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Magpies dealt blow by Panthers at Noarlunga

Jake Neade booted three goals for the Magpies on Saturday

PORT Adelaide's push to go three games clear atop of the SANFL ladder was dealt a major blow on Saturday after it suffered its fourth loss of the season at the hands of fifth-placed South Adelaide.

The Magpies went into the clash at Noarlunga Oval sporting a very different outfit to last week's win against the Adelaide Crows, with only nine AFL-listed players donning the colours after Darcy Byrne-Jones was withdrawn during warm-up, forcing Zac Hawkins into the league side after starring for the Academy just minutes before.

John Butcher was also a late withdrawal with illness, meaning the opportunity was given for his brother, Danny, and Ben Sawford to come into the side.

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Port Adelaide got off to a slow start and looked sluggish from the first bounce, but fought hard in the final term to turn almost a six-goal deficit into a loss just shy of 18 points.

But it will be little comfort for the Magpie faithful after the Panthers' run and drive out of defence comprehensively outplayed the visitors. 

For the Magpies, the only goal in the first term came from some brilliant running from Jake Neade who used his speed to dish off to Brendon Ah Chee to goal.

After that, the home side enjoyed a run on of goals, led the inside 50s by six and clearances by eight to help them to a 19-point lead at the first change.

The Magpies slow start continued into the second term, but the Panthers also struggled to maintain the ascendancy.

Mitch Harvey was forced to maintain almost sole ruck duties throughout the day after Angus Bruggemann was pushed deep into defence to cover the loss of Tom Clurey to a hamstring injury during the week.

Jake Neade again proved to be the spark the Magpies needed as the small forward dished off to Nathan Krakouer for Port's first goal of the second term.

Neade then followed up with his own goal to chop the margin back again.

But it was telling that he was involved in each of the Magpies' only three goals for the half.

Having let the Panthers run away in the first half, Port found it difficult to reel them back in on the dewy Noarlunga surface. 

Even majors to Sam Gordon - his first goal of league football - and Mason Shaw only closed South's buffer to 15 points. 

By three-quarter time, South Adelaide had doubled the Magpies' scoring shots (18-9) and held a 34-point advantage.

Neade produced more footage for the club's highlights reel in the final quarter, and rugged smalls Sam Gray and Tom Logan also battled hard to finish with 29 and 26 disposals respectively, but not even a strong defensive effort to keep the Panthers goalless in the final term was enough for the black and white. 

Running out 17-point winners, the result sees Brad Gotch's South maintain pace with Norwood on eight wins, and now a game and win clear of North Adelaide in sixth place.

For Port Adelaide, the opportunity to solidify its hold on top spot will take a hit if either or both of Sturt (against Central District) or the Eagles (against the Crows) chalk up wins on Sunday.

The Magpies will travel to Elizabeth Oval next Saturday to play Central District.


PORT ADELAIDE      1.2      7.3      5.4      8.6       (54)
SOUTH ADELAIDE   4.3      3.2      10.8    10.11   (71)

Neade, S. Gray, Logan, Stevenson, Summerton, Sawford

Neade 3, Ah Chee, R Young, Krakouer, Gordon, Shaw

Byrne-Jones (withdrawn from selected side with illness), Butcher (withdrawn from selected side with illness)


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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs