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Sturt too strong for SANFL Crows

Max Phillips  July 1, 2017 6:52 PM

Adelaide - SANFL R1 v Sturt 2017

Jordan Gallucci in action for the SANFL Crows

An understrength Adelaide has suffered its heaviest loss to Sturt in Club history after being overpowered by the reigning SANFL premiers by 52 points at Unley on Saturday afternoon.

Adelaide was forced to make seven changes to its side after last week’s convincing win over Central District and the young SANFL Crows were put to the sword by the in-form Double Blues, who notched their seventh-straight victory in the 10.7 (67) to 17.17 (119) result.

Defender Kyle Cheney was withdrawn from the side after reporting hamstring soreness during the week at training while Scott Thompson served as the Club’s travelling AFL emergency and did not feature at SANFL level, robbing Ryan O'Keefe's side of much-needed strength and leadership.

Despite missing a host of experienced players, the SANFL Crows challenged the in-form Double Blues in a competitive opening term.

Troy Menzel set the tone with an impressive running goal for Adelaide's opening major of the match while first-year players Myles Poholke, Matthew Signorello and Jordan Gallucci followed suit with several exciting passages through the middle of the ground.

Signorello stepping up

Key forward Tom Pinyon, playing just his second SANFL game from the Club’s development squad, was the early beneficiary with three goals in the first term alone helping Adelaide to a five-point lead at quarter-time.

The Double Blues responded in the second stanza, controlling play in their forward half with 21 inside 50ms to Adelaide’s eight.

The visitors’ only score of the term came after a courageous intercept from debutant Daniel Fry, who set up Elliott Himmelberg inside 50m.

Fry and Willunga onballer Braden Altus became the 10th and 11th players to make their League debut from Adelaide’s SANFL development squad this season.

Pinyon’s fourth brought it back to just a two-goal game early in the third term before Sturt skipped clear with three majors in the final five minutes of the quarter.

Andy Otten, who rotated between the forward line and in the ruck, kicked two goals against the flow in the final term as Sturt peppered the scoreboard with seven goals from 13 scoring shots to run away with the result.

Sturt grew stronger the longer the game wore on and the young SANFL Crows simply had no answer.

SANFL stats: Round 11 v Sturt

It was the first time this season Adelaide has conceded more than 100 points at SANFL level, leaving the Crows in sixth place on the League ladder after 11 rounds.

Crows SANFL coach O'Keefe said the loss was a good lesson for the Club's younger players.

"It was a real opportunity for our young guys to step up," he said.

"The last 15 minutes blew it (the margin) out a bit. I thought our effort to compete was there for most of the game, but a couple of things we failed to execute. The boys competed hard.

"We got to blood a few guys and give them an opportunity, so they'll be better for it long-term."

Young onballers Poholke (22 disposals, six rebound 50ms) and Signorello (21 disposals, four clearances, one goal) never gave up in an exciting glimpse into Adelaide’s future.

Ruckman Paul Hunter enjoyed more freedom in the absence of injured tall Reilly O’Brien, picking up a season-best 19 possessions and five clearances along with 26 hit-outs.

Tom Doedee battled hard in Adelaide’s under-siege backline with a team-best 23 disposals and a match-high eight rebound 50ms.

Adelaide confronts Port Adelaide in the SANFL Showdown next Saturday afternoon at Alberton Oval.

ADELAIDE   4.3   5.3   6.5   10.7 (67)
STURT        
3.4   7.9   10.11   17.17 (119)

GOALS
Adelaide:
Pinyon 4, Otten 2, Menzel, Himmelberg, Signorello, Brown
Sturt: Sutcliffe 3, Beard 3, M Evans 3, Slimming 2, Wilson 2, Hone, Crocker, Riley, Osborn

BEST
Adelaide:
Poholke, Signorello, Hunter, Pinyon, Doedee, Himmelberg
Sturt: Colquhoun, Riley, Sumner, Slimming, M Evans, Battersby

INJURIES
Adelaide: Cheney (hamstring soreness) withdrawn pre-match
Sturt: Nil