Panthers lock in finals berth and now look at taking down the Roosters
By Kym Kelly

Undoubtedly the South Adelaide faithful will be full of excitement this week as the Panthers lock in a finals appearance with the 74 point win over the Redlegs last week. I’m sure I was not the only one who though this was going to be a real test to see exactly where South are at. Even though it has been an injury ridden season for the Panthers, their form has been both promising at times as well as disappointing on occasions, and felt last week against Norwood was second to none that they have played all year. A loss would have put South in a position of a must win game this week verses North and the win seals a finals berth. Not only did they win but the game would’ve opened the eyes of top of the table Eagles and North. That would have instilled some fear coming into the last minor round that the Panthers are far from done this year.

Apart from kicking the first goal of the game in the first 30 seconds Norwood really weren’t even in the game. South took control of the first quarter kicking 4 majors to 3 for Norwood. The second quarter was all South kicking 6 points before straightening up to end the half with 3 more goals while keeping the Redlegs scoreless. The last half was much the same with South booting 10 goals to 3 and really dominating all over the ground. The Panthers top seven again were in great form Joe Haines gathering another 29 disposals this week. Joel Cross continues to dominate his role as a resting small forward with yet another 3 goals to his name this year. Heaslip, Broadbent, Sampson, and Paul Hunter all standing out. Norwood were far from their best with South dominating all areas of the game and outside Richard Douglass, Mitch Grigg and Nikolaus Rokahr, the Redlegs were disappointing. They’d now have some choices to make, on some aging players for next year.

This week against North will be a look into the finals as they may well be playing each other again first week of major round. The Roosters continue their good form beating Sturt last week being in control all day with a good spread of goal kickers. They will be looking for the same this week down at Noarlunga. North had a great spread of ball winners, Coombe Allmond, Elliot Chalmers and Harrison Wigg, will all again be looking to make the most of the large space at Flinders University Stadium this week. Good one on one battles all over the ground this week with both midfields in good form. Goal kicking forwards and great half back lines for both teams is the recipe for a fast high scoring game. South will face the problem of bringing players back in from injury this time of year with some familiar names all putting their hands up for selection before finals. Or do they trust the side that has been getting the job done the past few weeks? North probably have a more settled list with Andrew Moore the biggest name out at the moment with a hamstring. I’m sure he will miss this week, and hoping to get himself right for finals as his experience will be much needed in October.

The last time these two team met was back in round 6, which saw the Roosters get up by 8 points in a tight tussle at Prospect. That week saw Andrew Moore kick 3 and pick up 25 disposals, so he will be sorely missed. For South Adelaide, Sam Overall kicked 2 and Thomas Highmore gained 26 touches. In my view, the key to South’s success was Joe Haines, who took 8 marks across half back.

The Panthers were with out big man Paul Hunter that game and he will be a key to giving the on ballers first use. I feel Sammy O is on the verge of a bag of goals. He took 5 marks last week, and if he can convert this week will be hard to stop. Joel Cross is still causing the opposition headaches up forward. Another 2 or 3 goals from him this week, will see the Panthers get up in a close game at Noarlunga.

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