By ZAC MILBANK
It’s a well worn footy cliche that momentum swings can dictate the outcome of a match.
And there was no better example at Flinders University Stadium on Easter Saturday when South Adelaide and Adelaide played out a dramatic draw, the Panthers’ second in as many weeks.
The Crows produced their best football in more than a season when they established what seemed to be a match-winning 49-point lead when RAA Rookie James Mathews kicked his first Statewide Super League goal 23 minutes into the second term.
Heath Younie’s men were irresistible as they ran in waves to boot nine of the first 10 goals of the game as Myles Poholke (30 disposals and four goals) and Pat Wilson (33 disposals) got off the chain through the middle of the ground.
South scraped through to the main change trailing by more than seven goals as they looked to reset in front of the shell-shocked Panther faithful.
Their intent was noticeably different during the third term as they went on an equally damaging rampage to kick 6.6 while keeping the Crows scoreless.
South veterans Joel Cross and Nick Liddle did as they have so many times before, picked up the tempo for their side while finishing the match with 29 disposals each.
Richmond recruit Tyson Stengle put the Crows back out to a seven point break with his set shot snap from the pocket only to have this cancelled out by South’s Emmanuel Irra, who snapped on the run after accepting a raking handball from Malcolm Karpany.
Then the local boy Mathews – from McLaren Football Club – sprang to life by shrugging tackles from Irra and Joe Haines to snap brilliantly on the run at full speed, the goal seemingly giving the Crows enough impetus to win the game.
But then South’s Mark Noble tied up the scores when he nailed his set shot from 30m in front after receiving a free kick for a push in the back.
The play ebbed and flowed for the dying minutes before South forward Tom Whittlesea gained control of the ball at half-forward only to have the final siren sound just two seconds before he kicked a behind on the run from just inside the 50m arc.
”It’s a pretty hollow feeling and to witness and experience it is certainly something different,” South coach Jarrad Wright said after the game on Channel 7.
”It just goes to show you need to play four quarters of footy. We knew there was a minute left and too be honest, I didn’t think it would get back into our forward 50 in time and Whits (Whittlesea) played on but the siren went.”
Adelaide coach Heath Younie was choosing to look at the positives after the pulsating contest, given his side looked incredibly ominous in the opening half.
”It’s a tough pill to swallow but it would be same in the room next door – I would rather walk away from Noarlunga with one (premiership) point than none,” Younie said.
”I said (to the group) I don’t walk away from here thinking about what we did poorly, I focus on what we did well because that first half of footy was some of the best we have played in a long time.”
SOUTH 0.3 2.4 8.10 10.13 (73)
ADELAIDE 6.2 9.5 9.5 11.7 (73)
LEADING DISPOSALS – South: Cross, Liddle 29, Davis, Haren 22, Rose 20, Sampson 17, Irra, Karpany, Summerton 16.
Adelaide: Wilson 33, Poholke 30, Merrett 25, Wright 20, Sholl 19, Latchford 16, Butts, Davis, Hamill 15.
GOALS – South: Noble 3, Karpany 2, Davis, Fitt, Irra, Liddle, Whittlesea.
Adelaide: Poholke 4, Stengle 3, Mathews 2, Fogarty, Hutchesson.
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