Round 4 Hostplus SANFL Snapshot – Saturday

Sturt's James Richards celebrates a goal in his team's three-point win against Central. Picture - Carly Grant

Compiled by Zac Milbank

Central’s Mani Liddy celebrates kicking the first goal of the game against his old club. Picture – Carly Grant

Sturt’s unbeaten run to start the Hostplus SANFL League season has continued after winning a see-sawing contest against Central District by three points at Wigan Oval.

Still the only side not to taste defeat in 2023, the Double Blues outlasted the brave Bulldogs in an intriguing encounter which featured as many as five lead changes in the fourth quarter.

Trailing for the majority of the match, Marty Mattner’s men showed plenty of resilience considering they didn’t hit the front until star recruit Marty Frederick showed exactly why they chased him with a moment of brilliance three minutes into the last term.

Frederick, who finished with 16 disposals and five tackles, burst through at half-forward before finishing nicely on the run from a challenging angle.

The Dogs, who led by as much as 22 points approaching time-on of the second stanza, then hit back with tall forward Dale Pearce converting his clever mark nearly 10 minutes in.

But Sturt’s Lachie Burrows put the hosts back in front nearing the 13th minute before former Double Blues Hugo Munn loomed as the hero when his set shot gave the visitors a three-point advantage in the 17th minute.

Dual Sturt premiership forward Josh Hone would have the last laugh though as he swooped on an inside 50m entry from team-mate Pat Wilson to bounce through what would prove to be the match-winner two minutes shy of time-on.

Sturt’s Josh Hone put his side in front 18 minutes into the last quarter, with what proved to be the winning goal. Picture – Carly Grant

In a low-possession contest, Sturt won most of the major stat categories, notably the inside 50s 46 to 32, clearances 42 to 32 and tackles 84 to 70.

Double Blues midfielders James Battersby (28 disposals, eight tackles, seven clearances) and Tom Lewis (25 disposals, 15 tackles, 14 clearances) were outstanding in the centre square while Casey Voss had 23 disposals and five tackles.

Wilson also had an influence on the outcome from his 14 disposals by kicking two goals and laying 11 tackles.

Central’s clean half-back Jez McLennan tallied a team-high 23 disposals and a goal while Dogs midfielders Harry Grant and Kyle Presbury racked up 16 possessions each.

It was a positive step for Presbury, who was playing his first match for the year after overcoming a knee injury suffered during pre-season.

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