pushed out to a handy lead.
After announcing his retirement come the end of the season and without a SANFL Finals position secured and the AFL line up fairly settled there was a chance that the game with the Panthers may be the last time Adelaide legend Scott Thompson represented the Crows on the field.
Come the third quarter, Thompson's 308 games of AFL experience began to shine through.
To open the term Thompson roved a high ball on the 50m line and snapped home a miraculous goal from the boundary line in front of the Jimmy Deane's Grandstand.
Moments later he won a centre clearance that lead to a second Ben Davis goal, before hammering home his own second major from one step outside 50.
In the blink of an eye Adelaide had seized control of the play around stoppage and were making their dominance felt on the scoreboard.
However, the Panthers did not roll over.
Goals to Brede Seccull and Matt Raitt balanced out a pair from Crows Development Player Lachlan Murphy.
Soon after Alex "Regg" Moyle crashed a pack, whirled, twirled and snapped home a memorable first SANFL goal, but a late goal deep into stoppage time to AFL-listed big man Paul Hunter stretched Adelaide's advantage back to 14 at the final change.
Fortunately, the Panthers shot out of the blocks in the final term, kicking six unanswered goals to break open the contest.
To their credit, the Crows fought back with three late goals of their own.
However, it would be too little too late as South held on for a memorable four-point victory.
Triple Knuckey Cup winner Joel Cross made another claim for his fourth Charlie putting on an impressive show against the Crows. It wasn't as statistically as impressive as some of his other performances throughout the year (20 touches and two goals), but each possession was lethally effective in willing his team over the line.
Not to be outdone, Nick Liddle also put another foot forward towards a fourth Best & Fairest gong, racking up a team-high 23 touches and five tackles, while joint 2016 winner Brede Seccull was another game breaker with his three goals from 15 possessions.
The Panthers backline stood up all day, with Jordan Taylor and Joseph Haines marshalling the airways and cutting off numerous forward ventures from the Crows, while at the other end of the ground Abe Davis continued to improve at South's primary forward, kicking two goals and crashing packs all afternoon to take 10 marks.
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