Saturday 26 March 2011

A slick Northern Territory Thunder were too sharp for Morningside in the historic inaugural Foxtel Cup opener in Adelaide this afternoon.

The Thunder jumped the Panthers early and were never headed, notching a solid 15-point victory, 12.4 (76) to 9.7 (61).

The Thunder graduate to a quarter-final berth at TIO Stadium on May 28 as a curtain raiser to Port Adelaide and Richmond against the winner of East Perth and North Ballarat.

The Panthers tried hard today but made errors at crucial times.

They trailed by eight points at the first break, 20 at the half, and brought the margin back to 12 points at the final change. The Thunder extended their margin to five goals before the Panthers clawed back the last two goals of the game.

Slippery small forward Ross Tungatalum kicked all three Thunder first quarter goals and his side’s first four of the match to give the Panthers plenty of heartache.

Morningside recruit Caleb Brown did a sensational job on Thunder’s leading forward Darren Ewing, keeping the big goalkicker scoreless and to three possessions for the day.

But Tungatalum got under the Panthers’ guard early and then gifted former Adelaide star Andrew McLeod kicked a goal on the stroke of halftime and two more after the break to keep his side on top.

McLeod collected 18 quality possessions despite having limited influence in the first half, and fellow former AFL player Jason Roe was also prominent.

Returning midfielder Karl Lohde was outstanding with eight hard-ball gets while Jake Dignan contributed five inside 50s.

Full-back Brown was clearly Morningside’s best player, while full-forward Shaun Mugavin gave his side plenty with four goals.

Ryan Holman was busy with eight tackles and six clearances as well as collecting his share of the ball and Austin Lucy caused problems across half-forward.

The game was played at a cracking pace through the first quarter and continued at a good standard for the remainder, which should have made national broadcasters FoxSports happy.


NT Thunder 3.2, 7.3, 8.4, 12.4 (76)
Morningside, 2.0, 4.1, 6.4, 9.7 (61)

Goals, Thunder: Tungatalum 4, McLeod 3, Kelly, Watson, Anderson Rosier, C Ilett. Morningside: Mugavin 4, Lucy 2, Thomlinson, Rogers, J Brown.

Possessions, Thunder: Lohde 19, McLeod 18, Watson 15, Bergman 13, Dignan 13, Gordon 13, C Ilett 13, Tapp 13. Morningside: Bonney 23, Kinch 21, Holman 17, Mugavin 14, Tomlinson 14, S Brown 13, Lillico 13, Thomlinson 13.

Best,Thunder: Tungatalum, Roe, Williams, Farrer, Watson, Lohde. Morningside: C Brown, Mugavin, Holman, Lucy, Thomlinson, Mollison.


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