Hostplus SANFL Snapshot – Qualifying Final

Adelaide's Hugh Bond flies high for a pack mark. Picture - Cory Sutton

Compiled by Zac Milbank

Sturt pair Daniel Fahey-Sparks (left) and Lachlan Burrows celebrate a goal. Picture – Cory Sutton

Adelaide has staged a stunning comeback to run over the top of Sturt by seven points in the Hostplus SANFL League Qualifying Final at Adelaide Oval.

Still playing without a recognised ruckman in the absence of Kieran Strachan (wrist), the Crows trailed by as much as 35 points when Sturt ruckman Daniel Fahey-Sparks converted his overhead mark five minutes into the second term.

And the deficit could have been as much as 39 midway through the second stanza when Sturt’s Oliver Grivell marked strongly but kicked a behind.

It would be the Double Blues’ last score for more than a quarter as Michael Godden’s men showed plenty of heart to cut the lead to three points when Crow Brayden Cook curled through his shot from the boundary, 15 minutes into the third.

After controlling the stoppages in the first half, Sturt’s advantage was curbed when first ruck Amos Doyle suffered a knee injury within the same defining period, leaving it one rotation short.

It assisted Adelaide to wear down the Double Blues as it took the lead for the first time 14 minutes into final term when skipper Matt Wright bagged his second major.

Crow Luke Nankervis, arguably his side’s best across the first three terms, was unable to resume after limping off with an ankle concern 22 minutes into the third but that didn’t stop Tariek Newchurch and Riley Clamp from kicking consecutive goals to seal the win 24 minutes into the fourth quarter.

Adelaide’s Brayden Cook takes an intercept mark in defence. Picture – Cory Sutton

Adelaide will now be hopeful Nankervis, who had ice taped to his left ankle after the match, will recover in time to face Glenelg in next Sunday’s Second Semi-Final, as Strachan also pushes for selection.

Despite missing the entire final term, Nankervis finished with 22 disposals and six marks, only to be shaded by teammate Tyler Brown with 24 touches on the Crows’ stats sheet.

Jackson Hately and Patrick Parnell collected 21 disposals each while Brayden Cook was influential with his 18 disposals and two goals for Adelaide.

Crows key defender James Borlase did an admirable job playing out of position in the ruck in Strachan’s absence, finishing with 15 disposals, five clearances, four tackles and 27 hit outs.

Sturt will be sweating on scans for Doyle while veteran defender Guy Page had ice taped to his hamstring after the final siren, placing him in doubt for next Sunday’s First Semi-Final against Central.

Blues captain James Battersby was his usual self around the clearances as he collected 10 to go with 32 disposals and eight marks.

Fellow Sturt midfielders Jared Dakin (27 disposals, one goal) and Tom Lewis (25 disposals, eight clearances, seven tackles) also found plenty of the ball while Casey Voss had 26 disposals and 10 marks off half-back.

Sturt swingman Connor McFadyen loomed as the match-winner early in the contest when he booted two of his three goals in the first half after being named at centre half-back of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.

Double Blues’ tall targets Lachlan Burrows and Daniel Fahey-Sparks booted two goals each.

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