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Magpies down Panthers, stay top of SANFL ladder

SIX goals between speedster Jake Neade and big forward John Butcher has helped Port Adelaide record its sixth consecutive win and remain fixed atop of the SANFL ladder following a 60-point win against South Adelaide at Alberton Oval on Saturday.

Despite falling victim to its second quarter lull, the Magpies turned up the heat in the third term, scoring seven goals to two to set up the victory.

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The match proved to be a defensive battle between the league's top-two sides, as fans watched to see which side could pressure the other into mistakes and run the ball out into the attacking 50.

Port Adelaide got off to the perfect start, displaying the true Port Adelaide hard running and tackling, defence-first game style.

The home side was able to break through the stoppages and its midfield, led brilliantly by skipper Steve Summerton and AFL-listed Sam Gray, gave the forwards plenty of supply.

Robbie Young - the home side's inclusion to cover the loss of vice-captain Henry Slattery following his five match suspension - proved to be the right choice.

Young managed to get on the end of two great goals and combined with the likes of Jake Neade and Andrew Moore, the Magpies had a 22 point lead at the first break.

Irishman Daniel Flynn worked hard with veteran Tom Logan in defence and provided that solid run in the back half to help give their side the edge.

But, South Adelaide were determined to prove that it belonged in the top tier of the league.

The Panthers forced to slow it down in the second term as the visitors worked hard to suffocate the home side and give it no room to play its hard running style.

Two quick goals to South's Peter Rolfe and one from Brent Macleod put the Panthers just four points behind had the crowd on the edge of their seats.

The Magpies finally broke free of its second-quarter lapse and two more goals to Andrew Moore and Karl Amon after some great pressure acts of tackling from Steve Summerton, Paul Stewart and Jake Neade.

The margin was then pushed back out to 11 points at the main break.

But it was a dominant third term that set up the eventual win for the Magpies.

By three-quarter time, Port Adelaide had more than doubled the Panthers' inside 50s (46) to (24) and had 11 scoring shots to the Panthers' three.

The Magpies had solid contributors all over the ground and shared the ball around to help continue its winning streak.

Campbell Heath, Darcey Byrne-Jones, Daniel Flynn, Tom Logan and Tom Clurey proved a force down back, while Karl Amon, Steve Summerton and Sam Gray ran hard through the midfield.

The Magpies proved too classy with their ball use, too quick running out of defence and too strong inside 50.

Despite South's Peter Rolfe finishing with three goals, and the Panthers continuing to work hard, the win had all but been sealed with the third quarter Magpies' dominance.

Academy coach Jacob Surjan told it was important for the coaching staff, players and supporters to remain patient with his young side.

Although he was disappointed with the loss, he was pleased to see small steps in development in most of his players.

"The second quarter put a bit of a sting in our game style, but full credit to South Adelaide they were brilliant after quarter time and really came at us," Surjan said.

"It is disappointing for our boys, but we had 15 kids out there that can still play in the under 18s, so it's about the development of our players and good for them to play against some older guys.

"We had a lot of our tall guys out, but I thought our ruckman Jonathan Ross did a great job and the boys just need to take some confidence out of their first ten minutes and last 10 minutes of the game.

"We just need to get a consistent four-quarter performance and I think it's just around the corner."

     4.4     6.5     13.9     18.14   (122)
SOUTH ADELAIDE  1.0     5.0     7.1       10.2      (62)

Goals: Butcher, Neade 3, Amon, Ah Chee, Young, Moore, Biemans 2, Haren, Stewart’s best: Moore, Heath, Summerton, Butcher, Neade, Flynn

Injuries: nil

Crowd: 3,121 at Alberton
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs