2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 9

THE finals of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition are not far away, and there was plenty to like about the up-and-coming talent in the state over Round 9 of the competition. We cast our eye over the players across the four games, with each note the individual opinion of the writer.

NORWOOD vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE

By: Peter Williams

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

Had arguably her best game of the year against South Adelaide, finding her fair share of the ball and providing some fierce defensive pressure around the ground. The majority of her touches were found in the back half of the ground as she worked hard behind the ball to spread, and try and create some movement going forward. While sometimes her decision making was inconsistent, she would back up with some repeat efforts at stoppages and remain focused with her intent. She took a good contested mark inside forward 50 in the second half between two defenders and set up a goal assists with a quick, clean, well-timed handball, having finished off the game in the front half of the ground.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

Another really solid four-quarter performance playing primarily up forward and pushing up the ground. She had an early chance in the first term with a nice sidestep but it just missed, though she laid a great tackle shortly after to force a turnover inside 50 and lead to a score. She took a number of good marks in the second term both in front of the ball on the lead, and intercepting on the wing, as well as providing plenty of defensive pressure to force the opposition to rush handballs in close. In the final term, Halfpenny showed great closing speed to force a spill and get the handball to a teammate, but they could not get boot to ball, tried to do it herself but was tackled. Aside from a couple of passes, the majority of Halfpenny’s deliveries by hand or foot were generally on target.

#30 Sarah Branford

Despite only having a handful of touches, Branford still showed plenty of defensive pressure on the ball carrier, winning a free kick in the first term for going in hard then kicked inside 50, whilst quickly kicking it from a stoppage at the top of 50 to go deep. Late in the first term, Branford produced a strong smother to keep the ball at half-forward, and whilst she did not win a heap of it after that, still remained active in the game. Unfortunately overran an attempt to spoil which led to her opponent taking off and nailing a pass inside 50 which led to a goal, but her intent was right, reading the play well.

South:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

The speedster played through the midfield, rotating between onball and the wing, starting right at the first stoppages. She might not have won much of it to start with, but then started to collect the touches later in the first term, with a number of handballs and a kick going inside 50. She positioned herself well at the stoppages to get herself in ball-winning positions. Her third quarter featured a number of touches around the ground, including coming off a wing to scoop a ball up, then intercepting a quick kick out of the opposition’s defensive 50 to send the ball back inside 20m from goal. Laying a number of good tackles throughout the game, she won a free kick for her efforts, and had an eye-catching charge out of the middle going forward.

#5 Sarah Wright

Not a huge game, but still had a few nice moments. She was clean off the deck and applied some great defensive pressure and put her body on the line when required. Her best piece of play came in the second term when she intercepted out of defence and put it deep on the wing to a running teammate, which a few minutes later was followed by a good mark at half-back and delivery to the defensive side of the wing.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

The AFL Women’s Academy member played out of defence again to try and create some run from the back half, and she certainly did that from time to time. Her first half was more productive than her second, first getting involved with a mark at half-back, taking the player on and giving it off by hand to move it quickly. Her hands at ground level were really good, and she pushed up the ground when required, also laying a couple of strong tackles on fellow State Academy members. Not as prolific as she has been in the front half of the ground, Schirmer certainly showcased her versatility behind the ball.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. STURT

By: Liam Badkin

Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Spent time forward of the ball as opposed to onball, and used her talents to affect the game in other ways. Had only five kicks, but rarely wasted them and her pressure in the forward half proved crucial in the Eagles attacking plays, highlighted by her three tackles. A quiet day statistically but still had her moments.

#25 Jamie Parish

Spending more time in defence than previous weeks with Amie Blanden shouldering the ruck duties, Parish was the key rebounding weapon in the Eagles’ arsenal. Finished with a game-high five rebound 50’s as she generated run out of a backline that was constantly under the pump. Not all of the kicks hit the target, but she did not have much to kick to up the field. Finishing with 10 disposals with all of them being kicks, Parish did not waste time over-handballing, and got the ball on her boot straight away, a move that got the backline out of a tight spot on multiple occasions. Already known as a player who can play in all three lines, her defensive stocks just went through the roof after solid play in this match.

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

A typically solid game from Swan, who finished with seven disposals but influenced the play greatly whenever she was near it. Missed a shot on goal in the third quarter that would have added to her day, but continued to find herself around the play and was damaging when she got her hands on the ball.

#19 Alex Ballard

Had a day out as she slotted three nice goals to prove key in her side’s strong victory. Her hands were as strong as ever as she brought down six marks, on a day where defenders simply had no answer for her. Kicked two goals in the second quarter when Sturt really started to take over the game, and proved reliable at finishing the hard work of her teammates with straight kicking. Easily her best game of the year and will be looking to take her form into next week.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Continued last week’s form of moving further up the ground to impact the play, and reaped the rewards as she kicked her first goal of the year in the final quarter where she floated forward and found space. The Academy prospect has been adaptable this season, and will be pleased with her game as she continues to adjust to the new role.

#30 Zoe Prowse

Another fantastic performance from the talented utility who continues to adapt to wherever the team needs her. Sharing ruck duties with Jess Good, Prowse was excellent whenever she was required to take hit outs, finishing with 14 for the day as a back-up. She also displayed her excellent ability to find the ball and use it with class. She ended the day with 14 disposals and a whopping seven inside 50’s. Her five tackles demonstrated her willingness to do the dirty work in the contest and finished the day as one of her side’s best.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG

By: Liam Badkin

North:

#38 Kate Case

A quiet day statistically, finishing with just the one touch, but had more of an influence on the play than that. Constantly harassing Glenelg players whenever she was around the ball, her effort is more accurately represented by those who watch her do the little things.

#33 Julia Clark

Despite having less of the ball than last week, her effort remained the same as she used her eye catching aerobic capabilities to push hard up and down the wing to provide an option for her teammates. Her six disposals were hard earned and she often deserves more of the ball than she gets, but continues to fulfil her role for her side.

#43 Amelie Borg

Once again popping up in the backline, Borg worked tirelessly all day to make sure her opponent found no easy path to the ball, as she nullified the impact of whoever she was opposed to. She consistently pressured the ball carrier and harassed opponents all day. Finding the ball six times herself was just the cherry on top. A nice game.

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

Found plenty of the ball along the wing, finishing with 11 disposals in yet another game where her hard running nature was fully on display. She worked tirelessly along the wing as she left opponents in her dust on multiple occasions. North Adelaide’s players struggled to keep up with Tonon’s remarkable work rate, which has consistently delivered for her and her teammates so far this season.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

The defender once again did the majority of her work deep in the backline as she thwarted plenty of North Adelaide attacks with her ability to read the play and put herself in clever positions. Her work when the ball was on the deck in Glenelg’s defensive 50 was great, as she worked her way to five disposals and a pair of crucial rebound 50’s to clear the backline.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Peter Williams

West:

#3 Abbie Ballard

Her second game back from a long-term injury, Ballard played at half-forward and did what you would expect of her – apply fierce defensive pressure and use her potent left foot to advantage – throughout the game. She won a free kick early and kept attacking it hard at the contest, producing a perfectly waited kick in the second term after leading out and marking at the top of 50. She won the ball as far back as half-back midway through the term and whilst she had a quieter second half, had shown enough to be productive in the match.

#7 Scarlett Griffiths

If you are going to have a one-kick game, then Griffiths certainly made the most of it, with her sole kick in the second term coming via a free kick in the forward pocket after running onto the ground. She converted the set shot from 25m out and handed her side a vital six points.

#9 Zoe Venning

Won her fair share of the ball and cracked in hard as you would come to expect, predominantly playing off a half-forward flank. Whilst she did not hit the scoreboard, she worked hard up the ground, took a good mark early in the game, and won a couple of free kicks for her intent. She did get pinged for holding the ball early in the third term, but her ability to stand up in tackles and apply defensive pressure was terrific.

#30 Lauren Young

Once again got to the right positions and found plenty of it whether it was in defence, midfield or attack, predominantly rolling through the midfield. She showcased her thumping kick to clear the danger zone on a number of occasions, and took some strong intercept marks, as well as ones on long leads. She showed great courage in the third term by taking a huge grab going back with the flight and copping contact from behind, and then was able to get forward and have a couple of chances inside 50. Her set shots in the second and third term respectively just drifted or were rushed across the line, but she set up a great chance to Melanie Elsegood on the lead with a nice deep kick.

Central:

#28 Lauren Breguet

Spending time in the middle as well as up forward, Breguet provided some great running out of midfield early in the match to kick inside 50, then got on the end of one late in the first term with a set shot from 20m out and a perfectly weighted kick for a goal from a tight angle. She had a quiet second term before stepping it up in the third, with plenty of involvements around the footy, including some fierce tackling in midfield, and a good handball under pressure at ground level earning er a free kick. She used the ball well by foot from the free kick, and earned another free kick for a high tackle at half-forward.

#40 Madison Lane

Had a particularly lively middle two quarters, but still remained involved throughout, Lane took some good intercept marks and drove the ball out of defence. Often trying to settle the team down, her kicks were generally high-impact with the exception of one turnover at the top of defensive 50 in the second term. She had a clean pickup off the deck midway through the third term, and whilst her kick was smothered, she won it back at half-back and kicked safely to the wing.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

Had some lively moments in the game with a some quiet patches, but some eye-catching efforts. She had a massive effort in the second term bursting out of the middle to run forward and kick to Katelyn Rosenzweig’s advantage for a goal 15 seconds into the second term. Midway through the quarter she intercepted a would-be handball with a clever tap mid-air to keep the ball tracking forward. In the fourth term, she took a good mark on the wing, played on and kicked to half-forward well to showcase her aggressive ball movement, then tried to have a shot on goal by sidestepping an opponent six minutes into the quarter but was unluckily dragged down.

Picture credit: Peter Swan / SANFL

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