WE are passing the midway point of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season as Round 6 gets completed over the weekend. Norwood hope to continue its unbeaten streak against Glenelg, while Woodville-West Torrens is the only side without a win, and face a tough task against South Adelaide on Sunday.
NORWOOD vs. GLENELG
Saturday, March 30, 10.40am
Peter Motley Oval
The premiership favourites meet a side that has struggled to score in the past couple of weeks, in the first game of the round at Peter Motley Oval. For the Redlegs, they have answered every challenge thrown at them, and seem to be getting stronger as the season goes on, defeating West Adelaide by 63 points last week. Midfielder Rhiannon Busch returns to her side with Elisha Gallagher, while Sally Riley heads out of the team to prepare for Adelaide’s AFL Women’s Grand Final. The Tigers have brought in two players to the side that has not scored a goal since Round 3, with Ellen Fauser heading to centre half-back, while Milli Gentile has been named on an extended interchange bench. Since Glenelg’s third consecutive win – an impressive 15-point victory over North Adelaide – the Tigers have managed back-to-back games of just three behinds. With the Redlegs averaging 53 points per game in the past fortnight, both teams head into the game with very different form lines. Najwa Allen continued her fantastic season form last week, racking up 33 disposals to take her season average to 23.8, the league leader. Hannah Dunn has been equally as impressive finding the ball (19.6 disposals per game) with Monique Hollick not far behind (17). Norwood also has a versatile forward line without a sole dominant goalkicker given Allen (five goals) leads the team goalkicking. Glenelg’s Hannah Crump has booted four for the season but the scoring has dried up in the past two weeks. The battle within the battle will be between Norwood’s Leah Cutting and Glenelg’s Caitlin Gould who are one and two respectively in the hitout stakes, so getting first hands to the ball will be crucial. Gould also averages almost four clearances per game, the four most in the competition, just behind Redlegs’ Sophie Armitstead (4.2). Norwood will take strong favouritism into the game and look set to win its sixth straight match, while Glenelg will need to find an avenue to goal if the Tigers are to cause an upset.
STURT vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 30, 12.25pm
Peter Motley Oval
In the second game of the double header at Peter Motley Oval, Sturt is coming off its first win of the season, while West Adelaide sank to a disappointing defeat a the hands of the seemingly unstoppable Norwood. The Double Blues have had a rocky start to the season and their first win was an unconvinving two-point goalless win, but it was enough to get the points and now prepare for the rest of the season. Sturt has lost key player Georgia Bevan who will miss due to a wedding, while Zoe Prowse was injured last week. It will mean midfielders, Sophie Hoyle and Maya Rigter will have to shoulder more of the load in this game, while the return of Alex Ballard and Casey Fraser will sure up the defence, and Nicole Baker and Della Griffith‘s return will add some extra potency in attack. For the Bloods, they have made three changes with Kelly Whittaker returning to the side along with full-forward Megan Rich and Phoebe Edwards. West Adelaide will hope to look to Chelsea Biddell in order to get some early majors on the board, while Abbie Ballard and Maddie Newman will be crucial players in the team. Melanie Elsegood has been a rock in defence with Lauren Rodato, and the Westies defence will be keen to repel and set up forward attacks. For Sturt, they must win the midfield battle and get the ball inside 50 to create opportunities and try and get on the board if they are to go back-to-back in the wins column. West Adelaide is favourite for this clash, but Sturt will build on its confidence from last week to try and upset the Bloods here.
SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, March 30, 4.15pm
Flinders University Stadium
Heading to the evening game, the red hot South Adelaide take on a Central District team that will be keen to get back on the winners list after losing last week following consecutive victories in Round 3 and Round 4. The Panthers have only lost to Norwood and are in fine form heading into the Round 6 clash to start incredibly warm favourites. They made light work of Central District last week with a nine-goal win after the Bulldogs got the jump of them kicking their only two goals of the game to start the game. The Panthers’ young brigade has been superb this seaon with Teah Charlton having a brilliant game last week courtesy of 24 disposals, five marks, a massive 16 tackles and three goals, while Hannah Munyard (20 disposals, five marks last week) and Montana McKinnon (equal second in hitouts so far this season) are consistently putting in strong performances. Tonia Filke is out of the Panthers side after doing her knee early last week, while four players have been added to an extended bench. The Panthers midfield is incredibly strong with Munyard, Nicole Campbell, Czenya Cavouras and Elyse Haussen able to control the midfield. Central District will be keen to get another win on the board this round, with Danielle Stewart (16 disposals per game) a key member of the side. With last year’s league leading goalkicker Katelyn Rosenzweig sitting in equal second, she will be the key to stopping the Bulldogs’ goals, while Charlton is just one behind Rosenzweig with seven majors thus far this season. Madison Bennett is one of many South Adelaide players who have got on the board this seaon, scoring three goals to be next behind Charlton. The Panthers are looking incredible at the moment and they will be a hard team to stop, and the Bulldogs will need to put on their best performance to cause an upset.
WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Sunday, March 31, 4.15pm
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval
The final game of the round is the streamed game with Woodville-West Torrens taking on North Adelaide in a huge clash at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. With Sturt’s victory last week it leaves the Eagles as the only winless side remaining this season, while North Adelaide have had an up and down season and will look to consolidate against the cellar dwelling Eagles. Kiana Lee has been a shining light up forward for Woodville-West Torrens booting five goals, while Sarah Perkins has booted six in just three games with the Eagles. Woodville-West Torrens have swung the axe with five changes, including one forced change as the injured Taylor McKay is forced out of the side. Into the team comes crucial onballer Jaimi Tabb who was sorely missed last week, while Chloe Forby slots into the forward line and Ashlee Reid at centre half-back. The Eagles have had some top individual performers this season and are showing plenty of competitiveness, although their loss to South Adelaide was disappointing after a bright first 10 minutes. They will need to start strong against the Roosters and maintain that intensity if they are to record their first win. North Adelaide has lost Rheanne Lugg given the Crows’ have an AFL Women’s Grand Final to play on the same day, while midfielders Brittany Perry and Paige Allen return to the side, as does Ashleigh Woodland who has been named at half-back. Nadia Von Bertouch has been a ray of consistency this seasonwith the captain, full-forward and competition leading goalkicker Kelly Barltrop and centre half-back Amber Ward among the top players this season. North Adelaide should come away with the points in this clash after recording a nice win over Central District last week, but the Eagles have some crucial returns and can cause headaches up forward.