Hostplus League

2023 Hostplus SANFL League First Semi-Final Preview

Sturt's Henry Carey is chased down by Central's Aiden Grace this year. Picture - Carly Grant

Compiled by Zac Milbank

First Semi-Final | Sturt v Central District | 12.15pm | Adelaide Oval | Live & free on Seven and 7plus | SANFL Now | AFL Live App & | 1629 SEN SA & SEN App

What They Said

By The Numbers

Head to Head – Overall
Played – 141
Sturt – 74
Central – 67

Head to Head – Finals
Played – 7
Sturt – 2
Central – 5

At Adelaide Oval
Played – 17
Sturt- 8
Central – 9

Last Finals Meeting
2017 First Semi-Final – Sturt 13.8 (86) d Central 11.13 (79) at Adelaide Oval

Last Three Meetings
Round 16 2023 – Sturt 8.14 (62) d Central 9.4 (58) at X Convenience Oval
Round 4 2023 – Sturt 9.9 (63) d Central 9.6 (60) at Wigan Oval
Round 15 2022 – Sturt 8.8 (56) d Central 6.16 (52) at X Convenience Oval

Key Match-Ups

Tom Lewis (Sturt) v Harry Grant (Central)
Two of the favourites for the Magarey Medal will lock horns in the centre square, with both players coming off strong performances in their opening finals encounter. Lewis boasts a point of difference with his raking left foot while also loving a tackle. Sturt’s No.2 laid nine against Adelaide in the Qualifying Final while also racking up 24 disposals and eight clearances. Grant, winner of the 2023 SANFL Now Player of the Year Award, made a splash in his SANFL finals debut against Port, collecting 22 disposals, six clearances and 10 tackles. Both players have exceptional aerobic capacity which allows them to get to plenty of stoppages so whoever uses the ball best will have the greatest impact.

Henry Carey (Sturt) v Aiden Grace (Central)
With Sturt defender Will Coomblas missing the first semi-final due to suspension, the job of quelling Elimination Final star Aiden Grace could fall to Double Blues premiership backman Henry Carey. Grace was fittingly adjudged as the Coles Value Player after his stunning five-goal performance against the Magpies, which included two eye-catching majors from the south-western pocket of Adelaide Oval. The Bulldogs’ cult hero looms as a genuine difference-maker if he gets early touches, placing great importance on Carey’s role in curbing his influence. Carey will match up well on Grace in terms of size and will look to make him accountable by providing rebound from the back half.

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