By ZAC MILBANK
An unanswered five-goal blitz from Sturt acted as the catalyst for its 22-point win against South Adelaide at Peter Motley Oval on Sunday.
Trailing by four points at half-time after a tight first half, the Double Blues made their move when Jake Sutcliffe booted one of his three goals just 62 seconds into the third term.
By the time John Greenslade converted his free kick from a 30m set shot, the hosts were suddenly 28 points up nearing time-on of the premiership quarter.
South soon responded with back-to-back goals to veteran Nick Liddle, who produced a near mirror image with his pair of majors less than four minutes apart close to three-quarter time.
Sturt skipper Zane Kirkwood, who was his tireless self in collecting 24 disposals, then produced some trademark class at a stoppage, spinning nicely before snapping from 25m out in front to get his side the first goal of the final term.
Fellow Double Blues midfielder Aidan Riley then produced a similar piece of eye-catching play to put his side 33 points up eight minutes into the last stanza.
The former Crow produced a trademark ”Don’t Argue” before bursting through two opponents to snap truly from 15m.
Nathan Grima’s men stretched the margin out to as much as 45 points after Josh Hone’s goal 16 minutes in before South booted the final four goals of the match to restore some respectability back into the scoreboard.
One of which, was the first Statewide Super League goal for South’s RAA Rookie Brett Kennedy, who wobbled through his set shot from 30m out without any Sturt defenders guarding the goalline.
Aside from Kirkwood, James Battersby (27 disposals) and Danyle Pearce (24 disposals) had an influence while Mark Evans and Riley also broke through the 20-possession barrier while booting two goals each.
Unheralded Sturt wingman Steven Slimming was assigned the job of tagging South Magarey Medallist Joel Cross, keeping the Panthers’ co-captain scoreless and to just 14 disposals.
But Slimming’s performance may come at a cost after being reported in the first term for allegedly striking Cross, an incident which will be assessed by SANFL’s Match Review Panel on Monday.
The flat-looking Panthers were best served by West End State squad members Matthew Rose (30 possessions) and Liddle (24 possessions and two goals) while Abe Davis reverted back to his forward line history to boot two of his three goals late in the contest as a lead-up marking target.
South will now be forced to regroup for Round 6 when it hosts West Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium while Sturt will confront a wounded North Adelaide at Peter Motley Oval next Saturday.
Main Image – Sturt’s Danyle Pearce sends his team forward as South’s Jesse McKinnon attempts to smother. Picture – Matt Sampson (South Adelaide FC)
STURT 2.3 4.5 9.7 14.8 (92)
SOUTH 2.1 5.3 7.4 11.4 (70)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Sturt: Colquhoun 40, Battersby 27, Kirkwood, Pearce 24, M. Evans 23, Riley 20, Crocker, Harms 16.
South: Rose 30, Liddle 24, Brown 17, Davis 15, Cross, Overall 14.
GOALS – Sturt: Sutcliffe 3, M. Evans, Kirkwood, Riley 2, Condon, Fahey-Sparks, Greenslade, J. Hone, Munn.
South: Davis 3, Fitt, Liddle 2, Kennedy, Noble, Overall, Sampson.
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