IN summarising the 2021 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season, Draft Central will run through a team-by-team review of how each of the sides fared, and who some of the standout performers throughout the clubs were. The next team in the firing line is Sturt.
Points For: 311 (6th)
Points Against: 343 (6th)
Season in a Sentence: “Sturt had some eye-catching performances throughout the season, and were able to control the midfield battle largely in games, but were just not quite consistent enough to push for finals in 2021”
The AFL Women’s Academy ruck came into the season as South Australia’s brightest draft prospect and she did not disappoint, playing a multitude of roles in nine games for Sturt in between her State Academy duties for the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships. Starting out in the ruck and rotated through the midfield, Prowse also had stints up forward later in the season. She was injured in her second last game but returned to play a week later against North Adelaide. A genuine utility with plenty of upside and great athleticism and mobility.
The inside midfielder put together a really consistent season on the inside, earning Team of the Year honours for her efforts. In 11 games this season, Kuiper averaged 15.4 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.6 clearances, 2.1 inside 50s, 1.5 rebound 50s and 6.5 tackles in what was a reliable season across most matches. Not dipping below 12 disposals, Kuiper picked up at least three clearances in eight games, and had a season-high seven against Central District in Round 8. A taller midfielder who can use her strength to advantage, it was hard to fault Kuiper’s 2021 season.
Another inside ball-winner like Kuiper but as a smaller midfielder who won the majority of her touches in tight, Gepp averaged the 17.6 disposals, 3.9 tackles, 3.2 clearances and 2.1 marks. A stunning debut season was highlighted by a 36-disposal effort against Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in Round 5, while her clearance work was consistent with multiple clearances in every game. Gepp still has development to come but was eye-catching in her first SANFL Women’s season.
Coming into the side from Round 4, Jess Good became one of the most dominant tap rucks going around, with 28.5 per game, and after only 12 on debut, Good did not dip below 20 for the rest of the season. This included 46 and 42 hitout efforts against Glenelg and North Adelaide respectively, whilst finding 10 or more disposals in five of her matches. Good allowed Prowse to play in other roles, and really became that impressive starting ruck, finishing with 11.8 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3.0 tackles, 2.6 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s.
The Double Blues are one of the youngest sides going around, with State Academy members Georgia Swan, Alex Ballard and Hannah Prenzler all having their impressive games, whilst the likes of Jaimee Wittervan, Kate Harris and Maya Rigter stood out throughout the season. Kiera Mueller‘s influence late in the year was also eye-catching.
Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton