Adelaide’s SANFL side fought its way back to defeat South Adelaide by five points in a nailbiter at Noarlunga Oval.

After trailing for the majority of the game, the Crows kicked ahead late to win 13.18 (96) to 14.7 (91) on Friday afternoon.

Here are the five key takeaways from the match.

Adelaide flip script in second half

Adelaide comfortably won the clearance battle (22-10) and recorded more inside-50s in the first half but could not capitalise on its opportunities, to trail by 26 points at the main break.

The Crows came out hungry after half-time, controlling the momentum of the game and that was highlighted by the visitors recording 36 inside-50s, while allowing just 11 to South.

That coincided with Adelaide having 19 scoring shots compared to just eight for the Panthers.

While dominant, it took until the final three minutes of the game before Adelaide made those chances count and grabbed the lead for the first time, eventually holding on for the victory.

Crows SANFL Assistant Matt Wright, who stepped in as the senior coach for Mick Godden against the Panthers, said his side showed resilience to fightback. 

“To South’s credit they came out swinging, they were outstanding in the first half,” SANFL Assistant Coach Matthew Wright said.

“It was frustrating that we put ourselves in that position but I guess the silver lining was that we weren’t far off the entire game

“We ultimately just wanted to tidy up our fundamentals and that kept us in the game.”

Dowling’s Day

Midfielder Billy Dowling showcased his ability to play on both the inside and outside against the Panthers and was one of Adelaide’s standouts.

Dowling led the way in the Crows engine room, amassing plenty of the ball, and helped launch Adelaide forward from stoppages.

He also booted a goal from outside 50 to ice the game in the final few minutes.

“Physically he has matured a lot and he looks like a man now running around out there, which is a credit to the work he has put in,” Wright said.

“His ability to come in and execute our game plan, he was one of a few that did it for four quarters.”

Dowling finished with a game-high 32 disposals, seven clearances and nine inside 50s.

Defenders show leadership

Rebounding defenders Luke Nankervis and Patrick Parnell both had impressive outings, with their ability to rebound out of defence.

For Wright, the pair's leadership stood out, with Nankervis and Parnell helping the other young defenders with structure and game plan.

“They were fantastic, but in terms of their leadership first and foremost they were massive,” Wright said.

“There ability to defend, they had some very crucial one-on-ones, but their springboard off halfback was huge.”

Nankervis finished with 25 disposals and 10 marks, while Parnell had 20 touches and nine marks.

Murray fires up forward

Recruit Toby Murray, brother of AFL defender Nick, made his impact felt when the ball entered Adelaide’s forward 50, taking big marks and hitting the scoreboard.

Murray proved to be the Crows’ main avenue to goal, was clean both above the head and below his knees, to finish with a game-high four majors.

“To his credit he has been so close to that game probably over the last three trials games that he has played,” Wright said.

“He has been doing a mountain of work on his craft, so it was nice to see him take a few clunks today.”

Murray also had 13 touches, six marks and five hit outs.

Crows debutants impress

Adelaide had nine players make Club SANFL debuts in the clash against South Adelaide and all impressed Wright.

Across all three lines, Adelaide featured fresh faces and they played an important part to help the side to a strong come-from-behind victory.

“We do a lot of work with the development boys, trying to involve them as much as we can,” Wright said.

“To have so many new faces come in and be able to put forward performances like that was pleasing.”

The debuts included 2023 draftees, Dan Curtin, Charlie Edwards and Oscar Ryan, along with Irish recruit Karl Gallagher and SANFL Development Players Dylan Whimpress, Tyler Welsh, Jay O’Leary, Darcy Clifford and Toby Murray.

Adelaide’s SANFL side will not play next weekend, with a League-Wide bye to the AFL's Gather Round.

The Club's next SANFL game will be against Central District at Elizabeth Oval on Saturday April 13, at 2:30pm.


ADELAIDE: 1.5  4.8  9.13  13.18  (96)

SOUTH: 4.4  9.4  11.5  14.7  (91)


Adelaide: T.Murray 4, Smithson, Gollant 2, Bond, Edwards, Gallagher, O’Leary, Dowling.

South: Howes, Freitag 3, Arundell, Fitt, Wilkinson 2, Collins, Bradley.

Strachan, Dowling, Nankervis, Bond, Boyle, Parnell, T.Murray.