A game-breaking six-goal haul from Abe Davis proved pivotal in Sturt’s much-needed 21-point win against Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
Hosting the Crows at the home of SA football for the first time, the Double Blues had their strongly-built forward target assert his influence on the contest with four goals in the first half.
The former Panther stretched his team’s advantage out to 25 points with his fifth in the third term before symbolically slamming through his sixth to seal the deal 24 minutes into the fourth term after the ball fell over the back of the pack.
With Sturt captain James Battersby reveling in the incredibly wet conditions, the Blues not only responded to their two concerning losses to the Eagles and North but drew level with the Crows on six wins and three losses.
Battersby led from the front in the centre square with 26 disposals, 10 tackles and 10 clearances while Casey Voss (22 disposals, one goal), Steven Slimming (21 disposals) and Patrick Wilson (19 disposals, eight tackles, seven clearances) provided plenty of drive as the rain teamed down regularly.
Sturt goalsneak Josh Hone kicked a contender for 7News Adelaide Goal of the Week with a left-footer from the boundary while Heath Wingard impressed in his SANFL debut with 15 disposals and three clearances.
Adelaide defenders Billy Frampton (26 disposals) and Josh Worrell (22 disposals) saw plenty of the ball in trying to defend Sturt’s 55 inside 50m entries.
Hard-running Crows utilities Chayce Jones (2o disposals) and Brayden Cook (19 disposals and a classy dribbler goal) were other positives while Harry Schoenberg worked hard for 18 disposals and 10 tackles after playing a portion of the AFL game earlier in the day.
North Adelaide scrapped its way to an unflattering 11-point win against Norwood at a muddy Prospect Oval.
Finding themselves down by 20 points when Redlegs forward Connor McLean goaled 10 minutes into the second term, the Roosters suddenly led by a goal at half-time after booting the next four goals in succession.
Trailing by a point at at three-quarter time, Jacob Surjan’s troops ensured they would retain top spot on the ladder by booting two goals – to Lachlan Grubb and Keenan Ramsey – inside the opening 10 minutes of the fourth term.
In contrast, Norwood managed just two behinds in the final thirty minutes as North’s Nigel Lockyer kicked the final score – a behind – for the game in the 16th minute.
Lockyer’s behind came after he snared an incredible pack mark in the conditions, soaring so high he was forced to take the ball on his chest than high above his head in his hands.
Roosters Campbell Combe (22 disposals, 10 tackles, six clearances, one goal) and Aaron Young (27 disposals, seven clearances) were instrumental in the victory while Ramsey booted three vital goals on a day not suited for key forwards.
Dyson Hilder chimed in with two goals for North and was able to return to the field despite appearing to have his day ended due to injury while defenders Cameron Craig and Jake Patmore – 18 diposals each – were important contributors.
Norwood had nine more clearances than North as Redlegs ruckman Harry Boyd got things moving in the centre square with an astonishing 51 hit outs and five clearances.
Livewire Norwood midfielder Mitch Cotter thrived on the conditions to collect 20 disposals along with defender Mitch Wilkins, while Nik Rokahr had 19 and eight clearances.
Redlegs captain Matt Nunn and unheralded Josh Richards tallied 17 disposals each and a goal as their side missed an opportunity to edge closer to the top five.
Glenelg hung on desperately for a nail-biting five-point win against a brave West Adelaide unit at ACH Group Stadium.
Rocked mid-week by the loss of star pair Brett Turner (Adelaide) and Sam Durdin (Carlton) during the week, the Tigers appeared set for a comfortable victory when they opened up a 39-point lead seven minutes into the second term.
But the Bloods, seeking to honour captain Tom Keough in his 150th game, kicked four goals in succession during time-on before the main change, not only trimming the margin to 11 points but giving themselves great belief.
Trailing by this same margin at the final change, Brad Gotch’s charges appeared set to snap their 20-game losing streak when they got within a point on the back of Kaiden Brand’s behind in the 13th minute of the final quarter.
Glenelg hit back with goals to classy left-footers Matt Allen and Luke Reynolds, pushing the lead back out to 13 points before former Tiger Callum Park let fly from long range to bring the Bloods within seven points in the 23rd minute.
Allen then brought the ball back in from deep in the back pocket, enterprising youngster Hugh Stagg gathered the ball on the outer wing before gaining valuable territory with an eye-catching run.
Stagg then handballed to Coles Value Player Luke Partington, who fed it to Tiger debutant Kyle Crompton, who goaled along the ground approaching the 25th minute.
West refused to lay down though, with Connor Fairlie kicking a lovely set shot from the boundary after an errant Darcy Bailey kick-in.
Suddenly the Bloods were within a goal before a rushed behind gave them hope of a remarkable win only to have the final siren sound as Bailey got a hand to a long inside 50m entry close to their goal.
Partington was outstanding with 36 disposals, eight clearances and a goal while Matthew Snook also loved the muddy conditions with 27 disposals and six clearances.
Bailey (24 disposals) and Billy Stretch (23 disposals) were constructive with their possessions while Brady Searle and Cole Gerloff showed they are ready to take the next step in the centre square with 20 disposals and a goal each.
West, which laid an amazing 99 tackles to indicate its desperation, had Patrick Fairlie finish with a team-high 30 disposals and 10 tackles while Kaiden Brand was tremendous in defence with 22 disposals and seven marks.
Former Tiger Jackson Edwards was determined to cause an upset with 19 disposals and a nice snap shot goal while veteran Hamish Hartlett (17 disposals) continually gained valuable territory with his kicks while also laying a game-high 15 tackles.
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