Hostplus SANFL League Snapshot – 1st Semi-FInal

Sturt's Tom Lewis (right) and Joel Thiele celebrate a goal in the First Semi-Final win against Central. Picture - David Mariuz

Compiled by Zac Milbank

Central’s Jez McLennan gets his kick away ahead of Sturt’s Jared Dakin. Picture – David Mariuz

Sturt’s top-three status was enhanced by a sensational fourth-quarter blitz as it ran over the top of Central District by 32 points in the Hostplus SANFL League First Semi-Final at Adelaide Oval.

Leading by just four points at three quarter-time, the Double Blues out their foot on the accelerator when it mattered most by slamming on the opening five goals of the last stanza.

Making a major statement in the absence of suspended defender Will Coomblas and injured trio Pat Wilson (knee), Amos Doyle (knee) and Guy Page (hamstring), Marty Mattner’s men charged into the Preliminary Final with significant momentum.

In contrast to their lacklustre finish in the Qualifying Final, the Blues’ weight of strong contributors proved too much for the Dogs as they were unable to prevent the dam wall from bursting in the 200th League match of club great Justin Hoskin.

Sturt’s midfield depth was a factor as it won the clearance battle 43 to 33 as prolific trio Tom Lewis, James Battersby and Jared Dakin racked up 21 between them.

Between them, they also collected 61 disposals while on the flip side, Central had as many as 15 players with 10 disposals or less for the match as too much was left for Harry Grant (24 disposals, five clearances) to do inside the centre square.

Sturt’s Joel Thiele fires out his handball ahead of Central’s Luca Whitelum. Picture – David Mariuz

Mattner’s move of Connor McFadyen from half-back to the attacking 50m arc has been a masterstroke as the former Brisbane Lion was again influential with 4.4, including three in the final term flurry.

Classy Sturt goalsneak James Mathews was also prominent during the defining period as he bombed a lovely goal on the run from 50m before gifting McFadyen his third with a nice handball over the top just two minutes later.

Fos Williams Medallist Casey Voss racked up 25 disposals off half-back for Sturt while Marty Frederick worked his way into the game after half-time to finish with 19 disposals and seven marks on his wing.

Hoskin, who was fittingly chaired off after the final siren, was one of his side’s best with 18 disposals off half-back, including a team-lifting goal on the run 10 minutes into the third quarter.

Central’s Jez McLennan had 23 disposals and six marks but ultimately his side didn’t have enough providing support throughout the entertaining contest.

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