FINALS is just about sorted, albeit with perhaps another chapter left in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition. With two rounds remaining, the top three sides in North Adelaide, South Adelaide and for the first time, West Adelaide will play finals, though Norwood failed to lock up a spot, but came away with a draw thanks to an after-the-siren goal to ensure they need just one win to lock up finals.
NORTH ADELAIDE 1.3 | 4.4 | 9.5 | 13.10 (88)
WWT EAGLES 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 0.2 (2)
North: A. Hatchard 2, B. Arthur 2, C. Castle 2, K. Reynolds 2, K. Barltrop, L. Daniel, K. Pope, A. Woodland, B. Perry.
North: A. Hatchard, H. Ewings, K. Pope, L. Daniel, B. Arthur
WWT: J. Zecevic, K. Lee, T. Maher, A. Blanden, J. Parish
It was not a four quarter demolition job, but once North Adelaide Roosters got going, there was little Woodville-West Torrens Eagles could do to stop them. The ladder-leading Roosters piled on nine goals to nil in the second half to storm to an 86-point win over the cellar dwellers despite the Eagles’ best efforts by only allowing one goal in the first 10 minutes of the opening three terms combined. Unfortunately for the league’s bottom side, weight of numbers and class won out with the Roosters stamping their authority on the game in the second half and showing why they are the premiership favourites.
Despite the teams coming into the clash at opposite ends of the ladder, the first 10 minutes of the game looked like a couple of sides on even keel. The Eagles were up for the fight, whilst the Roosters were peppering away getting their structures right and working out which way best to inflict pain on the opposition. Hannah Ewings and Anne Hatchard shared in a massive first term around the ball, as Bek Rasheed dominated the ruck against smaller opponents. Jovanka Zecevic was busy for the Eagles, whilst Amie Blanden and Kiana Lee were impressive up opposite ends of the field.
The Eagles did the bulk of the attacking in the first six minutes, with the Roosters’ second inside 50 – after an initial one of the first clearance – coming six minutes into the quarter. From there though, it was a case of locking it in their forward half, and whilst the likes of Chloe Forby – who ran down Katelyn Pope before she could have a shot on goal – and Tesharna Maher were trying their best to clear the ball, a goal seemed inevitable. That came in the 10-minute mark on the counter attack by Pope who instead of blazing forward at half-forward, paused and turned laterally to kick inside. It opened up space and a series of short kicks ended with Brianna Arthur finding space 25m out straight in front which she duly converted. It was the only major of the first term, but it gave the Roosters a nine-point lead at the break with the Eagles yet to score.
North Adelaide had missed a few chances in the opening term, including a nice piece of play leading to Ashleigh Woodland having a shot but hitting the left woodwork late in the quarter. The Roosters started from the first bounce to really attack with Hatchard’s vision and hands through traffic elite, able to find Lauren Daniel who was starting to really get busy. Zecevic was working hard and Maher and Lee were among the best on the ground. Ewings was right up there with Hatchard, having multiple inside 50s and whilst the Eagles often intercepted, she just constantly looked dangerous.
Again, while the Eagles held up for 10 minutes, the Roosters finally cracked through the dam wall and this time it was a set of another elite hands in Woodland who between multiple defenders put the ball into the path of Pope who ran onto it at full speed and just got boot to ball before being run down, and it bounced home for a goal. It might have opened the floodgates, but the Eagles stepped up and showed they were not going to just hand over the premiership points. Instead, they went forward and had a couple of chances of their own through Natalia Ayesu who just missed her set shot after marking strongly one-on-one against Kristi Harvey on the lead – a terrific feat in itself – before buttering up to receive a spill and take a shot but it missed to the right. The two behinds would be the only Roosters scores of the game.
Lee was racking up the intercept marks and being a rock at full-back with the early switch to the opposite end paying dividends. Unfortunately for the Eagles defence, the counter attack was proving an issue as they struggled to get it past half-back late in the term, and North Adelaide punished them. The Roosters won the ball at half-forward and flooded numbers into the attacking 50 with free space all over, ending with Woodland marking in the square and truly from a couple of meters out. Less than two minutes later, the Roosters again used the ball well forward of centre with neat short kicks hitting up teammates, and Charlotte Taylor – who had it at half-forward – put it perfectly to Hatchard’s advantage. The Adelaide best and fairest winner read the ball in flight better than the two opponents guarding her, and she marked and goaled from 25m out to hand her team a 26-point advantage at half-time.
Coming out of half-time, the Roosters were trying to attack and really build on their first half. An early inside 50 was chopped off by Zahn Anthony well, but Amber Ward was a rock in the back half and pushing up to the wing, while Hatchard was elite in midfield. The first meaningful chance was to Kathryn Reynolds after a nice low ball in from Hatchard, but her set shot went way wide and out of bounds. Lee and Jamie Parish were standing up well in defence, but the Eagles were scrambling with some missed handballs and fumbles, and eventually the Roosters were going to make them pay. A high coach-killing ball to the back pocket floated enough for Pope to drift across and take an intercept mark and the speedster centred it to Hatchard who booted her second without a problem from 30m out straight in front.
The goal opened the flood gates a little for the Roosters as they would go on to kick four more goals for the quarter, all of which came after the 10-minute mark once again. Hatchard was often the facilitator, setting up Cristie Castle in the goalsquare, and then Reynolds was the beneficiary on the end of some scrappy but ultimately rewarding play. The Eagles had a rare inside 50 late in the term but a free against helped North clear it down the wing, and eventually both Arthur and Barltrop converted majors from free kicks for the Roosters to lead by a massive 57 points at the final break.
With the game done and dusted by the final term, the last quarter was always going to be about how much the Roosters could pile on, and how well the Eagles could limit their scoring. A minute into the term, Daniel kicked a great goal off a step and the warning bells were sounding. Ewings and Pope were sensational with their speed and movement through the middle, but the Eagles were not giving up and to their credit managed to hold firm the next five minutes. It eventually was going to be too much, with weight of numbers in the red and white jumpers as Castle again was on the end of a perfect pass from Hatchard who fended off an opponent and found her teammate in the goalsquare.
The only saving grace for the Eagles in the final term was the inaccuracy of the Roosters who could well have passed triple figures, but with a couple of rushed shots and touched balls en route to goal, they could only managed the 4.5. The third goal of the term went to Perry who found space 30m out and never looked like missing, while it was almost back-to-back goals in quick succession for the Roosters as both Arthur and Reynolds had gettable shots, but one missed and the other was crucially touched on the line by Eagles defenders. The final play of the day saw a chain of handballs inside 50 end with Reynolds who was paid a free kick against an unlucky Charlotte Dolan, with Reynolds popping through a goal with the last kick of the game moments before the siren for an impressive 86-point win.
STURT 1.1 | 1.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 (20)
NORWOOD 1.0 | 1.4 | 1.6 | 2.8 (20)
Sturt: N. Baker, H. Prenzler, G. Bevan.
Norwood: A. Ferrall, K. Fenton.
Sturt: Z. Prowse, G. Bevan, A. Ballard, L. Schenscher, J. Keech
Norwood: M. Zander, B. Smith, A. Ferrall, J. Halfpenny, R. Busch
An after-the-siren goal from Kate Fenton has saved Norwood from suffering a potentially devastating loss in terms of finals ramifications, during a draw with Sturt. The Redlegs had the majority of the play throughout the contest, but could not put it through the big sticks, only converting the first and last goals of the contest in a low-scoring 2.8 (20) to 3.2 (20) draw. Indeed, full credit to Sturt who through the work of Zoe Prowse were able to hold off Norwood and put scores on the board themselves in one of the Double Blues’ best performances of the year.
The first match in the triple header had a slow start with both team’s defences making life difficult for the opposition. Norwood had the bulk of the play throughout the first half but missed a number of opportunities on goal in the second term, while the Double Blues through debutant Nicole Baker ensured they were in touch at the main break.
Matilda Zander has a busy start to the game as expected and was one of the best Redlegs on the ground, as was Bella Smith whose first term – which included several strong marks and long, piecing kicks – was simply sensational. Alison Ferrall provided her teammates with a number of opportunities, but her first was a point-blank goal from the top of the goalsquare. Najwa Allen had been a driving force in getting it forward, but Ferrall was first to the ball and rewarded with a free kick.
Sturt soon got one back through the debutant in Baker, who had a quick snap at the 10 and a half minute mark of the term that just missed. Showing the inclusion was an all-round player, Baker ran down Rhiannon Busch who had got around one would-be tackler, but not the second. The subsequent free kick needed a 45-metre attempt on goal and it not only was true, but sailed home with ease much to the celebration of Baker’s teammates and handed Sturt the lead at the first break.
The second term saw just four behinds kicked, with Norwood ruing a number of chances gone begging. Prowse was breaking up the attacking forays for the Redlegs, while Larissa Schenscher and Jessie Keech were terrific in defence. Ferrall had a couple of chances in the second but missed both, though the first long-range effort was unlucky not to go through, hitting the post on its journey. Sturt had the odd chance such as a quick snap by Georgia Bevan off her non-preferred but a cruel miss went over the head of Georgia Swan and Norwood cleared it. By half-time, Norwood’s inaccuracy had seen the Redlegs take the lead by three points.
The premiership quarter was an armwrestle for the majority of the contest until Sturt popped up with some great highlight-worthy moments. Ally Ladas had a chance to goal with a quick snap but missed to the side, and then the early driving work from the Double Blues handed Hannah Prenzler a chance. It started with a Prowse intercept at half-back who got it to Bevan, and she pumped it inside where Baker cleverly shepherded and Prenzler did the rest to hand her side a four-point lead. From then on, it was all Norwood but much like the second term, the Redlegs could not capitalise.
Jade Halfpenny and Lindsay Bigg both had a couple of chances but missed in the last five minutes. It looked as if Norwood might get an answer with their fierce attacking in the dying moments. In a shock against the momentum, it was Sturt instead that capitalised, with the ball rushed down into an open forward line and the co-captains combined with Rigter handing it off to Bevan who sailed it home with 30 seconds remaining and Sturt was out to an eight-point advantage.
The final term did not see a goal kicked in regular time as Norwood spent the bulk purely attacking, while Sturt bravely defended for the majority of the quarter. It looked for the most part that the work of Schenscher, Prowse and Keech would get the Double Blues an unlikeliest of victories, even when Sturt drew level midway through the term with a second behind. But surprisingly, neither team could score as the Double Blues kept holding it up and with 20 seconds left, the ball was at half-back for the Redlegs and the game looked surely over.
Norwood had other ideas though, but needed to be perfect. They ran the ball end to end and Ferrall put it to a two-on-one contest. The ball fell to ground after great work from the Sturt defence, but in trying to rush in and get it clear in the final second, a Double Blue threw the ball out as the siren sounded. Momentarily, Sturt players thought they had finally secured the six-point win, but to their horror, a free kick was paid to Fenton straight in front of goal. With the game on her boot, and potentially Norwood’s finals hopes depending on whether on not it sailed through, she stepped up and delivered a perfect kick through the middle for Norwood to level the match and share the points.
CENTRAL 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.3 (21)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 4.1 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)
Central: A. James, K. McInerney, Z. Perry.
West: R. Killian 2, S. Thompson, M. Newman, A. Hardwick. G. Gray.
Central: S. Allan, D. Sonneman, S. Smith, C. Teague, A. Butler
West: M. Newman, S. Thompson, A. Ballard, R. Martin, Z. Venning
After a spirited opening term from Central District, West Adelaide opened the floodgates with three straight goals in the second term to bolt out to a 17-point lead at half-time. The first term was as even as it came with Central up for the fight and putting the first goal on the board through Amber James before West Adelaide inclusion, Rachael Killian marked well and put one through for the Bloods. Heading into the first break, the scores were level, and while the Bulldogs had the majority of the play in the first 10 minutes, West had begun to settle and have more run in the final five minutes of the term.
The game opened up in the second quarter, with Stevie-Lee Thompson and Madison Newman doing all sorts of damage to the opposition. Newman’s lethal long boot was clearing defences and then breaking up the Bulldogs defensive zones,. Thompson was the first goal on the board after repeat stoppages saw the former AFL Women’s leading goalkicker put one through off a ruck tap 15m out. It led a procession of inside 50s for the Bloods as Chelsea Biddell moved into the ruck to have an impact and found Thompson again not long after. She hit up Newman who slotted the goal 35m out and her team was out to a 12-point lead.
A third goal in the term came through Abby Hardwick in the goalsquare after Zoe Venning got a quick kick out of a pack inside 50. The Bloods were in complete control by now despite some good work from Demi Sonneman in defence, and the fierce pressure of Katelyn Rosenzweig up forward. Shelby Smith was working hard through midfield and gave her side a chance late in the term with a rare forward venture. Rosenzweig fended off a couple of opponents, had a snap but missed to the left making the deficit 17 points at the main break.
The second half started as the first half had left off, with West Adelaide doing all the attacking. Central could not put a score on the board or have a proper inside 50 as the Bloods half-back line was sensational throughout the term. Arguably the three quarter time margin of 27 points could have been even greater, as a second goal to Killian nine minutes into the term was the only major of the quarter. It was more opportunistic in a pack than planned, and missed chances from the likes of Kasia Culhane, Thompson, Biddell and Venning when they had looks on goal resulted in the Bloods kick 1.4 for the quarter.
Credit had to be given to the Dogs defence, who through the likes of Sonneman, Smith, Gemma Doughty and Lauren Breguet, were able to stop the flow of goals. Rosenzweig was even busy in there and Sarah Allan was trying hard around the ground, but Thompson, Biddell, Rachelle Martin and especially Abbie Ballard were having a massive say on proceedings in the premiership quarter. While the Dogs had held up the Bloods from scoring, they would need a massive final term against the flow to hit back.
After an exclamation mark on the performance from a clever Georgie Gray – who capitalised on a Central turnover inside defensive 50 – West led by more than five goals and it looked like the Bloods would storm to a massive win. Yet again though, Central showed it has plenty of potential for the future, with the last two goals of the game going to Kayla McInerney and Zoe Perry. The two clever goals in play which surprised the West defence handed the Dogs some confidence heading into next week.
GLENELG 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 (21)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.1 | 3.2 | 5.2 | 6.4 (40)
Glenelg: E. Jones 2, E. Woods
South: J. Kirk 2, H. Munyard, S. Flanagan-Sjoberg, C. Cavouras, C. Hammond
Glenelg: E. Marinoff, J. Bates, C. Packer, E. Jones, E. Kellock
South: L. Whiteley, C. Cavouras, T. Charlton, H. Munyard, J. Kirk
In a scrappy first half between the sides, neither team could gain real ascendancy in the opening term. South had plenty of the play, but Glenelg was fiercely attacking as well. The entry inside 50 could have been better for both sides as Lisa Whiteley (South) and Jessica Bates (Glenelg) were picking off the inside 50s well, and setting up their teams on the counter attack. South speedster Hannah Munyard broke the deadlock early by running onto a loose ball at the back of the back deep inside the Panthers forward line and putting it through.
Midway through the term, it took a great mark from Adelaide talent, Eloise Jones who soared above the pack to clunk a great mark off a perfectly weighted kick from young gun Tessa Kohn. Jones went back from 40m out and slotted it without the goal umpire needing too much trouble, and by the quarter time siren, scores were level at 1.1 apiece. The South defence with Whiteley, Samantha Pratt and Jaslynne Smith were making life difficult for the Bays, while Soriah Moon was impressing up the other end for Glenelg playing out of full-back with Caitlin Gould in the ruck.
The second term was much of the same, except the reigning premiers punishing the Tigers for a couple of grave errors. After an armwrestle for the majority of the term – and Whiteley continuing her dominance in the defensive 50 – the Panthers got through via a free kick. Teah Charlton had a kick towards goal under pressure which was intercepted by the taller Moon against Jess Kirk, but it was deemed the teenager was pushed as she kicked and Kirk awarded the free kick 15m out from goal. The competition’s leading goalkicker made no mistake and gave South the clear lead by seven points after an earlier Charlton behind.
A second error by the Bays was one of those ‘coach killers’ where in the dying seconds, Glenelg looked to cross the defensive 50 to wind down the clock. Instead, the miskick went straight into the arms of a surprised Sophia Flanagan-Sjoberg who marked just 15m out herself. The siren sounded and she popped it home with ease handing her side a 13-point lead, off effectively two defensive 50 errors from the Bays. Whilst the deficit would have been frustrating for the home team, the Bays had stuck with the Panthers for the majority of the contest, with Ebony Marinoff working hard through midfield and Gould battling hard in the ruck.
Both teams looked up for the fight early in the second half with some big tackles and bodies flying everywhere. After a couple minutes of not much territory gain and a lot of repeat stoppages, it was Czenya Cavouras who provided the highlight with an elite pick up at full speed to charge through the opposition defence and get the good bounce for an early goal to the Panthers. Helped through with good body work by Kirk on the goal line, Cavouras made an early statement and the going looked tough for the Bays from then on.
The Tigers did get one back though through a rare perfect inside 50 thanks to Ellie Kellock. The midfielder won a free kick and looked inboard to hit up a rampaging Jones who marked out on the lead, crashing through the pack again. She turned around and converted her second goal to give the Tigers another sniff. Marinoff continued to work hard with fellow Crows AFL Women’s talent, Deni Varnhagen also winning a number of crucial touches on the outside. But Cavouras and Munyard were impressing, for the Panthers. Just as it looked like Glenelg would head into the break with a 13-point deficit, South had other ideas.
For the second consecutive quarter, the Panthers managed to muster something up out of nothing, with a neat centring kick inside 50 to find a loose Kirk who marked seconds before the siren. Yet again, South would convert a goal after the siren with Kirk’s second and the 19-point advantage suddenly looked a lot more difficult for the trailing Bays who needed a win to keep the finals dream alive.
The last term was predominantly Glenelg throwing everything at the Panthers once again, desperately trying to get across the line. But despite their work and a number of close shaves, the Bays could not quite do enough to get over the line. South’s defence held up well, and while Glenelg’s did likewise, it took until a downfield free kick to Emily Woods for the Tigers to get the first major on the board. She converted her set shot from 15 metres out to cut the deficit to 12 points with five minutes remaining.
Glenelg kept daring to dream with some fierce attacking moves, bu the work of Whiteley and Lauren Buchanan mopped everything up in the back 50. Then, the Panthers counter attacked and had their own chances. At one stage Glenelg had a chance through Varnhagen straight down the middle, but instead Cavouras chopped off the ball in defence, got it to Charlton in the middle who found Munyard out in space at half-forward. Her kick was dropped by Peters close to the boundary line, but it was locked inside the forward 50 for the time being, and eventually forced as a rushed behind with 90 seconds remaining. That behind meant the margin stood at 13 points and was near-impossible to come back from.
Instead, it was South with a remarkable final kick of the quarter for the third straight quarter where Cheyenne Hammond picked it up off the deck and snapped around her body for it to sail home moments before the siren sounded. It gave the Panthers confidence heading into next week knowing they had not just held off a fast-finishing Glenelg side, but put an exclamation mark on their performance to win by 19 points.