Thirteen players made their club debuts in Adelaide’s SANFL season opener against South Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium on Good Friday, but it was the experienced Panthers who ran away with a 61-point win.

Greater Western Sydney recruit Jackson Hately, No.2 draft pick Riley Thilthorpe and livewire forward Tariek Newchurch all played their first game for the SANFL Crows on Friday.

Fischer McAsey also lined up in his first state league match and had plenty to do in defence as South recorded 62 inside 50m entries to Adelaide’s 39.

Adelaide SANFL coach Michael Godden said McAsey was solid with five marks and 13 disposals, while development squad player Hamish Latchford led the disposal tally with 31 touches.

Hately and captain Matthew Wright both finished with 25 touches, while Newchurch kicked two first half goals and Josh Worrell found 20 disposals in a defensive role.

Godden said it was a good opportunity to expose his young side to a quality opposition which included the likes of Bryce Gibbs, Matthew Broadbent and dual Magarey Medallist Joel Cross.

“To debut 13 guys is incredible,” he said.

“I said to the lads post game this is what it’s all about, the SANFL is a very strong competition and we played one of the better sides today and that allows these guys to learn from the best.

“The challenge when playing a side as good as this is that you just have to make every opportunity count and we didn’t do that today.

“I was pleased that they kept fighting it out, they kept their head high, they kept grinding and kept trying to play the way we want to play so it was a step forward.”

On a perfect afternoon for football former Crow Gibbs won the first possession of the game in his new South Adelaide guernsey, while Newchurch and Darcy Fogarty (14 disposals) were in the action within the first minute to serge Adelaide forward.

With his second disposal Newchurch converted a set shot from 30m out at the Colonnades end to register the Crows first goal of the season.

Adelaide spent the next 10 minutes defending South Adelaide’s repeated inside 50m entries and after two wayward shots on goal, Jake Tarca eventually kicked the Panthers opening major, capitalising on a 25m penalty.

Minutes later the Crows gave away a second 25m penalty which brought former Brisbane forward Sam Skinner into goal scoring range, booting South Adelaide’s second goal.

McAsey looked solid in defence taking two strong intercept marks in the back half in the opening 12 minutes and finished the first quarter with seven disposals, while Hately had six touches at the first break.

With 14 inside 50m entries to the Crows six in the opening 21 minutes of the match, Adelaide defended well to restrict the Panthers to just two goals, but South found three late goals to stretch the quarter time lead to 30 points, 5.6 (36) to 1.0 (6).

The Panthers went forward from the second quarter centre bounce and Hayden Simpson goaled from the pocket to extend the lead to 36 points in the opening 30 seconds.

The Crows enjoyed time in their forward half and Chayce Jones capitalised with a quick snap from a congested situation to kick Adelaide’s second goal.

A minute later Newchurch ran into an open goal to drag the margin back to 24 points. 

The game became a contested battle which suited South midfielders Gibbs (35 disposals) and Cross (28), and the Panthers eventually got the answering goal through Jason Horne at the 16-minute mark.

Late in the term, another Crows debutant Jay Boyle wrenched the ball out of a pack and slammed home a goal from outside 50m, while Latchford had 18 disposals to half time.

In the closing stages of the quarter, the Crows worked the ball along the wing and into the hands of Hately who found Fogarty 40m out.

Fogarty converted and the Crows trailed by 25 points at the main break, 8.9 (57) to 5.2 (32).

The third term was a scrap with just three behinds conceded between the two sides in the opening 20 minutes, but the deadlock was broken by a clever left foot snap from Liam Fitt in the scoreboard pocket to help South to a 32-point margin.

Like the first quarter, South got on a roll as Fitt kicked two more goals to help the Panthers to a 11.12 (78) to 5.3 (33) lead at three-quarter-time.

South again found a goal in the opening two minutes of the final term to take the margin beyond 50 points.

Four minutes into the quarter, Fogarty marked on the wing and booted it inside 50m, allowing Thilthorpe the chance to run and leap at the ball.

He marked over Ben Haren and Joseph Haines and booted his first goal for the SANFL Crows.

South finished the match strong with two more goals.

Adelaide travel to Richmond Oval next Saturday for its Round Two match against West Adelaide.


ADELAIDE                1.0   5.2   5.3   6.5 (41)

SOUTH ADELAIDE   5.6   8.9   11.12   14.18 (102)


GOALS: Newchurch 2, Jones, Fogarty, Boyle, Thilthorpe

BEST: Latchford, Worrell, Fogarty, Wright, McAsey, Borlase