Panthers have one last roll of the dice
By Kym Kelly
Well the strange start to the season 2020 is proving banking early wins, has been more important than ever before. There hasn’t been a lot of major movement within the top four for quite a few weeks now. Two weeks ago looked it may be set. Recent results has seen now that fourth position is up for grabs between three teams, and will come down to who wants it most .
South Adelaide last week had the opportunity to sure up their spot in the four against the then struggling Blues. Until the weekend, they haven’t beaten a team above them on the ladder. But on Saturday they showed the competition they are not done with just yet. Getting the win against the Panthers has left them with a slight chance on playing finals if they can get the job done this week against Norwood. A win to the Blues, would also would be a good result for the Panthers.
Saturday saw the Panthers travel to Unley, and when Nic Schwarz kicked the opening goal in the first minute of the game, you couldn’t help but feel it was going to a long day for Sturt fans. To Sturt’s credit, from then on the first half was a real arm wrestle. With ex power listed Sam Colquhoun and veteran Mark Evans kicking the next two majors, giving the Double Blues the spark they needed. They also game some inspiration other players to step up and keep their season alive. The Blues took control of the game from then on. South really looked lethargic for much of the game and were kept in it, by the efforts of the same too few. Joel Cross, Heaslip, Joey Haines and Matthew Broadbent, were all good again this week. But Sturt’s run and ball movement, was too god for the Panthers who if not for Sturt’s bad kicking would have gone down by a lot mote than 33 points. The Blues had 25 scoring shots to the Panthers a paltry 12.
The Panthers do have quite an injury list which is taking its toll, and the return of a couple this week, Coach Jarrad Wright, will have some decisions to make over the next few days, as to how quickly they get some of the returning injured players, back into the team. This week against West Adelaide, has turned into a must win game for the Panthers, as Norwood is hot on their heels. Luckily for South, Centrals managed to get on top of the Redlegs last week which has kept them out of the four. With Norwood to take on Sturt this week, South will need the win to stay in the race for a finals spot.
West Adelaide will be no easy beats this week, after losing to Glenelg by 74 points. The Bloods will be coming out hard, to try notch up just their second win for the season. Keeping in mind they have had some close losses and only 3 weeks ago went down by one-point to North Adelaide. The last time these two teams met, was round four at Flinders University Oval at Noarlunga. South were 20 point victors but Westies did manage to keep them scoreless in the last quarter, banging 4 goals themselves giving the Panthers a scare. That will be in the back of their minds this week for South. For West Adelaide, it will give coach Gavin Colville something to draw on in this weeks training leading into the game. West will need everyone to fire this week if they are to get the win. I’m sure the players will be well aware of the ladder and South’s precarious position. While the Bloods wont play finals they will have a lot to play for. Sometimes as a player in a team that’s not travelling so well, the knowledge of being able to ruin another teams season by winning, is great motivation in the back half of a season.
South will need to be much better this week to get over the line and it will be interesting to see who responds. The Panthers should be as hungry for the win, as next week they play the Redlegs with possibly the loser to miss out on finals participation. For Westies it’s is a chance to save face from last weeks massive loss. It also gives the opportunity to take a team out of the finals race. The game should be a hard and tough, old fashion hit-out. For me I think the urgency to win and play finals, will be enough for the Panthers to get over the line in a tight tussle.
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