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SANFL Preview: Crows v Panthers

Jono Beech
Jonathon Beech in action against Central District in last year's Elimination Final

The SANFL Crows hit the road to the coastal town of Encounter Bay for another early test against South Adelaide on Easter Sunday. Both teams were on the winning end of nail-biting contests in the opening round. The Panthers prevailed by three points over West Adelaide at Richmond, while the Crows denied Sturt by two points in another thrilling finish. New South Adelaide coach Garry Hocking has a potent midfield at his disposal, including two-time Magarey Medallist Joel Cross and tough nut Nick Liddle. Adelaide’s on-ball division also started the season strongly in last week’s win, led superbly by Brad Crouch and co-captain Hugh Greenwood. As always, the midfield battle will play a huge part in determining this week’s result, but it will be even more crucial on the wide expanses of Encounter Bay Oval come Sunday afternoon.

South Adelaide:

WHERE AND WHEN: Encounter Bay Oval, Sunday, April 16, 2.10pm ACST

SF, 2016, South Adelaide 13.8 (86) d by Adelaide 22.8 (140) at Adelaide Oval
R22, 2016, South Adelaide 14.16 (100) d Adelaide 9.8 (62) at Hickinbotham Oval
R6, 2016, South Adelaide 14.7 (91) d Adelaide 13.12 (90) at Hickinbotham Oval
R17, 2015, South Adelaide 9.9 (63) d by Adelaide 10.17 (77) at Hickinbotham Oval
R5, 2015, South Adelaide 13.12 (90) d Adelaide 11.10 (76) at Hickinbotham Oval

More Crows SANFL news

The Crows punished the Panthers in last year’s Semi-Final at Adelaide Oval, winning by 54 points – the biggest final margin between the two teams in seven matches.

2. Reigning Crows State League Club Champion Jonathon Beech will play his 150th SANFL game on Sunday. Beech, who also won a best and fairest with West Adelaide in 2014, has played 20 games with the Crows.

3. Brad Crouch didn’t miss a beat in his first game of the year last Sunday. He had 40 possessions – 10 more than the next-best player for the round – and also led the League for contested possessions, hard-ball gets and handballs received in Round One.

4. South Adelaide recruit Abe Davis starred in his SANFL debut for the Panthers in Round One. The former Sydney Swan, who is the older brother of Crows draftee Ben Davis, collected 26 possessions, took nine marks and kicked a goal in South’s win over West.

5. Encounter Bay Oval is the home of Great Southern Football League club the Encounter Bay Eagles. A host of former Crows including Tony Modra, Scott Welsh, Ken McGregor, Kris Massie and Ian Perrie, who claimed the GSFL Mail Medal in 2013, all played for the Eagles after retiring from AFL action.

6. The Panthers are a skillful side who like to retain possession where they can. South topped the SANFL for marks on the lead (14) and ranked second in effective kicks (151) for Round One.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR… Jordan Gallucci
Adelaide’s first-round draft pick Jordan Gallucci has already shown significant improvement since his opening pre-season game for the Club, and the youngster played an important part in Adelaide’s Round One SANFL win over Sturt. The 18-year-old committed himself to a full-body smother to help save the game against the Double Blues in a frenetic finish to the match. The hard-running Crow will be well-suited to the wide wings of Encounter Bay Oval and should find himself with plenty of space to use his silky skills against South on Sunday.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs