WEST Adelaide has booked its spot in the 2021 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s Grand Final following a 24-point victory over Norwood on Saturday at Coopers Stadium. The Bloods lead at every break, and secured their first grand final spot to ensure that a first-time premier will be crowned next week. In defeat, Norwood was bundled out in straight sets, which meant a sixth straight finals loss for the Redlegs.
It was the home team that looked good to atone for its semi-final loss last week, with Rosette Zerella getting a goal on the board through a clever snap, and then having a second chance to give her side a seven-point advantage in the opening six minutes. However over the next two quarters it was all West Adelaide as talls Melanie Elsegood and Chelsea Biddell slotted two majors apiece heading into half-time to give the visitors a 19-point lead.
The third term was more of an arm-wrestle but Ashlea James made it five consecutive majors for the Westies, with Erika Sporn missing Norwood’s sole scoring chance later in the term. Holding a 26-point lead and restricting Norwood to just one behind since the sixth minute of the first term, West Adelaide was in firm control. It was not until Sporn finally saluted in the last five minutes of the game that Norwood cut it back to 18 points, but it was a case of too little, too late as Louella McCarthy kicked the sealer a minute later and the Bloods booked their spot into the SANFL Women’s decider, 6.4 (40) to 2.4 (16).
West Adelaide controlled the ball with 28 more disposals (166-138) and had three more marks (22-19). Despite Norwood dominating the hitouts (40-24), the Westies midfield took control with seven more clearances (30-23). The inside 50s were fairly even with West Adelaide marginally ahead (24-22), but the Bloods also had three additional rebound 50s (20-17) in an impressive effort. Norwood’s tackling pressure remained strong with nine more than its opponents (75-66).
Zoe Venning produced an outstanding performance of 24 disposals, three marks, three tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s in the win, with fellow State Academy member Lauren Young (15 disposals, three marks, seven tackles, three clearances and two rebound 50s) also lively. Sarah Dargan (19 disposals, four tackles, five clearances and two inside 50s) impressed, whilst the likes of Sharnie Whiting (13 disposals, two marks, five tackles, two clearances, three inside 50s and four rebound 50s) and Biddell (13 disposals, three marks, seven hitouts, two tackles, two clearances and two goals) stepped up in the absence of captain Bec Owen who went down early through injury.
For the Redlegs, Tesharna Maher continued her great form of late to rack up 18 disposals, four marks, seven tackles, two clearances, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s. Fellow midfielders, Jess Macolino (13 disposals, eight tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s), Sophie Armitstead (10 disposals, four tackles and five clearances) and Sachi Syme (10 disposals, three tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s) were also lively. Morgan Johnston (nine disposals, two marks and three rebound 50s) and Alison Ferrall (seven disposals, three rebound 50s) tried hard in defence, while Leah Cutting dominated the hitouts on her way to five disposals, 14 tackles, 39 hitouts and two clearances.
The loss marks the end of the season for Norwood, while West Adelaide sets its sights on Glenelg next weekend to determine the 2021 SANFL Women’s premier.
NORWOOD 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.4 (16)
WEST ADELAIDE 2.1 | 4.2 | 5.4 | 6.4 (40)
Norwood: E. Sporn, R. Zerella.
West: C. Biddell 2, M. Elsegood 2, A. James, L. McCarthy.
Norwood: T. Maher, J. Macolino, S. Armitstead, S. Syme, L. Cutting
West: Z. Venning, S. Dargan, C. Biddell, L. Young, S. Whiting
Picture credit: Cory Sutton / SANFL