South Adelaide’s second-term surge proved to be the catalyst for its 42-point Elimination Final win against North Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
Keeping the Roosters goalless in the opening quarter, the Panthers booted five goals in succession – four during time-on – late in the second stanza to set up a 40-point advantage at half-time.
Despite star veteran Matthew Broadbent being a late withdrawal with a hamstring concern, Jarrad Wright’s men extended their season by a week after weathering a heavy third term storm.
North racked up an amazing 23-4 inside 50m entries during the third term which yielded 4.4 but the Roosters still trailed by as much as 24 points at the final change as the rain came tumbling down.
Port Fairy recruit Kaine Mercovich trimmed the deficit to 18 points a minute into the last as North breathed fire into the contest only for South’s Anthony Biemans to dodge around his opponent and snap truly four minutes later.
South pushed the margin back out to 36 with a double goal after Eamon Wilkinson received a set shot immediately after teammate Alex Cailotto converted his set shot from a similar distance of 25m.
It would be enough for South to earn its first finals victory over North in eight starts since 1903, with Bryce Gibbs (29 disposals), Mitch O’Neill (27 disposals) and Hayden Sampson (26 disposals) leading the way on the stats sheet.
Liam Fitt booted four goals for the contest – two featured in the clips below – while Alex Cailotto kicked three goals from his four kicks for the afternoon.
North’s season came to an abrupt end after it comfortably defeated South by 58 points in Round 17 at Noarlunga, losing their next three matches in succession.
It resulted in yesterday’s cut-throat decider being the final SANFL League game for former captain Mitch Clisby and veteran midfielder Tom Schwarz, who were saluted from the field after the final siren.
Losing Aaron Young to a leg injury midway through the third term didn’t help the Roosters as the Combe brothers revelled in the wet conditions to collect 51 disposals between them.
Campbell Combe had 25 disposals while laying 16 tackles (13 in the first half) as Will had 25 possessions, and Harrison Wigg and Jarred Allmond 24 each.
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