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 Norwood.
Position: 1st (lost in Preliminary Final)
Points For: 377 (3rd)
Points Against: 237 (1st)
Season in a Sentence: “It was an unfortunate sense of Déjà vu for Norwood, as the minor premiers once again did enough to make finals – and even finished on top of the table – but suffered back-to-back finals losses to ultimately go unrewarded despite a fantastic season.”
The experienced ruck was the standout performer all season, not only dominating through the hitouts, but also providing an option around the ground in her 12 games. Earning an AFLW Draft Combine invite – the oldest player in the country to do so – Cutting also earned SANFL Women’s Team of the Year honours. In season 2021, she averaged 12.7 disposals, 2.6 marks, 2.5 clearances, 2.2 inside 50s, a whopping 8.2 tackles and of course, 30.1 hitouts in what was a remarkable show of consistency all year. She only dropped into single-digit disposals twice, and less than 25 hitouts twice.
Able to show her wares at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Halfpenny spent more time in the midfield this year after predominantly being a half-forward and outside midfielder in previous season. Averaging 10.6 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.1 tackles and 2.5 inside 50s, Halfpenny still kicked the four goals, but also had the 1.7 clearances per game. With plenty of growth for development, Halfpenny was able to transition into a new role and look comfortable in 2021. The teenager also earned a place in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year.
Coming to the club this year, the experienced defender put together a memorable season, earning SANFL Women’s Team of the Year honours. In 13 games, Johnston averaged 11.2 disposals, 3.7 marks, 2.6 tackles and 2.6 rebound 50s, using her reliable foot skills out of defence to mop up time and time again. Not needing a lot of the ball to have an impact, Johnston was almost always amongst the best, only dipping into single digit disposals four times, and her season-best game game against Sturt in Round 3, when she inspired her side to a two-point win with 16 touches, seven marks and six rebound 50s.
As reliable as they come, Armitstead had another superb year, making the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year, and just playing her role each and every week. In all 13 games, Armitstead had at least 10 touches, playing midfield and then dropping back to assist the defence, or pushing forward to set up scoring chances for her teammates. Getting in and under, Armitstead was a renowned clearance player with 3.7 clearances and 5.8 tackles to go with 13.4 disposals and 2.2 inside 50s per game in a season where she was rock solid and symbolic of her side.
Norwood’s Rosette Zerella was the fifth player to make the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year, booting 13 goals in 10 games this season. Jess Macolino, Lana Schwerdt and Alison Ferrall were impressive all year, as Tesharna Maher‘s switch from the Eagles proved fruitful, and the likes of Elisha Gallagher, Najwa Allen and Elizabeth Drake played some consistent footy when they were in, showing off the depth of the Redlegs. State Academy members Alana Lishmund and Sarah Branford, and future talent Sachi Syme also had their eye-catching moments.
Picture credit: SANFL / John Emery