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SANFL: Finals hopes go south

A fast-finishing South Adelaide has overrun Adelaide to steal victory, and end the Crows' finals aspirations at Hickinbotham Oval on Saturday.

A last-gasp comeback was not enough to get the SANFL Crows over the line, going down to the Panthers by four points.

Coming into the clash Adelaide required the win, along with favourable results and a percentage swing from Central District and Glenelg to remain a chance of sneaking into finals contention.

After an early goal from draftee Ben Davis, the game was played firmly in Adelaide’s half. However, inaccuracy in front of goal hurt the Crows as they failed to capitalise on a surplus of inside 50s in the first half.

An energised Adelaide outfit emerged after the half-time break, kicking six straight goals to skip to a 23-point lead.

In a vintage display, it was Scott Thompson who kicked two goals and added a score assist in the space of three minutes.

It could well have been retiring Thompson’s final game as a Crow, a fact acknowledged by South Adelaide who helped form a guard of honour as he left the ground.

The hard-as-nails midfielder was aptly named best-on-ground, recording 28 disposals and eight clearances to go with his two goals.

Crows champion Scott Thompson leaves the ground on Saturday

With the game on the line, South Adelaide kicked five unanswered goals after three-quarter time to surge to a lead that proved to be insurmountable.

Late goals to Reilly O’Brien, Ben Davis and Troy Menzel closed the gap, but it was too little too late for Adelaide.

“We lost it ourselves. Just letting poor patches, or one mistake spiral into another. That’s probably the story of our season,” Crows SANFL coach Ryan O’Keefe said after the loss.

“We played some pretty good footy. I thought we controlled the game for all bar 10 minutes. They piled on the score in that time and we just couldn’t get it back.”

SANFL stats: Round 18 v South Adelaide

The loss brings to a close O’Keefe’s first season as Adelaide’s SANFL coach, one in which he’s debuted over 20 players throughout the year.

“It’s a lot of guys first year of footy. Now they can only go up. Hopefully they learn a lot from (playing SANFL) and can come back better next year,” O’Keefe said.

“Myles Poholke, Lachlan Murphy, Matt Signorello…. they’re all 18 – 19 these kids. They’ve been playing against men all year and holding their own.

“We’re a side that develops players to play AFL, so I think the progress and improvement from our players this season has been fantastic.”

The improvement was evident through rookie Ben Jarman, who played arguably the best game of his young career.

Jarman had a game-high 29 disposals, six clearances and seven marks in a dominant midfield performance. 

“He was fantastic. He’s matured and is a player that’s improved heaps,” said O’Keefe.  

SOUTH ADELAIDE: 3.2  4.2  7.6  13.8  (86) 
ADELAIDE: 1.4  3.8  9.8  12.10  (82)

South Adelaide: 
Seccull 3, Cross 2, Davis 2, Raitt 2, Moyle, Bass, Heaslip, Schwarz
 Davis 3, Murphy 2, Thompson 2, Hunter, Signorello, Poholke, Menzel, O’Brien

South Adelaide:
 Cross, Liddle, Seccull 
Thompson, Jarman, Doedee, Menzel, Hunter, Wigg, Hampton, Hill, Otten


South Adelaide: N/A
Adelaide: Nil