Category: SANFL

SANFL Women’s Round 7 preview: Contenders to lock horns in Super Saturday

ROUND 7 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition is almost like a finals series, with 1st against 4th, 2nd against 3rd, and then the bottom four teams facing off in a round that is sure to determine a lot of things in the run home to the finals series. All four games are being played tomorrow in a Super Saturday.

WEST ADELAIDE VS. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, July 11, 11.00am
Hisense Stadium

The opening game of the round is set to be the best of the lot with a battle of second up against third and two genuine title contenders going at it. The team with the most firepower up forward (West Adelaide) going up against the team that has the most balanced group of the past couple of seasons (South Adelaide) makes for essential viewing. The back-to-back reigning premiers will be hard to beat, but at home the Westies will push the Panthers all the way.

Key questions:

Which midfield will win the battle?

The answer to this question may well determine the match. Both midfields are loaded with talent, as the likes of Rachelle Martin, Abbie Ballard and Zoe Greer go up against Nicole Campbell, Hannah Munyard and a returning Czenya Cavouras.

Will West Adelaide’s high pressing defence work against South?

The Bloods have a highly effective system where the defenders hold a high line, constantly pushing teams back so when a quick kick comes out of the forward 50, there is a defender there ready to mark and send it back in. Madison Newman is particularly strong in this area, and with Newman and Keeley Kustermann both superb kicks off half-back, they are players that are so damaging for the game.

How will South Adelaide handle the toughest forward line?

South is renowned for its sturdy defence that meets every challenge thrown at it. This week it will be the biggest of the lot, with damaging talls in Melanie Elsegood and Chelsea Biddell, and the always dangerous Stevie-Lee Thompson. If the likes of Lauren Buchanan who returns back into the side this week, Jaslynne Smith and Samantha Pratt can contain them, then this will be a tight tussle.

Prediction: Too tight to call. South deserve favouritism and it is hard to tip against them. Every time you do, they find a way to win. But there is something about West Adelaide at the moment that screams they are ready to take the next step, so do not be surprised if the Westies get up in this one.

 

STURT VS. GLENELG
Saturday, July 11, 11.30am
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

In a battle of the sides that realistically could fight for a finals spot but are just not quite close enough, the youth of Sturt take on the experience of Glenelg. The Bays have been unlucky since loading up on AFL Women’s talent, pushing both North Adelaide and South Adelaide in the past fortnight. It is expected they will be keen to start strongly against a Sturt side that has plenty of bright future stars, and a strong defence, but have struggled to score.

Key questions:

Can Sturt kick a winning score?

No doubt Sturt’s defence is unbelievable. The likes of Hannah Prenzler, Jo-Anna Baltais and Alysha Healy all offer a different defensive aspect. This week Prenzler has been named at half-forward which could be the key to answering the question. Everyone knows Glenelg has the ability to kick a big score, but it will likely need to be a tight, low-scoring contest for Sturt to do the same.

Who will win the midfield battle?

Both these sides have very capable midfields with Sturt’s containing co-captain’s Maya Rigter and Georgia Bevan, as well as Isobel Kuipers, whilst the Tigers are led by Ebony Marinoff and Eloise Jones, and Ellie Kellock has been in some terrific form of late.

How much will AFLW experience count?

The Bays’ AFLW experience will be important up against an inexperienced side. Sturt will never stop throwing everything at its opposition, but Glenelg has enough firepower that it will continue to attack. Glenelg has had patches where the top two teams got on top and kicked multiple goals, so the Tigers will keen to not let that happen here.

Prediction: Glenelg’s experience should see them home here, but Sturt will make life difficult for them so expect a low-scoring battle.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS VS. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, July 11, 1.15pm
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Both Woodville-West Torrens and Central District have shown they are much more competitive in year two compared to their inaugural year last year, which is great for the competition as a while. Central grabbed an early win in Round 1, whilst the Eagles snaffled one back in Round 4 just before the season was suspended. This match could be an interesting one because one team is more than capable of moving the ball well, it is just about finding the right targets going forward, whilst the other is a fierce defensive side that wears down its opposition.

Key questions:

Where can Central take the advantage?

The Bulldogs’ spine is stronger with genuine talls at either end in the form of Sarah Allan and Katelyn Rosenzweig, with the former spending the majority of her time through the ruck last week too. Central is a side that opposition teams have to play well against to beat, because the Bulldogs are not going to just let you win. The Bulldogs have found a way to share the scoring load since the break, so now have multiple threats up there, such as Shannon Murphy who kicked two majors.

Where can Eagles take the advantage?

Woodville-West Torrens’ tackling is the best in the business. They make sure the opposition is feeling it throughout games and earn every touch. If their tackles stick, it will go a long way to winning because they can shut down the Bulldogs running game. Central’s style looks good when it moves, but it is often that last kick inside 50 that can sometimes miss and the Bulldogs will know the Eagles will bring the heat. Jess Sedunary has been a massive inclusion fo the Eagles, and Jovanka Zecevic and Amie Blanden – funnily enough the Eagles’ half-forward line this week – have been amongst their most consistent players.

What are some of the key match ups?

A potential young guns match up that could be huge to see if they ended up going head-to-head would be Latiah Huynh (Central) up against Charlotte Dolan (Eagles). Both are not afraid to move the ball, both are courageous and both are fierce at the contest when needing to be. Along with that, a vital match up at opposite ends would be Demi Sonneman up against Kiana Lee, and Ashlee Reid potentially trying to quell Katelyn Rosenzweig. There are no shortage of big one-on-ones here.

Prediction: Another one too close to call. Really like the way both sides have taken it up to the opposition the last few weeks, but Central in particular with the style were great against South and it might hold up here for the Bulldogs’ second win.

 

NORTH ADELAIDE VS. NORWOOD
Saturday, July 11, 1.40pm
Prospect Oval

A massive clash that will have huge ramifications on the run to the finals is up next with the other top four head-to-head between North Adelaide and Norwood. The Roosters are yet to lose this season, keen to avenge their grand final loss in 2019, while the minor premiers from last season have had to undergo some rebuilding with a lot of players being drafted – including their coach – into the AFL Women’s. A number of them have returned and Norwood have been able to string a couple of wins together since the break, but this is a huge test here. If they win, they draw level with West Adelaide, while North run the risk of South catching them at the top. It also means there would be up to a five-point gap between the top four and bottom four, all but guaranteeing the finals teams.

Key questions:

Does North Adelaide have an Achilles heel?

With six wins on the trot and answering every challenge thrown at them, it is hard to point out a weakness in the side. The defence is sturdy and reliable, the midfield is elite, the forward line has a nice mix of talls and smalls, and the depth is very impressive. However like any side, the key is winning the ball out of the midfield, because if they do not do that, it is hard to pile on the high scores that they do. It is imperative that Norwood win the midfield battle if they are to go on their way to claim victory. North Adelaide have not lost for a reason.

How much will the ruck battle play a role?

Leah Cutting is clearly one of, if not the standout ruck in the competition from a state league perspective, whilst Bek Rasheed has come in this season but shown some promising signs for the Redlegs. Most will expect Cutting to win that battle – and she will need to in order to give her midfielders a chance – but if Rasheed can nullify or get on top, then North is already a step ahead. Given North’s midfield of Anne Hatchard, Leah Tynan and Ashleigh Woodland with Katelyn Pope providing the dash off the wing, it will be a difficult one to stop.

How does Norwood kick a winning score against North?

The Roosters lowest score this year is 4.1 (25) and Glenelg’s identical score last week was the highest score against the Roosters. South pushed them all the way in Round 4, and the Redlegs are the only team yet to face them. Norwood on the other hand have score more than four goals once – in the win against Central in Round 5 – so you have to think they will need to do it again to win here. They have the potential through the likes of Alison Ferrall and Mattea Breed who both booted three goals in that aforementioned victory, whilst the midfield of Najwa Allen, Monique Hollick and Jess Macolino can all get forward and contribute. Norwood often has a rolling forward line with a lot of midfielders rotating through there which can also be a huge help. Unfortunately for the Redlegs, North’s defence is the best in the competition with Kristi Harvey and Amber Ward superb rebounders, and now Talia Radan back there too.

Prediction: It is just too hard to look past North. Norwood will give it a real shake and have the talent to do it, but the Roosters just keep getting it done each and every week and it is hard to see them getting beaten.

2020 SANFL Round 3 Preview: Sides prepare to build momentum

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) is back again this weekend, with Round 3 kicking off and teams hoping to generate some momentum.

Central Districts vs South Adelaide

League: 

The Bulldogs and Panthers were both involved in tight finishes on Sunday, but ultimately failed to take home the two points. However, Central Districts recorded their first points of the new year after drawing with West Adelaide in the final match of round two. Moments before the Dogs and Bloods took to the field, South Adelaide mounted a remarkable comeback against the reigning premiers, Glenelg. Down by 45 points at three quarter time, the Panthers rallied to stem the margin to within a goal with two minutes left on the clock. The Bays held their nerve to survive an almighty scare, but South Adelaide would have drawn confidence from their ability to score heavily in quick succession. Central Districts also struggled early against West Adelaide. After trailing for all of the match, the Doggies piled on goal-after-goal in the last quarter and took the lead, only for the Bloods to square things up before the final siren sounded.

Central Districts’ reliable captain Luke Habel will again look to set his side up from half-back, after accumulating 23 disposals and five rebound-50s last weekend. Joseph Haines (22 disposals, seven marks and seven rebound-50s) played a similar role for South Adelaide, helping orchestrate much of South’s drive from defence, whilst also spending some time on the wing. He may be directed to pay close attention to Central’s Nicholas Lange after his strong performance. Last round, Panthers key defenders Jake Summerton and Ben Haren faced the daunting task of matching up against Glenelg’s dynamic duo Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds and fought admirably, restricting the gun pair to two goals each.

Veteran South Adelaide midfielder Joel Cross has started the season on fire, accumulating an equal league-leading 58 possessions in two matches. In the absence of captain Matt Rose, who will miss 12 weeks with a shoulder injury, Cross was typically prolific around the stoppages against West, finishing the outing with seven clearances. He could go head-to-head in the midfield with Bulldogs gun James Boyd, who has been excellent since returning to Elizabeth after a stint with Woodville-West Torrens. Jarrod Schiller managed just 14 touches against West, but his pressure around the contest and tackling were excellent. Meanwhile, Panthers midfielder Ben Heaslip got things moving for the blue and white, finishing with six inside 50s. He also used his strong 189cm frame to assert himself around the ball, laying seven tackles. Prized Panthers recruit Matthew Broadbent has made a strong first impression at Noarlunga. Despite having been deployed as an attacking-defender during his time at Port Adelaide, Broadbent has spent more time around the ball for South. Bulldogs ruckman Jonathan Marsh battled hard against dominant West Adelaide tall Andre Parrella and this week appears set to do-battle with 21-year-old Panthers ruckman Cameron McGree, who was soundly beaten by Tiger Jack Hannath in just his third game of league football.

The Panthers coaching staff will have been encouraged by the performances of their young small forwards so far. The talented Hayden Sampson continues to go from strength-to-strength, having booted three-straight in the Panthers loss. Fellow smalls Luke Bogle, Eamon Wilkinson and Liam Fitt each kicked two goals, as did full-forward Sam Overall. Although Beau McCreery was quiet against Glenelg, he was excellent on debut in round one. With luckless forward Daniel Menzel ruled out for the season with an ankle injury, Central Districts assistant coach John Butcher took it upon himself to lend a hand in attack. He booted three goals in the draw whilst potential draftee Corey Durdin and former-Blue and Crow Troy Menzel both nailed two. However wingman, Lange stole the show in just his second league match, booting four goals, laying six tackles and taking five marks. Instrumental in the Bulldogs comeback, Lange has emerged as one of the leagues best outside midfielders and poses a genuine offensive threat to South Adelaide’s on-ballers.

Needless to say, both sides will be hoping for fast starts in this encounter. The Panthers got through relatively unscathed in their round two encounter and could regain Malcolm Karpany for the battle at X Convenience Oval. For the Bulldogs, full-back Ryan Falkenberg will miss a month of football after sustaining a calf injury.

Reserves: 

The Bulldogs and Panthers reserves sides will lock-horns following the league match. The Bulldogs remain undefeated in the second-tier competition, after defeating West last weekend. Alternatively, South are still searching for their first scalp of the year after going down to Glenelg by 29-points. The Panthers will likely be without ruckman Damon Freitag, after he injured his ankle.

Under-18s: 

The Central Districts Under-18s will travel south to Flinders University Oval to clash with the Panthers late on Saturday morning. The Panthers midfield has been impressive so far, with rugged skipper Nick Kraemer impressing alongside ultra-talented bottom-agers Jason Horne and Matty Roberts. The brilliant duo, who starred for SA at last year’s Under-16 National Championships, are certainly two to look out for, having combined for a staggering 63 disposals, 22 marks, 18 tackles and 19 clearances in the loss to Glenelg. The Bulldogs can also lay claim to a promising bottom-aged midfielder in Austin McDonald. He has been the standout for the Bulldogs so far. The bottom-agers might steal the show in this one.

 

Glenelg vs North Adelaide

League: 

Only one team will remain undefeated after North Adelaide heads to the bay to face Glenelg on Saturday afternoon. Glenelg have prevailed by the skin of their teeth in their two matches, first defeating Norwood by three points before eclipsing the Panthers by five. The rejuvenated Roosters kicked off their campaign with a comprehensive win over West and backed it up with a narrow victory over the Redlegs. However the reigning premiers are without a doubt the team to beat and will be a tough challenge for Jacob Surjan‘s chargers, particularly away from home. The Roosters appear to be back to their free-flowing style of football which saw them win it all in 2018, but we’ll know for sure if they mean business if they can match it with the Tigers.

Tigers skipper Max Proud and Matt Merrett will likely be tasked with stopping threatening duo Mitch Harvey or Keenan Ramsey, with Chris Curran expected to provide his trademark rebound. New recruit Jackson Edwards has also performed well down back alongside teenager Luke Parks. For the Roosters, classy half-back Jarrad Almond and small defender Elliott Chalmers will play pivotal roles against their former side. Cameron Craig and Tanner Smith will attempt to nullify the influence of Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds. Young key defender Karl Finlay may also be called upon to provide support, whilst talented Roosters recruit Harrison Wigg will be looking to utilise his damaging left-foot to generate drive from the defensive 50.

The midfield battle is tantalising. After a slightly subdued start to the season, Magarey Medalist Luke Partington was back to his best on the weekend, nailing three goals and accumulating 35 disposals to go with six marks, nine clearances and six inside 50s. Matthew Snook has also been at his best in the trenches and currently sits equal-first in the league for disposals. Restricting their dominance at the stoppages will be the number one focus for Surjan and his coaching staff during the week. But after some handy off-season wheeling-and-dealing, the Roosters have a strong midfield of their own, led by vice-captain Andrew Moore and former-Hawk Billy Hartung. The pair have acclimatised well to SANFL football, with both proving their worth in the middle against the ‘Legs. But it has been inside midfielder Campbell Combe who has really impressed for North. Not only did he accumulate 29 touches against Norwood, but he also laid no-less-than 15 tackles. An old-school, in-and-under extractor, Combe and hard-nosed Glenelg midfielder Bradley Agnew are two of the league’s most ferocious tacklers and will be expected to fight hard for their sides in the middle. Despite being drafted by West Coast as a key position player, Matt Allen has proven himself in the guts for the Tigers and popped up to hit the scoreboard last week. Allen and fellow-recruit Billy Stretch have further added to a Tigers midfield which was already brimming with talent. Club captain Alex Spina, recruit Cameron Hewett and vice-skipper Tom Schwarz, who will play his 100th SANFL game, have also been strong across the midfield for the red and white. Glenelg’s Jack Hannath will have his sights set on continuing his strong early season form against North’s James Craig.

The Roosters and Tigers forward-lines feature some of the games most exciting talent. Glenelg’s attack in largely centred around tall timber Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds, who finished first and second in the league for goals last season. North Adelaide’s mosquito fleet, comprised of skilful young gun Frank Szekely, former-Blue Kym LeBois and speedster Robbie Young, have the potential to carve-up even the dourest of defences. Glenelg’s Cory Gregson, Marlon Motlop and Darcy Bailey are well-known threats forward-of-centre and will be a handful for the Roosters small defenders. Keenan Ramsey and Mitch Harvey have provided excellent service for North Adelaide over several years, with the latter converting two important set shots in last Saturday’s win. Lewis Hender will also be eyeing off another bag in his return to Glenelg, where he spent much of his junior career.

The two sides will by eagerly awaited the fitness tests of Alex Barns (North Adelaide) and Carl Nicholson (Glenelg) after they both suffered from concussion in last weekends respective triumphs. North may also regain Ben Jarman from an ankle injury. All eyes will be fixed on ACH Group Stadium on Saturday arvo for what appears set to be a cracking contest.

Reserves: 

The reserves will take to the field a couple of hours before the league sides do battle. Glenelg is yet to loose a match at league, reserves or Under-18s level so far in season 2020, but North Adelaide’s seconds will be full of confidence after beating a talented Norwood line-up by 15-points in hostile territory last Sunday. Keep an eye on promising draft hopeful Cooper Horsnell for Glenelg and North’s Harrison Magor.

Under-18s:

With draft prospect Kaine Baldwin set to miss a second-consecutive season after succumbing to another anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, key forward Riley Holder stepped up, booting four goals in the win over South Adelaide. Prolific Sacred Heart College duo Lewis Rayson and Xavier Robins have made strong starts to the year in the yellow and black. Luke Edwards looks set to front-up for the Under-18s once again, however he could push for reserves selection off the back of a series of promising showings. North Adelaide’s Under-18s were beaten by a strong Norwood outfit in round two, despite the best efforts of skipper Jamison Murphy and midfielder Kallis Freer. Able to turn a game on its head, eye-catching forward Tariek Newchurch will certainly keep the Bays defenders on their toes.

 

Woodville-West Torrens vs Norwood

League: 

After loosing close encounters to Glenelg and North Adelaide, the Redlegs will be eyeing off their first win of the season when they head to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Sunday afternoon to face Woodville-West Torrens. The Eagles league-leading percentage helped them rise to third spot on the ladder following a comprehensive dismantling of the Double Blues last weekend.

Zac Richards was arguably Norwood’s best afield in the loss to the Roosters, gathering 29 disposals, ten marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and three rebound-50s in his role across half-back and through the midfield. He also kicked a goal to continue his strong start to the season. Cameron Shenton was also named in the sides best players after generating plenty of drive from defence and accumulating seven rebound-50s. Brad McKenzie was similarly effective coming out of defence, providing his side with nine rebounds. Key defender Cameron Ball will likely match up against one of the Hayes brothers and could receive some help by the potential inclusion of Michael Talia. Down back for the Eagles, the key defensive pairing of Jake Von Bertouch and Luke Thompson will be tasked with stopping Norwood taels Tom Pinyon and big-man Luke Surman. The experienced Patrick Giuffreda will be relied upon to blanket one of the Redlegs’ damaging small forwards, with recruit Pierce Seymour expected to provide plenty of bounce from the backline.

The midfield battle is likely the greatest strength of this Norwood side, with the likes of Mitch Grigg, Matthew Panos and Matty Nunn consistently ranked amongst the leagues best players. Along with new recruits Richard Douglas and Ryan Bastinac, Norwood has certainly benefitted from the scoreboard impact of their midfielders over the past few years. It certainly helps when are provided silver-service by dominant ruckman Sam Baulderstone. The experienced bigman was terrific around the ground against North, gathering 19 disposals, a goal, five marks and 34 hitouts. However his six clearances were perhaps most impressive. However Eagles ruckman Jarrad Redden and pinch-hitter Jack Hayes have been in some excellent form themselves, combining for 32 disposals, 49 hitouts and ten clearances between them against Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks last round. Eagles midfielders Jimmy Toumpas and Matthew Goldsworthy have hit some good form early on, with the former gathering 27 disposals, five tackles and five clearances against Sturt, whilst the latter nailed two goals from his 23 touches and eight inside-50s. The Eagles will need wingman Jake Comitogianni, mainstay Angus Poole, bash-and-crash inside midfielder Jesse Lonergan and reigning best and fairest Jordan Foote to be on their game if they are to match it with the talented Norwood on-ball unit.

Small forwards James Rowe (Woodville-West Torrens) and Peter Bampton (Norwood) have both proven to be key components of their respective sides forward lines. Both genuine goal kickers, Rowe has started the season well, kicking six goals in two games, whilst Bampton has booted two. Nick Hayes and Jack Hayes have long been the focal point of the Eagles attack and will again prove a difficult match-up for Norwood’s key defenders, particularly in the air. Both are capable of hauling in big grabs and got plenty of time with ball in hand last week, combining for 31 possessions. Youngster Lachlan McNeil also got himself involved in his supporting role up forward, however he will wish he had converted his two behinds into majors. The Eagles simply must restrict the scoreboard impact of the Norwood midfielders, given their potency in-front of goal. Usually a defender, Von Bertouch booted three goals for the Eagles when moved from defence to the forward-line and adds to the threat posed by Woodville-West Torrens’ forward-line.

Norwood will be hopeful young gun Cole Gerloff and half-backman Nick Pedro can overcome their ankle injuries, whilst the Eagles’ Joseph Sinor and Angus Poole will face fitness tests after sustaining concussion and nose injuries in the win over Sturt.

Reserves: 

The two clubs reserves sides will play in the curtain raiser before the league sides do battle, in a re-match of the 2019 reserves Grand Final. The Eagles will certainly be seeking revenge for their loss in last years final day and again appear one of the teams to beat in the second-tier of SANFL football, having recorded wins over South Adelaide and Sturt to kick-off the new season. Meanwhile, Norwood’s title defence has started slowly, recording losses to the Tigers and Roosters in recent weeks.

Under-18s: 

The Redlegs Under-18s looked impressive in their win over North Adelaide on the weekend. Bottom-ager Cooper Murley was terrific in the midfield and up-forward and already appears one of the standouts of the under-18s competition. Prolific defenders Michael Cavallaro and Matthew Dnistriansky were everywhere in the opening fortnight of action, generating much of Norwood’s rebound from defence. For the Eagles, who remain winless, look out for SA Academy Hub member and potential Power father-son selection Taj Schofield.

 

Sturt vs West Adelaide

League: 

The Double Blues kicked just one goal in the second half last week and coach Nathan Grima will be demanding a response on home soil against West Adelaide. The Bloods, on the other hand, were left to rue some inaccurate kicking in-front of goal in the dramatic draw to Central Districts. However there were some encouraging signs shown by several of West’s youngsters.

The aerial work of key defender Sam Wundke was one of few bright-spots in Sturt’s 51-point loss at the hands of Woodville-West Torrens. He took three strong contested marks (five marks in total) and provided excellent rebound from the backline, finishing with eleven rebound 50s to go with 22 disposals. Young defender Malachi Lines didn’t get a lot of the ball (eight disposals) but showed some promise on debut. Veteran small defender Aaron Anderson was the standout down back for the Bloods, accumulating 26 disposals and three rebounds from defence. Elliott Dunkin also continues to show why he received some attention from AFL ranks towards the end of the 2019 season. His rebound from defence, athleticism and shut-down ability may worry the Double Blues forwards. Logan Hill was also good in the draw, whilst full-back Josh Ryan could be tasked with clamping down on Sturt forward Jake Sutcliffe.

Casey Voss was arguably Sturt’s best player on the weekend. Starting on-ball, the son of Brisbane great Michael, proved he belongs at the level in just his third league match. He racked up 24 touches and kicked a goal but it was the 19-year-old’s work around the stoppages which really stood-out, amassing seven clearances. Whilst much of the Bloods attention may be directed towards established on-ballers James Battersby, Mark EvansSam Colqhoun and Zane Kirkwood, they must be wary of newcomer Voss’ abilities around the contest. Voss’ on-ball partnership with fellow 19-year-old Jed McEntee would have impressed Grima. McEntee, a member of SA’s 2019 National Championship side, laid a game-high ten tackles to demonstrate his toughness and excellent defensive pressure. However West’s Kaine Stevens won’t be afraid to teach the fresh faces a few lessons around the ball. His 12 clearances, 26 disposals and five tackles proved invaluable in the Bloods engine room against Centrals. Josh Schiller has had a tough-run with injuries lately, but the inside midfielder’s toughness and contested-ball winning will be vital against Sturt’s talented on-ball unit. Former-Crows top-up player Jordon Boyle has been terrific in his new colours, collecting 55 disposals at 82 per cent efficiency in the opening two games on the wing for the Bloods. Dallas Willsmore‘s link-up ability has also been a feature of the Bloods game-style. The ruck battle between West Adelaide’s Andre Parrella and Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks is intriguing and could prove telling, given they sit first and second in the league for hit-outs, respectively. The athletic Fahey-Sparks has impressed so far in 2020. His tap-work has been strong (accumulated 33 hit-outs against Woodville-West Torrens’ Redden and Hayes last week) and his ability around the ground will get the better of many SANFL ruckman. However the 22-year-old Parrella will prove to be his toughest test yet. The big-man has had a monster start to the season, recording a whopping 92 hit-outs in two matches.

Up-forward, its hard to look past West Adelaide’s ultra-talented draft prospect Riley Thilthorpe. He kicked 1.2 against Central Districts and showed a willingness to get involved around the ground when helping out in the ruck, accumulating ten disposals, 15 hit-outs, five tackles and five marks (two contested). Thilthorpe and skipper Tom Keough, who booted three goals on the weekend, will prove a handful for a Sturt backline without premiership-duo Jack Stephens and Fraser Evans, who both retired in the off-season. Lydon Hupfield has started the year well as a small forward, providing the line-up with energy and goal-sense. Sturt has yet to see the best of boom-recruit Abe Davis, who has failed to fire so far in season 2020. However his strong frame will always ensure he is a danger in attack, along with smalls Josh Hone and Byron Sumner. Athletic tall forward Ash Johnson was electric on debut, taking four contested marks and booting three goals, however he was kept to just one kick against Woodville-West Torrens. However he still managed to break into the highlight real when he almost took an instant mark of the year contender. His liveliness up forward is infectious and presents as another threatening Sturt forward.

The Bloods didn’t pick up an injury during the clash with the Bulldogs, but young forward Josh Koster is still at least a fortnight away from returning from a hamstring complaint. Tom Harms will likely miss another game with a calf injury, but pocket rocket on-baller Tom Lewis could be included for his league debut after making the extended bench last weekend.

Reserves:

Sturt and Westies will play each other at Peter Motley Oval in a curtain-raiser to the league match. Sturt are still searching for their first win of the season whilst West will be looking to return to winning ways after being defeated by a strong Central Districts seconds by 35-points last weekend.

Under-18s: 

A couple of South Australia’s most talented junior midfielders will face-off when Sturt’s under-18s meet West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium. Sturt’s Tom Powell and Mani Liddy have been utterly dominant across the opening two rounds for the Double Blues. Both prolific but quite different in their playing styles, the duo will go head-to-head in an exciting battle against West Adelaide’s Bailey Chamberlain and Lachlan De Cesare. Also watch-out for Sturt forward Morgan Ferres, who bagged six goals against the Eagles. The Double Blues will go in as favourites and have emerged as front-runners of the Under-18s competition, alongside Glenelg.

SANFL Women’s Round 6 Sunday wraps: West and North continue form with impressive wins

THERE is now a three-point gap (one and a half wins) between fourth and fifth in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition. As North Adelaide, South Adelaide, West Adelaide and Norwood all claimed victories, it gave the four sides some breathing space inside the top four from Sturt, Woodville-West Torrens, Glenelg and Central District in the bottom four. This is part two of the two-article wrap with the two Sunday games.

WEST ADELAIDE 2.1 | 3.5 | 4.6 | 6.7 (43)
STURT 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.3 (9)

GOALS:

West: M. Elsegood 2, A. Ballard, A. Hardwick, C. Biddell, S. Thompson.
Sturt: A. Ballard.

ADC BEST:

West: R. Martin, M. Newman, K. Kustermann, C. Biddell, A. Ballard
Sturt: Z. Prowse, A. Brown, G. Bevan, L. Griffith, E. Dawes

West Adelaide reminded SANFL Women’s fans that they are a genuine title contender following a 34-point triumph over Sturt. The Bloods booted the first six goals of the game and 13 of the first 15 scoring shots, whilst holding the Double Blues goalless until the last few minutes of the game. In a surprise to no one, Rachelle Martin and Madison Newman were among the best once again, with another young gun in Keeley Kustermann also impressive, as was key forward Chelsea Biddell. For the Double Blues, it was a spirited effort but could not enough meaningful chances on goal despite the best work of Zoe Prowse who starred for four quarters through the ruck.

The first term saw some of the players who would go on to impress really make their mark. The ruck duel between Prowse and the stronger and taller, Kate Walsh was one that had its ebbs and flows within the contest. The match itself not so much with the Bloods always in control, but never entirely safe as the Double Blues continued to hang around for two and a half quarters. The intensity was very good early with Sturt earning the first inside 50 of the day through co-captain Georgia Bevan, but as would become the case, West Adelaide had the numbers to clear. Eventually captain Lauren Rodato would rush the ball through for the first score of the day to the Double Blues, their only score of the first half.

Up the other end, Kustermann provided a great highlight by hitting the ground ball at full speed amongst congestion at half-forward and kicking inside 50. A couple of failed attempts at quick kicks later, and Melanie Elsegood snapped around her body for the game’s first major. It had come after Biddell had marked a searing pass from Newman a few minutes early in the pocket but missed to the right.

Bevan and Rigter were burrowing in at the stoppages to try and get the all free, but were equally matched by Martin, Abbie Ballard and Stevie-Lee Thompson. When Sturt did get it forward, it was a sea of West Adelaide defenders camped back there with a high line that stopped the easy and deep inside 50. Led by Newman and Kustermann with their sublime kicking, the Westies continually repelled the ball out of danger. Sturt’s defensive pressure inside its back 50 was also strong with Prowse having a huge game already through the ruck.

The Double Blues perhaps had their best chance when Arabella Brown found fellow youngster Hannah Prenzler who got it to a third teenager in Alex Ballard. She tried the checkside shot from the boundary but it bounced out of bounds to the Double Blues dismay. Elsie Dawes was impressing as well for Sturt, but Martin combining with Walsh out of the ruck was causing all sorts of havoc. However it was Newman’s penetrating boot that was the difference as she ran through midfield and hit up Abby Hardwick inside 50. Hardwick gave the handball off to give herself time to balance, received it back, ran in to about 25m out and put the ball straight through the middle to hand her team a 12-point lead the first break.

West Adelaide continued attacking in the second term and the high line held by defenders at half-forward – risking all the space over the back if Sturt got there – was proving successful. As soon as Sturt defenders would throw it on the boot to clear it, the likes of Newman and co. were waiting to pump it straight back in. Both Ballards were having solid games for their respective sides, with Alex Ballard taking a big grab on the wing as one of the early highlights in the term.

A 25m penalty awarded in favour of West Adelaide for Sturt not returning the ball after a free kick could have been costly, but resulted in just one behind, though most of West Adelaide’s prime movers were up and about. Thompson was working hard in the midfield, Elsegood and Biddell were providing leads, and Martin was winning a truckload of contested ball and clearances. Elsegood actually had a chance to snap for goal after a brilliant end-to-end play, but her snap just missed and bounced the wrong side of the post.

As the time ticked past 10 minutes, neither side could score a major, and it took until the 14-minute mark for a series of soccer attempts to make it happen. After winning a free kick, Isobel Kuipers looked to put the ball outside defensive 50, but again West Adelaide were up to the task and kicked deep. The ball was spoiled and Biddell quickly got boot to ball in the goalsquare to roll towards the line, only for Abbie Ballard to come in to provide an extra push with her boot and claim the only goal of the third term. Gretel Ramsay almost kicked a second after the siren following a huge run-down tackle, but her shot fell short and the Westies headed into the main break 22 points up.

Rigter stepped up in the second half and for a bit went head-to-head with Thompson as the two fierce tacklers would not give an inch. Amy Brooks-Birve had the first set shot for goal 40m out for Sturt, but it drifted far right and out on the full. In the next passage of play down the field, Thompson had the almost-highlight of the game, taking a couple of bounces, evading a couple of opponents and drilling a sharp pass inside 50. Sturt defender, Jo-Anna Baltais read the pass though and threw herself in the ball’s trajectory like a slips catch to intercept and save a certain goal.

Another behind to Biddell followed after standing up in a tackle, as she was not quite able to find her range. But when she did, it was something special. Kustermann had a free kick on the wing and put a perfectly weighted pass into Biddell in a pack with the ball fortuitously falling into her lap. Having to take a shot from 50m out, she looked like passing, but then launched a massive kick that not only sailed through the big sticks, but cleared it fairly comfortably. It would hand her side a 29-point lead.

Lane Trenorden had a chance for Sturt not long after with the ball mostly being played between the arcs. Once the Double Blues got it inside 50, Trenorden sidestepped a would-be tackler on the run to take a shot but it drifted to the right for Sturt’s second score since the first of the game. Elsegood had a chance to increase the margin on a tight angle 20m out 11 minutes into the term, but she shanked it off to the right and out on the full. The teams both had chances inside 50s, but big tackles from Prenzler and Thompson up the West Adelaide attacking end were terrific, and the quarter ended with the Bloods up by 28.

West Adelaide put an exclamation mark on their performance in the first half of the final term, with Walsh and Martin combining at the stoppages time and time again as Prowse was not afforded the leap she had been given earlier in the game, and Walsh was using her larger frame to plant herself where she could contend with her young opponent and still win the tap. A quick kick forward went to Elsegood two and a half minutes into the term, with the key forward making no mistake from the set shot for her second of the contest.

Emma Smith and Alex Ballard were looking good kicking inside 50 up opposite ends, but both balls were intercepted. Brown continued to provide a target and run hard i the forward half of the ground and be a link in the chain for the Double Blues. Baltais was ginger after a contest and had to be helped up, and in the mean time the ball went forward to Elsegood. Sensing she was at too sharp of an angle – right next to the behind post – she kicked inboard to Biddell who was further out but a slightly better angle. Unfortunately she missed again, this time to the right.

Lucy Griffith had a nice passage of play in the middle to find Alysha Healy – who had been strong defensively with timely spoils and intercept possessions in the match – but again the kick to the forward 50 was picked off by the West Adelaide defence. This time it was Newman who fired long and the Bloods were over the back and away. Zoe Greer got involved at half-forward and kicked the ball towards goal. It was all the experienced goalsneak Thompson needed as she read the play well, got goalside and booted it home for the easiest of goals an a game-high 41-point lead with seven minutes remaining.

It would be the last score of the day for West Adelaide, and the last few minutes of the match belonged to Sturt. They finally got some meaningly chances deep, though not easily. Georgia Swan was involved twice in a passage of play for the Double Blues, getting it deep, only for a clearing kick to come back. Ironically the quick kick was greeted by the Sturt high defence, and Prenzler marked to pass to Bevan inside 50 who tried honouring a lead closer. Nothing came of that chance, but the ball was now locked in Sturt’s forward 50, and eventually after a couple of chances, Sturt earned a free kick with Alex Ballard the recipient. The top-age talent kicked the visiting side’s only goal of the game in the last few minutes from 15m out with no problems whatsoever.

Tiah Hough got involved on debut with a couple of nice touches late in the match and earning a free kick. She sent the ball forward and the Double Blues finished the match with a couple of attempts through Bevan, Brown, Rigter and Prowse, but the latter was the only one that carried near the distance with less pressure and the West Adelaide defence rushed it across the line to end the game and win by 34 points.

GLENELG 0.0 | 1.0 | 3.1 | 4.1 (25)
NORTH ADELAIDE 1.3 | 3.4 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS:

Glenelg: E. Jones 2, L. Kenny, M. Affolter.
North: A. Hatchard 2, K. Barltrop, T. Gordon, C. Taylor, C. Castle.

ADC BEST:

Glenelg: E. Jones, L. Fisher, S. Franson, E. Kellock, M. Freeman
North: A. Hatchard, K. Harvey, A. Ward, K. Pope, H. Ewings

North Adelaide’s ability to score against momentum eventually weathered down a gallant Glenelg side during an 18-point win to remain undefeated in the SANFL Women’s competition. The Roosters had the run for most of the term, but two goals in a minute from Eloise Jones during a fierce third term resulted in the Tigers drawing within a couple of points. With only three inside 50s for the term, the Roosters booted 2.1 late to all but secure the victory in an impressive performance.

The most watched battle of the game would be Ebony Marinoff up against Adelaide Crows teammate, Anne Hatchard in the midfield. It did not disappoint with the pair lining up on one another and it was Hatchard winning the first duel with her kick going forward and the next stoppage saw Kelly Barltrop mark on the lead just 40 seconds into the game. The Roosters leading goalkicker from last year had no troubles putting that through to hand her team the early lead.

Lauren Daniel released Hannah Ewings with the handball out of the pack at half-forward not long after, but the flying shot from the teenager went to the right and out on the full. Moments later a free kick was plucked out to Cristie Castle on the other side of the forward 50 in the fluorescent boots, but her shot from 30m out at a 45-degree angle drifted way right for a behind. North’s forward pressure was good in the opening few minutes, forcing kicks to be perfect, and when they were to the Roosters rebounded.

Good positioning by Sam Franson at half-back led to the Tigers entering their forward half for the first time, but could not get it into the 50 as the Tigers rebounded. Glenelg was trying to scrum it forward and finally got inside 50 with a short kick by Julia Clark was well positioned under pressure to mark. The kicking by North was spot on as Amber Ward and Clark were mopping up at the back. Ward was a rock at half-back taking a big intercept mark and kick forward.

Most of the midpoint of the term was played between the arcs as the Tigers pressed, but the Roosters always had a number at the back to either tackle or mop up. Ellie Kellock had a great chance for the Tigers when a quick kick from a Roosters defender under pressure landed in her lap, but her subsequent kick quick was spoiled before it could reach its intended target. Glenelg had stopped the early scoring with the last half of the term in their quarter, but had not been able to score themselves.

A highlight of the term was when Roosters’ full-back Kristi Harvey flew high for a big grab to intercept but could not quite bring it down. Ewings got run down at half-back but was good enough to quickly get her hands down. Despite North Adelaide running it down, Kellock had a couple of great plays, first to intercept a mark, but when her teammate was run down after a handball, she chased the Rooster running into goal forcing her opposition’s kick to fall short and Marinoff mopped up on the last line.

Lauren Daniel had a run with the give-and-go in the last couple of minutes but again was intercepted by the Tigers at half-back. Then Katelyn Pope found Leah Tynan in the middle with the ball down to Hatchard who drilled the ball in but was brilliantly read by Lauren Fisher to be in front of Barltrop and take a strong intercept mark. Moments later with less than a couple of minutes left, a terrific releasing handball from Pope to Daniel got the ball forward for another chance, but it ended in just one behind with the siren going not long after.

The second term saw the Roosters extend their lead on the game by booting a couple of goals, with only four minutes needed until Castle slotted her first. The opportunistic forward got goal side and ran onto the ball to kick truly on the run and hand her side a 15-0 lead. Ewings provided an almost play-of-the-day by getting free out the back as an end-to-end play developed and the teenager marked and kept running towards goal, only to pull her kick to the right and narrowly miss after taking a few bounces.

Up either end, the defences were playing well with Fisher impressive on Barltrop since that first 40 seconds, and Kendall Howell doing well rebounding off half-back for the Roosters. The forward pressure of Glenelg finally had some success 11 minutes into the term. Molly Affolter laid a strong tackle on Harvey to earn a free kick and just popped it through from 20m out for what would be the Tigers’ only score of the first half. They had got it back to 10 points, but a North response was coming.

Late in the term a huge free kick was picked out to Charlotte Taylor just 15m out straight in front. She duly delivered and the Roosters went up by 16 again with a couple of minutes remaining. It would be the last score of the term as the Roosters headed into the main break with a 3.4 to 1.0. Hatchard, Harvey, Howell, Ewings and Daniel were among the most prominent for the Roosters in the first half, while Kellock, Franson and Fisher had been impressive for the Tigers.

North Adelaide started the third attacking, but could not get the extra handball clear inside 50 before being closed down, forcing a turnover and Glenelg to repel up the ground. Getting it forward themselves, the Tigers looked good running it down the ground, but Harvey was there to stop it again. Then up stepped Jones.

The Crows forward was yet to have a huge impact, but a big tackle inside 50 was rewarded with holding the ball and she had no troubles from 35m out straight in front putting it through for the first of the term. Moments later, she did it again, with the ball rushed down inside 50 and Jones snapping around her body for two goals in a minute and the margin was cut down to four points in the blink of an eye.

Suddenly the Roosters were under pressure and everything was working for the Tigers. They were fiercely attacking and the Roosters were second guessing themselves inside 50. Jones had a remarkable third shot on goal but it just fell short. Hatchard tried to run it out but even she could not clear a Glenelg wall at half-back. Jones pulled out the party tricks by selling the dummy close to goal, but slipped and was forced to give off the handball.

As much as Glenelg – mainly Jones who had another kick inside 50 – were attacking, the Roosters defence led by the likes of Ward and Harvey were holding firm. Bek Rasheed took a really strong intercept mark in defence and got it back outside 50, but again the Roosters were under all sorts of pressure as the Tigers won it back and went forward again. The first 10 minutes had been Glenelg purely attacking. Then Ward ran it out of defence and it led to a chain of possessions and an open forward line. The Glenelg defender dropped what should have been a straight forward mark uncontested for the ball to slip over the back and Tayla Gordon pounced with a soccer goal against the flow to given her team some breathing space.

The Roosters second inside 50 almost led to a second goal straight up with Castle just needing a good bounce, but this time it held up and she was mopped by Tigers. Moments later though, Hatchard would get on the end of it with a beautiful left foot snap, and for all of Glenelg’s dominance – where the Tigers had owned forward half possession – the Roosters were back out to a 15-point lead with a minute to play. It could have been even worse with Hatchard winning a free kick 40m out and her kick after the siren looking true but was touched on the line. Still, the 16-point lead had all but evaporated Glenelg’s third term dominance.

The Roosters had an early chance in the fourth through Hatchard who snapped again but it bounced through for a behind in the opening minute. The Roosters were peppering the goals early with a couple of behinds and the sting seemed to be a bit more out of the game given North’s flurry of late goals from few opportunities in the third term.

Glenelg forced the ball forward and laid a series of big tackles at the six-minute mark of the term to lock it in their forward 50. The Roosters defensive core were so keen on spoiling they even spoiled themselves in one marking contest, but the reliability of Harvey was steadfast as she took another strong mark and cleared the ball free.

Marinoff was picking up with some strong efforts in midfield and then a nice shepherd to allow her teammate a chance to kick forward into the waiting arms of Lauren Kenny to pop through a bit of a wobbly, but successful chance nonetheless. Glenelg was back with 17 points with eight minutes remaining, but it would end up being the Tigers’ last score. In fact, North Adelaide would only score one more behind for the game too.

The game would not be without highlights in the final half of the last term as Jones took a strong grab on the wing amongst a pack of players. Erin Sundstrom was another reliable Roosters player on the day in what was a real team effort for the Roosters. It was hard to pick the bests outside of Harvey, Hatchard and Ward, while for Glenelg, Jones almost had a match-winning quarter in the third, as her side also had an even amount of contributors throughout the contest, including the likes of Madisyn Freeman and Kohn who had some nice moments.

SANFL Women’s Round 6 Saturday wraps: Norwood and South hold off opponents in entertaining contests

THERE is now a three-point gap (one and a half wins) between fourth and fifth in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition. As North Adelaide, South Adelaide, West Adelaide and Norwood all claimed victories, it gave the four sides some breathing space inside the top four from Sturt, Woodville-West Torrens, Glenelg and Central District in the bottom four. This is part one of the two-article wrap with the two Saturday games.

NORWOOD 1.0 | 3.4 | 4.6 | 4.10 (34)
WWT EAGLES 0.1 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS:

Norwood: K. Fenton, A. Lischmund, J. Macolino, Zander.
WWT: J. Sedunary 2, A. Blanden, K. Lee.

ADC BEST:

Norwood: J. Macolino, B. Smith, N. Allen, M. Zander, S. Armitstead
WWT: J. Sedunary, C. Dolan, A. Landen, T. Maher, J. Zecevic

Norwood managed to hold off a determined and fierce-tackling Woodville-West Torrens Eagles squad to record a seven-point victory on Saturday. The Redlegs kept coming throughout the game despite being down at each break, and hit the front late in the third term, only for the Redlegs to respond in the last 30 seconds. A goalless final term resulted in Norwood holding on by dominating forward possession and restricting any chance the Eagles had of scoring with four straight behinds to win 4.10 (34) to 4.3 (27).

Jess Macolino stood up across four quarters for the Redlegs, working well in the forward half of the ground to win a truckload of it alongside Matilda Zander and Najwa Allen, whilst Bella Smith clunked some huge grabs across the ground. For the Eagles, it was current St Kilda and former Adelaide AFL Women’s talent Jess Sedunary, and young star Charlotte Dolan who really stood out and ensured the visiting side remained in tough right until the end.

The game started with the Eagles having a good first entry inside 50 as Jovanka Zecevic picked up where she left off. Chloe Forby was strong in midfield, but in what would prove to be a story of the day, the Redlegs defence was up to the task. Smith took her first of many contested grabs at half-back, and then it was rinse and repeat as the Eagles relentlessly attacked and Amie Blanden was strongly leading out and being rewarded. Kate Poole had the first set shot chance at goal from a contested mark 20m out in front, but it went wide and out of bounds. The Eagles continued to lift the pressure with Kiana Lee intercepting the ball off the kick-out and gave it off for a flying shot, but it missed.

As if the score was something that forced Norwood to fire up, the Redlegs suddenly began to spring to life. After struggling to get it past halfway, Leah Cutting who had been dominating the ruck took a strong mark at half-forward and centred it to Sophie Armitstead 35m out straight in front. Her shot was on track but fell just short and knocked back into play on the line. Zander was building into the game even though the Eagles were making a conscious effort to stop her run out of the stoppage, and soon it was Norwood fiercely attacking.

This time though, it was the work of Sedunary and Dolan in defence who were marking at half-back and running forward, with the composure strong between the pairing. Time and time again the Redlegs would try and get the ball forward without much luck, but Sedunary was having a massive impact on the contest and winning the ball everywhere. Allen had a flying shot on goal later in the term but it bounced out and it took until Kate Fenton had a quick snap around her body to clear the pack close to goal and bounce through for the first major of the game.

With just three minutes left in it the Eagles changed towards goal, but the Redlegs returned serve thanks to an Isabel Martin intercept and the ball eventually got forward in the dying seconds for Alison Ferrall to have a shot from tight on the boundary, but the shot fell short and was kept in for the siren to sound shortly after for a five-point lead.

The second term started like the first with the Eagles doing all the attacking, but a Forby shot from 40m out was touched on the line by Smith in the opening minute. It did not take long for Sophie Zuill to find a running Sedunary with great hands out of congestion for the AFLW talent to put through the Eagles and hit the front by two points. It did not take long for Norwood to answer though, with Alana Lischmund receiving a free kick 30m out straight in front moments later and she delivered. In the blink of an eye, the Redlegs lead was out to 10 when Macolino got on the end of some fast movement out of the middle and put through a running goal.

The Redlegs were right on top with Zander and Allen both winning plenty of the ball in midfield, and Monique Hollick also having a big impact around the ground. Smith launched a massive bomb from outside 50, but it just bounced the wrong side of the post, and despite all of the Eagles attempts to run the ball out of defence, they were swarmed by Norwood jumpers to keep them locked in the Redlegs’ attacking half.

Smith was having a huge game in the air with some big marks, and Norwood continued to push forward with numbers running into space. However it allowed space at the back and once the Eagles got over the top, it led to Kate Poole kicking towards goal and a fortunate Blanden to win the footrace with her opponent and soccer it home to cut the deficit back to five.

Macolino was having a blinder through the middle and involved in everything, whilst Smith and Allen were also productive around the round. Sedunary was having a great game for the Eagles and causing plenty of headaches for the Norwood side, and with a few behinds late in the term including a poster from Cutting, Norwood headed into half-time on top by eight points.

The third term saw the return of the Eagles, with Kiana Lee wasting no time to put her side within two points in the opening few minutes. Tesharna Maher was having a few nice touches and running with the ball on the outside, but again Smith intercepted with a strong mark and Zander was starting to find the space she needed to go to work.

Norwood had its chances in the third term, but were missing, with Lishmund having back-to-back chances but putting her shots to either side of the goals. Instead, it was the Eagles who were doing the bulk of the attacking and soon made it count. After narrowly missing a chance due to a rushed behind, the visitors had another goal through Sedunary who marked well straight in front of the big sticks 25m out off a Maher pass. For the first time, the Eagles were in front and the belief was there.

Except Zander and Norwood had other ideas. With the time whittling down into the last 30 seconds, a turnover was marked by Gallagher who gave it off to a running Zander inside 50 and put one through to prompt much celebration right before the three quarter time siren.

The last term was just a real territory battle, won by Norwood who had the ball inside 50 for the bulk of the term. The Eagles did not look like scoring other that a couple of early chances, with Smith and Armitstead doing well with moving the ball forward. Zander tried to go for a run but was run down brilliantly by Sedunary who never stopped pushing.

Try as they might, Norwood kept throwing everything at the goals, with a number of shots from Smith and Mattea Breed who had a couple of huge contested grabs in the last few minutes. When the siren sounded, Norwood had got up by seven points in a tight thriller that had plenty of ebbs and flows throughout the match.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.3 | 5.6 (36)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.1 | 3.2 (20)

GOALS: 

South: J. Kirk, G. Schirmer T. Charlton, S. Peters, N. Campbell.
Central: S. Murphy 2, K. Rosenzweig.

ADC BEST: 

South: I. Tahau, N. Gore, T. Charlton, T. Meyer L. Whiteley
Central: S. Allan, S. Smith, S. Murphy, K. Rosenzweig, L. Huynh

It took the full four quarters, but reigning premiers South Adelaide finally shook off a determined Central District outfit by 16 points. The Panthers went into the game as strong favourites, but realised how much of a challenge they were in for with Sarah Allan a standout for best on ground in the defensive half and through the ruck for the Bulldogs, as her side lead at quarter time and was within two and eight points respectively at the next two breaks. Whilst the Panthers got up in the end, it was far from easy as the Bulldogs defence showed steely resolve throughout the contest.

The first term saw Central District start strongly and surprise the back-to-back premiers, forcing South Adelaide immediately onto the back foot. Shelby Smith was everywhere, as was Allan who started in the ruck then would drop back to help out the defence. But despite all of Central’s attacking, South’s defence was up to the task, as Teah Charlton was looking good playing off half-back and running the ball out, working well with Nikki Gore and Tahlia Meyer who continued their good form from the week before. Jess Kirk had the first proper shot on goal with a running attempt but missed, but then South pressure forced a turnover and it led to another Kirk shot 15m out and the leading goalkicker popped it home.

For the strong work at the clearances, South found the going tough, and Allan was huge in her intercepting across half-back, then utilising the hardness of Smith and the speed of Latiah Huynh who continued to run off her legs throughout the game. Gore and Hannah Munyard were providing just that for the opposition, but Katelyn Rosenzweig‘s work up the ground to lay a number of fierce tackles and lead by example was terrific for the Bulldogs. The Panthers had a few more shorts, but could not extend the lead anymore, and instead it was South who struck back.

Zoe Perry won a contest at half-back, Smith got it through midfield to Rosenzweig who won a one-on-one bounced up before her opponent received the handball as her teammate was being thrown to the ground and the former Adelaide forward snapped a terrific goal. Central was on the board and rewarded for its efforts, and little did the home fans know, the favourites would be trailing at quarter time. Central won a free kick after a great tackle not long before from Smith on Gore, and the ball worked its way to Shannon Murphy who ran in and kicked a superb goal on the move. The last half of the first quarter belonged to Central and they almost looked liked scoring another, but a great tackle by Laura Clifton stopped the Bulldogs kicking a third late goal.

Both teams were battling hard in the second term to try and win an advantage with neither team able to really get too far. Murphy ran down Charlton and Huynh was terrific with her pressure and speed around the ground, while Munyard and Gore were very busy. At one stage, Munyard evaded an opponent took a couple of bounces and got it forward, but again the Bulldogs repelled. It was rinse and repeat as both sides could only manage a behind each, and with only 90 seconds left in the match time was halted due to injury in Central’s defence.

With time back on, the play of the day occurred from South’s back 50 as Meyer pumped it straight down the middle to Kirk who surprisingly passed it back to Meyer. The midfielder dropped the mark but recovered and gave it to Gypsey Schirmer to put through a major just before half-time. The siren sounded moments later for South to now be up by two points at the main break.

Lauren Smith almost had to come off in the opening seconds of the third term after her leg got caught in a tackle, but she bounced back up and continued to push hard, winning a free and passing off to Caitlen Teague who bombed long off half-back. The intensity was as high as it had been in the second term, with Munyard scooping the ball at half-forward getting it to Charlton who kicked deep, Madison Bennett threw a handball over her head knowing a teammate was running into the goalsquare, but Taryn Wills was up to the task and rushed it across.

Demi Sonneman who had been solid once again for Central was even feeling the pinch with an intercepted kick by Tahau who found Charlton, but even the Panthers were under heat with the usually classy Charlton sending it out on the full. It was bubbling that South would eventually score again and so they did when Munyard found Tahau in a big pack, who kicked it straight to Charlton, pulling down a two-grab mark. After a couple of missed opportunities, the young gun made no mistake from 20m out straight in front to put the Panthers up by nine with seven minutes gone.

Allan and Rosenzweig tried to combine for something special in the forward half of the ground, with Murphy and Huynh continuing to win plenty of the ball. Munyard took a terrific mark under heavy contact from Shelby Smith at half-back, and both half-back lines were working overtime. Kirk had a chance at half-forward but in trying to dance around her opponent, was swarmed by Bulldogs and rushed down to the forward line with a minute left, only for Nicole Campbell to get back and save the day. With less than a minute, South looked to slow the clock, but even had a chance to score, through the siren eventually sounded with South up by eight at the final break.

With the game in the balance it was South that went to another gear early in the fourth. Just 90 seconds into the game, Tahau had a chance but again, uncharacteristically shanked the kick to the left to make it a nine-point game. It was Tahau’s presence in the air that helped the breakthrough, bringing the ball to ground and was beautifully roved by Sheena Peters who snapped and goaled to ice the game with a 16-point lead five minutes into the term. Tahau had another chance close to goal but again missed, this time off the side of the boot under immense pressure.

Central was not going to just give up though and continued pushing with the Bulldogs having a chance through Lauren Breguet who missed to the side, as Teague also had a chance but could not quite put it through. If the game was not already done and dusted, then it was when Gore found a leading Campbell inside 50 with her 25m set shot straight in front putting her team 23 points up almost nine minutes into the term.

Gore tried a touchdown style of rushed behind to desperately getting across the line, but the Central defence drag here back to force a stoppage and it paid dividends. A quick handball out of the pack made its way to Murphy who booted a deserving goal for the Bulldogs with a few minutes left. It was a gallant effort by Central, but the reigning premiers just had that extra class when it counted and went to another level, but the Bulldogs pushed them all the way.

SANFL weekly wrap Round 2: Bays go undefeated across all leagues

GLENELG remains undefeated across the three South Australian National Football League (SANFL) grades as we recap what happened in the state league on the weekend.

STURT vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles bounced back from a Round 1 loss to pounce with a 51-point triumph over Sturt in convincing fashion on Saturday. The Eagles dominated possession with almost 100 more disposals – predominantly handballs – plus 78 – but also brought the heat with 96 tackles to 83. After actually trailing by four points at half-time, Woodville-West Torrens went on to boot nine goals from 19 scoring shots to Sturt’s one from four in the second half and record a 14.12 (96) to 6.9 (45) victory. The run included 12 consecutive goals, between Jake Sutcliffe‘s major for the Double Blues at the 17-minute mark of the term, and Casey Voss‘ consolation major late in the last quarter.

Matthew Goldsworthy was impressive around the ground with 23 touches, four marks, eight inside 50s, four tackles, three clearances and two goals, while Nick Hayes kicked three majors from 15 disposals, six marks – two contested – five tackles and four inside 50s. James Rowe was also busy to continue on his form from last year, kicking three goals from five scoring shots, and racking up 20 touches, four marks – two contested – and three inside 50s. Former Port Adelaide midfielder, Jimmy Toumpas had a game-high 27 disposals, five clearances, five tackles and five inside 50s in the win. For Sturt, Voss had 24 touches, four marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and two rebounds to go with his goal, while Sam Wundke was ever reliable in defence with a massive 11 rebounds from 22 touches and five marks – three contested. Zane Kirkwood (22 disposals, five clearances) and ruck Daniel Fahey-Sparks (18 disposals, eight marks, 33 hitouts and a goal) were also prominent in a losing side.

The Reserves saw the Eagles double-up on their League victory with a 25-point win over the Double Blues. It kept their unbeaten season alive and moved and they sit in third on the table after booting five last quarter goals in a remarkable final term. They were on the back foot at three quarter time, but only allowed the opposition one behind in he final term as they booted 5.4 to run away with the 10.8 (68) to 6.7 (43) victory.

In the Under 18s, it was Sturt who claimed a big win over Woodville-West Torrens, booting nine goals to five in the second half – in particular five goals to one in the final term to run away with the contest. They dominated possession and were too strong in the air with 10 more contested marks, whilst both teams had a ridiculously high number of inside 50s (50-41). In the end, Sturt got up 15.7 (97) to 7.10 (52).

Morgan Ferres was electrifying with six goals from eight scoring shots, and 17 touches. He also took nine marks – four contested and was unstoppable in the air. Tom Powell controlled the midfield for Sturt, racking up 35 disposals, seven clearances, eight inside 50s and five tackles, working hard with fellow AFL Academy member, Mani Liddy at the stoppages who had 29 disposals, seven clearances, three inside 50s and four tackles himself. Brad Jefferies (30 disposals, four marks, four clearances and six inside 50s) were also strong, while Will Staples laid 10 tackles from 20 touches, four clearances, five inside 50s and booted a goal.

Caleb Poulter was strong up forward in a losing side, snagging three goals from 16 touches, five marks, seven tackles and seven inside 50s for the Eagles, whilst father-son prospects, Jase Burgoyne (22 disposals, five marks, five tackles and four rebounds) and Taj Schofield (20 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances, eight inside 50s and three rebounds) were also prolific. Zac Buck was a fierce tackling presence with 10 tackles from 21 touches and five clearances, while Charlie Adams and Harrison Dawkins had 18 disposals and six clearances each.

 

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

North Adelaide’s League side has held off Norwood in a thriller, sentencing the Redlegs to a second straight week of so close, yet so far, with the Roosters getting up by two points on the weekend. The win enable the Roosters to end Round 2 at the top of the table, while Norwood sits at the bottom with an 0-2 record despite conceding just five more points than they scored with three and two-point losses in the opening two rounds. In this match, it was the Roosters who won with a more accurate 9.9 (63) to Norwood’s 8.13 (61) to enjoy the triumph.

Norwood dominated possession across the ground and had a whopping 31 more marks and five more clearances, but it was their inaccuracy in front of goal, combined with the Roosters’ defence that ensured life was difficult for the Redlegs. Campbell Combe was huge through the midfield with 29 disposals, three marks, 15 tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s, while former Hawks and Roo, Billy Hartung feasted on 28 touches, four tackles and six inside 50s to provide some dash for the Roosters. Alex Spina was strong in defence with eight rebounds from 24 disposals and four tackles, whilst former Tiger, Andrew Moore had 23 disposals, six tackles, eight clearances and six inside 50s in a big performances. The goals were shared around with Mitch Harvey and Kym Lebois both snagging two majors for the winners.

Norwood had eight individual goal kickers in the game, as Zac Richards had an equal game-high 29 touches, as well as 10 marks, two clearances, three tackles, four inside 50s and three rebounds for the Redlegs. Matthew Nunn (28 disposals, four marks, five tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds) and Declan Hamilton (27 disposals, nine marks, five tackles, six inside 50s and one goal) were both productive. Others who had at least 20 touches were Brad McKenzie, Nic Rokahr, Dom Barry and Mitch Wilkins who worked hard to find the ball around the ground.

The Roosters also moved ahead of Norwood in the Reserves with a 15-point victory over the Redlegs. Both sides headed into the clash after losing their previous encounter, but it was the Roosters who led at every break, ad whilst Norwood tried to hit hard in the final term, booted 1.4 to 1.1 and fell short, going down 9.8 (62) to 6.11 (47).

Norwood turned the tables in the Under 18s however, bouncing back from a disappointing loss the week before to run secure an ultra-impressive 11.7 (73) to 6.10 (46) victory over North Adelaide. The Redlegs took control after trailing by five points at the first break, to boot four goals to zero in the second term, and then four goals to two in the third to get enough separation between themselves and their opposition to win by 27 points at Coopers Stadium.

Norwood dominated the outside play with a massive 112 marks to 77, whilst having five more inside 50s and 75 more disposals. North Adelaide won the clearance battle by five and laid two more tackles, but it would not be enough to get the job done. Michael Cavallaro and Matthew Dnistriansky both had 30 disposals and combined for a massive 19 marks and 10 rebounds, with Cavallaro also helping himself to four inside 50s. Mitchell Trepka (28 disposals, six marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and three tackles) was strong, as was Marcus Roberts (26 touches, five marks, five inside 50s and four tackles), while bottom-age star Cooper Murley had a day out up forward with three goals and spending time up the ground to amass 24 touches, three clearances, five inside 50s and took four marks.

For the second consecutive week, Kallis Freer had a big day out for North Adelaide, picking up a team-high 25 disposals, six marks, five clearances, four tackles and eight inside 50s, while AFL Academy member Jamison Murphy had 21 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds. Hugh Jackson (23 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, seven inside 50s and a goal) and Blayne O’Loughlin (21 disposals, two marks and four rebounds) also had more than 20 touches, while the talented Tariek Newchurch finished with 17 touches, four marks, three inside 50s and 1.1.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG

Glenelg joined North Adelaide as the only undefeated side in Round 2 after another nail-biting thriller. The Bays won by five points – 15.7 (97) to South Adelaide’s 14.8 (92) – just a week after holding off Norwood to win by three points in that game. The reigning premiers now sit second on the table, whilst South Adelaide slip to fourth, both still having a solid percentage after a Round 1 win. Luke Partington was the difference with the Magarey Medallist leading his side to a vital win on the inside as the Tigers stormed to a plus five in clearances, plus seven in tackles and whopping plus 79 in disposals. Most of that differential was handballs as the Bays were willing to win the contested ball and fire out a handball to someone in space.

After a quiet week by his standards in Round 1, Partington was simply unstoppable in Round 2, amassing 35 disposals, six marks, nine clearances, six inside 50s, three rebounds and three goals in a complete performance. He was far from alone though with teammates Matthew Snook and Marlon Motlop both racking up nine clearances each. Snook also had 28 touches, five tackles and six inside 50s, while Motlop booted two goals from 25 disposals, eight tackles and four inside 50s. In the week that his brother Matt returned to the Collingwood team, Jonty Scharenberg also had a big day for the Bays with 22 touches, seven marks, four tackles and three rebounds. Jack Hannath showed his experience in the ruck with a mammoth 43 hitouts from 15 disposals, while other former AFL players, Cory Gregson and Billy Stretch booted three goals between them from a combined 36 touches.

Joel Cross tried his heart out in the midfield for the Panthers, picking up seven clearances from 24 disposals and five inside 50s, teaming up well with ex-Power player, Matthew Broadbent (19 disposals, five clearances, four tackles and six inside 50s) and Nic Schwartz (17 disposals, six clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s). Hayden Sampson was busy inside 50 with three majors from 17 touches and four inside 50s, while former NEAFL talent Thomas Highmore looked composed once again with 15 disposals and five marks. Young talent, Zach Dumesny did not look out of place thanks to 15 disposals, six marks, three tackles and four rebounds.

Glenelg also sits undefeated in the Reserves competition with another strong win, this time knocking off the Panthers by 29 points. They booted five goals to one in the third term after a relatively even first half, then capitalised on the only goal of the final quarter to win 9.6 (60) to 4.7 (31). The loss meant South Adelaide sits seventh, but only marginal percentage behind fellow winless side, Norwood in sixth.

Glenelg’s Under 18s side’s win meant much celebration for the yellow and black with all three teams remaining undefeated in season 2020 thus far. The Bays sit second after two games, only behind Sturt, whilst the Panthers loss saw them slip to third with a percentage of exactly 50 after the first two games. Glenelg had to come from 14 points down at the final break to boot 3.6 to 0.0 in the last term and run over the top of the Panthers, It meant they had more scoring options pop up after Riley Holder had booted four of the Tigers’ six goals to three quarter time. Glenelg dominated the tackle count (plus 20) and disposals (plus 75) but were beaten at the stoppages in both hitouts (minus six) and clearances (minus five).

Lewis Rayson (31 disposals, 10 marks, eight tackles, two clearances and four rebounds) and Xavier Robins (30 disposals, four marks, four tackles and five rebounds) both had big days, but it was the first half of Holder who finished with four goals from 22 touches, eight marks – four contested – three tackles and four inside 50s that really stood out. Potential father-son prospect Luke Edwards racked up 29 touches and booted one goal from four scoring shots, while Hagan Wright laid an impressive 12 tackles from 24 touches, six marks, three inside 50s, three clearances and two rebounds.

Bottom-agers Matty Roberts and Jason Horne were huge for the Panthers, combining for a huge 63 disposals, 22 marks, 18 tackles, 19 clearances, seven inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal in a duo that could well draw comparisons to Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson coming through the Oakleigh program. Another bottom-ager in Arlo Draper picked up 18 touches, five marks and booted two goals, while Max Clifton (25 touches, four marks, six clearances, four inside 50s and four tackles) was also prominent for the Panthers.

 

WEST ADELAIDE vs CENTRAL DISTRICT

Both West Adelaide and Central District headed into the game winless, and left winless, though showed that at their best they are going to trouble some sides. The Bloods and Bulldogs could not be split by the final siren, in a tale of two halves. West Adelaide almost put the game to bed at quarter time had they kicked straight, booting 6.5 to 1.2, with another slow Central start costing them. They picked up after quarter time and roared to the finish line, even leading right up until the 23rd minute mark of the term. Murray Waite converted a goal as the Bloods trailed by six points to level the scores to provide SANFL followers with the first draw of the season. West Adelaide dominated the hitouts (plus 25) and clearances (plus 18), but Central was up for the fight, with 23 more tackles and 12 more marks. Despite losing prized recruit Daniel Menzel for the season, the Bulldogs fought back from another deficit to take home some points.

Jordon Boyle helped himself to 27 touches, five marks, three clearances and five inside 50s for the Bloods, but it was Kaine Stevens‘ efforts onball that really stood out for the Westies. Stevens amassed a game-high 12 clearances to go with 26 disposals, three marks and five tackles, while Josh Schiller had 24 disposals, three marks, seven tackles and five clearances in there. Aaron Anderson (26 disposals, three marks, three tackles and three rebounds) was promising, while the talented Elliot Dunkin picked up 22 disposals, six marks and four rebounds. Potential top AFL draft pick, Riley Thilthorpe played through the ruck and up forward to finish with 10 touches, two marks, five tackles, 15 hitouts and 1.2 for the game, working well with Andre Parrella (12 disposals, 43 hitouts) in the ruck.

James Boyd had a match-high 29 disposals and eight marks, as well as a team-high six clearances to go with five tackles, three inside 50s and a goal. In the absence of his brother, Troy Menzel picked up 25 disposals, six marks, five inside 50s and booted two goals in the draw, whilst Luke Habel had 23 disposals, three marks, four tackles and five rebounds out of defence. Young gun Corey Durdin booted a neat two goals from 14 touches, five marks and three tackles, while former Port forward John Butcher returned to slot three goals from 10 touches, five marks and seven hitouts to be a force inside 50.

Central District Reserves ran out easy 35-point winners over West Adelaide, switched on from the first bounce to race to a 27-point lead by half-time. West Adelaide tried to fight back in the second half, but it was a case of too little, too late as the Bulldogs managed to hold their advantage with five goals apiece after half-time to win 13.12 (90) to 8.7 (55). The Bulldogs remain undefeated in the competition and sit second, while the Bloods are fourth with a 1-1 win-loss record.

Central’s Under 18s side also enjoyed a promising win, picking up a 30-point victory after a slow start, They booted just one goal in the opening term to West Adelaide’s four from nine scoring shots, but the Dogs found their feet after that. Getting to within 13 points at the main break, and then seven points at the last change, the Bulldogs piled on six goals to zero in the final term to run away with the contest. They had five players with multiple goals to their names, while the Bloods shared the goals around with nine individual goalkickers in the loss. Central District had 31 more kicks but 23 less handballs, opting for moving the ball more directly, as well as having a couple more inside 50s, but less marks, tackles, hitouts and clearances.

Austin McDonald backed up his impressive performance from Round 1 with a team-high 25 disposals, two marks, five tackles, five clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while Chris Tidswell (21 disposals, three rebounds and a goal) and Lewis Cowham (20 disposals, four marks, six tackles and five inside 50s) both found plenty of the ball. Michael De Jonge booted three majors from 17 touches, while Aidan Mudge (two goals), Luca Whitelum (two), Leek Alleer (two) and Finn Reed (two) also had multiple goals.

For the Bloods, Lachlan De Cesare found plenty of the ball once again through midfield, notching up a match-high 26 disposals, as well as eight clearances, eight tackles, four marks and a goal. He teamed up with Cade Kennedy (19 disposals, nine clearances, eight tackles, three inside 50s and a goal) and Bailey Chamberlain (24 touches, six clearances, four tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds) with their three main midfielders also hitting the scoreboard. Luke Heitmann worked hard in the ruck for 22 hitouts from nine disposals and a goal, whilst Harvey Bock (15 disposals, three marks – two contested – three tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds) was prominent across the field.

SANFL Women’s Round 6 preview: Sunday clashes ones to watch in huge round of action

NOW the first games have been done and won, the eight South Australian National Football League (SANFL) teams return for Round 2 in what is a blockbuster round of action. Sunday’s games in particular – between West Adelaide and Sturt, and North Adelaide and Glenelg – are ones to watch.

NORWOOD VS. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday, July 4, 11.50am
Coopers Stadium

Opening up the round is a clash between fourth placed Norwood and sixth placed Woodville-West Torrens Eagles. The Redlegs made their way into fourth win an impressive win over Central District last week, leapfrogging Sturt into a finals position at the midpoint of the season. The Eagles have been close in each match they have played, but still remain with just the one win. A victory and a Sturt loss would see the Eagles move up to fifth on the table, whilst a Norwood win would see them draw level with the Bloods if Sturt can get up, or go a full three points clear inside the top four if as expected, West Adelaide wins against the Double Blues.

In terms of changes, the Redlegs have made just the one confirmed change with Lindsay Bigg the only confirmed out of the side, whilst Elisha Gallagher and Bella Smith return in what will be a good boost for the side. The Eagles have made at least two forced changes, with both Stephanie Walker and Natasha Holmes out of the match through injury. Adding to an extended bench for thew visiting side is Bronwyn Davey, Brooke Mullen, Jaida Tabb and Eli Gianakis all named.

For the Eagles to win, their top notch tackling pressure will need to be on show again, and the inclusion of Renee Forth last week added a touch of class to a fiercely defensive side. Tesharna Maher and Jovanka Zecevic impressed in the first round back after a long lay-off, whilst the inclusion of Tabb – the sister of Adelaide’s Jaimi – will show off some of he future talent on the list. One player who will be looking to have a bigger influence on the contest this week is forward, Kiana Lee who can be really influential on her day.

Norwood just has a lot of good solid talent across the park, with some serious young X-factor such as Matilda Zander and Mattea Breed who have plenty of potential to keep developing their football. Given arguably the league’s best ruckman in Leah Cutting is doing her thing and Najwa Allen and Monique Hollick are back in the side, there is plenty to like about Norwood’s premiership credentials. Smith has been named at centre half-back and will be one to watch, whilst Alison Ferrall proved a handful up forward last week booting three goals, the same as Breed.

Norwood head into this as favourites and should win, but the Eagles always make life difficult for opposition teams with their defensive pressure.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE VS. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, July 4, 3.30pm
Flinders University Stadium

Reigning back-to-back champions South Adelaide welcome Central District to Flinders University Stadium in a match the Panthers will be keen to win well. They were pushed all the way by Glenelg last weekend, while Central District had its chances but could not convert enough to really threaten Norwood. Heading into this game, South sit second on the table only behind the top of the table Roosters, whilst the Bulldogs are in last, but a win would see them get off the bottom of the table.

Central has the less complicated changes of the teams, with young talent Kimberley Fry the only confirmed out of the side for tomorrow’s match. Emma Keys, Keely Cannizzaro and Amber James are the three players named in an extended squad. The Panthers have been forced to make five changes with some big names out through injury or work. Czenya Cavouras and Elke Jarvis both have work commitments and will miss the game, while an injured trio in captain Lauren Buchanan, Courtney Barry and Elyse Haylock are all out. Naturally South Adelaide has named seven players as possible replacements, including Emily Brockhurst, Sheena Peters, Brianna Wedding and Lauren Clifton who were all named on the field for the clash.

What makes the Panthers so strong in the depth within the starting line-up and very few weaknesses. Glenelg was able to get on top at times last week, but it took some AFL Women’s talent to break down South Adelaide. Then the likes of Nikki Gore, Hannah Munyard and Jess Kirk all fought back to have important roles through the inside midfield, outside midfield and forward line respectively. Add in the fact that the Panthers won without a huge contribution from star young gun Teah Charlton – who started to get going late in the contest, and there is a reason they have been so successful of late. In the absence of Buchanan, Jaslynne Smith and Samantha Pratt have some big jobs ahead of them.

The Bulldogs were gallant at times last week and never looked completely out of the contest. Katelyn Rosenzweig is always a danger up forward with her strong hands and penetrating kick likely to hit the scoreboard each and every week. She will always attract a crowd too at the marking contest, so if the Bulldogs crumbers can get to work, they can have a bit of freedom knowing their opponents can occasionally try and assist a defender in stopping Rosenzweig. The likes of Alicia Butler and Latiah Huynh were really impressive last week, and have some eye-catching traits. Whilst scoring at times has been an issue for Central, their defence stacks up against some of the best, with Sarah Allan returning to the club for the second half of the season and providing that extra experience alongside Demi Sonneman and another returning player in Gemma Doughty who made the successful return from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury last week.

South Adelaide will be strong favourites for this one given the midfield strength, but with a couple of key players down in the back half, Central has a chance to take advantage of the reshuffling of magnets.

 

WEST ADELAIDE VS. STURT
Sunday, July 5, 11.50am
Hisense Stadium

Of all the clashes, this could be the most exciting. Both teams have an abundance of youth which they are backing in this week and will make for quite the show at Hisense Stadium. Naturally, the third placed West Adelaide will have the upper hand at home, sitting in a good position to pounce if South Adelaide slips up. The Bloods have a good percentage gap on fourth placed Norwood, and after getting the job done against Woodville-West Torrens eagles in a scrap last week, expect the game to open up more this week. Sturt dropped out of the top four and their percentage took a hit with that huge 77-point defeat to North Adelaide, so getting a win here would be important to try and get their form back.

Amelie Finnimore and Nicole Hooper will miss the Bloods clash through injury this week, while Tamika May and Taylor Hand are also listed on the outs. A debutant in Hannah Scholar from Morphettville Park will join four others on an extended bench. Olivia Smith, Abbey Hardwick, Alex Mason, Scarlett Griffiths and Georgie Gray are all in line to return to the team for the clash. Sturt on the other hand has made just the two changes with Ally Ladas out injured, joining Holly Temby as the two confirmed changes. In line to make their debuts for the Double Blues are Olivia McEvoy and Tiah Hough, the latter of whom is a member of the Crows’ Academy. Caroline Burgess and Aajiah Jericho are the other two named in an extended team.

Whilst Sturt might have been overwhelmed last week, there was always a bit to like about the way they move the ball, and they when using their short kicking and hitting up targets it worked, but North Adelaide knew to add pressure to the mix and it was hard to quell. Hannah Prenzler was a standout down back with Maya Rigter throwing herself everywhere through midfield trying everything to get her team over the. Rigter and her co-captain Georgia Bevan are guiding a young team, and Rigter herself is still only 19. Zoe Prowse had a quieter game last week but has the potential to really get going, whilst Alex Ballard had some purple patches in the game.

West Adelaide was able to do enough to shake off a determined Eagles outfit in Round 5, and their two half-backs in AFL Women’s Crows talent Madison Newman and young gun Keeley Kustermann might be the best one-two combination at that position when it comes to running and hitting targets. Having two terrific ball users coming out of defence is crucial to a team’s success and they certainly offer that. With Rachelle Martin and Abbie Ballard leading the charge in midfield, they can get it down to arguably the most damaging forward line as well. Melanie Elsegood as the deep forward alongside AFL Women’s talent in Chelsea Biddell and Stevie-Lee Thompson is a strong mix, whilst Zoe Venning provides that dash between the arcs.

West Adelaide are one of the dark horses this season and should get the job done here, but both teams will score more than they did last week in a free-flowing contest.

 

GLENELG vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Sunday, July 5, 12pm
ACH Group Stadium

If AFL Women’s talent is what you after, then look no further than the final game of the round between the undefeated North Adelaide and the rising Glenelg. On face value the Tigers are seventh on the table and really need to start making a move to have a chance at finals. But with the return of a number of AFL Women’s players – who all had a big impact last week against South – they are ready to rake in the wins. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they have copped the two best sides in the first two weeks back, and this North Adelaide team is coming off a 77-point demolition job of Sturt.

Glenelg will be without Soriah Moon who is a big loss, joining Cass Hartley as the players out of the side from the loss to Sturt. Coming into the team are Molly Affolter, Sheridan Howell, Lauren Bungey and Rachel Aistrope with at least two to make it into the final term. Alex Fitridge is the only out for the Roosters this week, as North Adelaide welcomes back defender Lauren Gauci, as well as adding Kendall Howell, Charlea Taylor and Brianna Arthur to an extended bench.

North have managed to get stronger with the addition of Gauci who provides extra strength to the league’s best backline. Kristi Harvey and Amber Ward have been mainstays in the key posts this year, but bringing in West Coast’s Talia Radan adds another key talent in there, and Gauci will have the freedom to provide some extra run when needed. Through the midfield, Anne Hatchard would have broken all kinds of statistical records last week when she brought her own ball to the game against the Double Blues. She was simply unstoppable and carried on her best and fairest winning from from the Crows. Teaming up with Ashleigh Woodland and Leah Tynan in midfield, and throwing in the speed and class of Katelyn Pope and Hannah Ewings, and the Roosters outfit are premiership favourites for a reason. There are very few, if any weaknesses in the line-up, and it will take a special effort to beat them on any given day.

Glenelg do have some serious talent that can stretch the Roosters however, led by Ebony Marinoff, Eloise Jones and Caitlin Gould. Marinoff was enormous in the first half for the Bays last week, and Jones was just about their best with her strong hands and work in transition up forward. Caitlin Gould could have had a bigger day and might be ruing her missed chances on goal, something she will no doubt fix for this game. Deni Varnhagen provided great speed on the outside, whilst Grace Duffy and Sam Franson also had impressive moments in the loss. The Tigers top-end talent is class and quality, and whilst North Adelaide have the greater depth, the Bays have a lot of strong contributors who work as one unit and know what each other is capable of, and why they pushed the reigning back-to-back premiers for so long last week.

The Roosters are favourites because they have not lost and on paper are the best team in the competition, but they can also not underestimate what Glenelg is capable of on its day, especially with Marinoff and Jones among those running around.

2020 SANFL Round 2 preview: Sides return after dusting off the cobwebs

AFTER fans got a taste of South Australian National Football League (SANFL) football last weekend, Round 2 kicks off with plenty on the lines as the teams look to back-up after long layoff heading into Round 1.

Sturt vs Woodville-West Torrens

League:

Sturt will do battle with Woodville-West Torrens to kick off round two of the SANFL Statewide Super League. The Double Blues led all day and ultimately defeated Central District by 15 points in the season-opener last weekend. After missing out on a finals berth last season, Woodville-West Torrens narrowly lost their opening encounter of 2020 to South Adelaide. Despite wrestling back the lead late in the final term, thanks to goals from the Hayes brothers (Jack and Nick) and gun small forward James Rowe, the Panthers escaped with a six-point victory.

If they are to get their season rolling, the Eagles must put time into Sturt recruit Ash Johnson, the brother of current-Crow Shane McAdam, who booted three goals in the win. His aerial ability, athleticism and raw talent ensure he is one to watch. Fellow off-season signing Abe Davis and small forward Josh Hone will also cause headaches for new Eagles coach Jade Sheedy, given their potency up forward. As is often the case, the midfield-battle will be vital to the outcome of this clash. Industrial Sturt skipper James Battersby was arguably to best-on-ground last weekend for his work around the stoppages, collecting 26 disposals, eight tackles and 11 clearances. Dual Magarey Medallist Zane Kirkwood perhaps wasn’t at his damaging best against the ‘Dogs, but will demand serious attention all day.

Jordan Foote and Jimmy Toumpas will again be expected to lead the way in the Eagles engine-room. Foote was a strong inside presence on the weekend, finishing with six clearances, seven tackles and 21 possessions, whilst Toumpas’ class and skill shone on the outside. Midfield mainstays Angus Poole and Sam Rowland will be looking to benefit from the tap-work of big-man Jarrad Redden, who will do battle with Sturt’s Daniel Fahey-Sparks. The athletic Fahey-Sparks looks to have made big strides in the off-season, finishing the match against Central Districts with 52 hitouts and four clearances from his six possessions. Redden will receive a welcome chop-out from Jack Hayes, who proved a colossus in the air against South. Hayes booted two goals, recorded 17 hit-outs and clunked five contested marks but was also effective at ground-level, laying eight tackles and a couple of clearances. Sturt will be hopeful of regaining prolific midfielder Sam Colquhoun, who missed the round one clash with a hamstring injury, and medium-forward Jake Sutcliffe, who was struck down by illness.

Reserves:

The Eagles and Double Blues Reserves will converge at Peter Motley Oval on Sunday morning to continue their seasons. In another close finish, Woodville-West Torrens managed to defeat their South Adelaide opponents by eight points on Sunday, in a match where both sides were efficient in front of goal. However, that was not the case for the Double Blues reserves, who were bombarded early and will rue missing a number of opportunities in their 14-point loss to Central Districts. After a strong season last year, the Double Blues will be looking to notch up their first win against Woodville-West Torrens, who were beaten by Norwood in the 2019 Reserves Grand Final.

Under 18s:

The Under 18s sides will do battle after the reserves game on Sunday afternoon, with the Double Blues looking to build upon a comprehensive 48-point win over the Bulldogs. The Eagles, a traditional under-18s powerhouse, were defeated by close-rivals South Adelaide by ten-points. The Eagles have won the past two U18 Torrens University Cups over the Panthers but South Adelaide gained some round one revenge, despite the best efforts of prolific Eagles midfielder Caleb Poulter.

Poulter, a versatile 191cm prospect kicked a goal and amassed 34 disposals, seven marks (two contested), ten tackles, and seven clearances in the loss. Promising SA Hub tall forward Zac Phillips booted two goals and will prove a difficult match-up for the Sturt defence. The Double Blues will again be looking to feed off the midfield work of Mani Liddy and Tom Powell, who were both dominant in the win over Centrals at Elizabeth Oval. Look out for half-forward Morgan Ferres, who impressed with his clean hands and aerial ability in the victory.

 

Norwood vs North Adelaide

League:

Off-the-back of an impressive round one win over West Adelaide, the Roosters will face a tough test on Saturday afternoon against the battle-hardened Redlegs. In a re-match of the 2018 Grand Final, Norwood will be keen on asserting themselves on the contest, after being narrowly defeated by Glenelg in the marquee game of the opening round. North Adelaide’s x-factor forward Lewis Hender jumped out of the blocks, kicking seven goals-straight in the 29-point win.

Encouragingly for new coach Jacob Surjan, the Roosters off-season signings all started well, with midfielders Cameron HewettAndrew Moore and Billy Hartung getting involved early and finishing with 18, 25 and 19 disposals, respectively. Hewett and fellow inside midfielders Campbell Combe and Tom Schwarz were strong on the inside of the contest, laying a combined 28 tackles. The Roosters on-ball unit will need to be at their best when they face a battle-hardened Norwood midfield, headlined by deadly trio Richard DouglasMatthew Nunn and Mitch Grigg.

Douglas, a star signing in the off-season, recorded eight tackles and four clearances from his 20 touches, whilst Nunn, Grigg and Matthew Panos all benefited from the dominance of premier-ruckman Sam Baulderstone. Roosters ruckman James Craig will have his work cut out for him against the 200cm Baulderstone, who has proven to be the leagues best ruckman over his career. The Norwood on-ball unit is formidable and will only be further improved by the anticipated addition of Ryan Bastinac, who started the season in the reserves.

Norwood defenders Nik Rokahr, Mitch Wilkins and Nick Pedro face the daunting task of shutting down Roosters forwards Frank Szekely and Kym LeBois, who kicked a combined five goals in the win over West Adelaide. Injuries plagued Rooster Harrison Wigg‘s AFL career during stints with Adelaide and the Gold Coast, however his obvious talent was on show for all to see on Saturday, collecting 27 disposals, nine marks and six rebound 50s. Norwood must look to nullify his intercept marking ability across the backline. Redlegs running-machine Anthony Wilson is expected to miss another week with a calf injury, but tall defender Michael Talia faces a test to prove he is over his hamstring complaint. For the red and white, tall Alex Barns and son-of-a-gun Ben Jarman will both face tests after sustaining ankle injuries. The Redlegs will start as the clear favourites, but a revamped Roosters side will be eyeing off what would be a major scalp.

Reserves:

North Adelaide won the reserves competition in 2018 but, much like the clubs league side, slumped in 2019. Wooden-spooners from last season, the Roosters reserves will face the Redlegs seconds at the Parade on Sunday afternoon. Norwood were beaten by Glenelg last weekend and will be eager to bounce-back on home turf. Ryan Bastinac could be promoted to the league side after brushing off the cobwebs in the reserves against Glenelg. Norwood small midfielder Harry Nelligan has attracted the attention of draft watchers for his fierce tackling and prolific ball-winning and will expected to once-again line-up at reserves level on Sunday. For North Adelaide, young midfielder Harrison Magor and promising key defender Dyson Hilder will be looking to build form in the reserves to mount a case for a call-up to the Roosters league set-up.

Under 18s:

Norwood’s Under 18s side failed to land a punch against the Bays on Saturday, going down by 44 points. Matthew Dnistriansky‘s work across the backline was a standout in the defeat. He collected a team-high 25 disposals, nine marks and 10 rebounds. SA Hub member Cooper Murley also showed signs in the loss. The Roosters Under 18s defeated the Bloods by 12-points in round one, with exciting small forward and potential Crows NGA prospect Tariek Newchurch booting three goals. Captain Jamison Murphy has turned the heads of recruiters since picking football over cricket and will again be one to watch in the midfield, after a well-rounded performance at Prospect Oval last Saturday. He collected 26 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two clearances, six inside 50s and five rebounds.

 

South Adelaide vs Glenelg

League:

South Adelaide held off the fast finishing Eagles but face a more daunting task in the form of the reigning-premiers, Glenelg. Ken Farmer Medalist Liam McBean booted four goals to confirm his status as the leagues best key forward and will prove a tough match-up, likely for South Adelaide key defender Jake Summerton, who gains no reprieve after battling the Hayes brothers last weekend. Rugged midfielders Matthew Snook and Bradley Agnew were as industrial as ever and Marlon Motlop‘s silky skills will worry the South Adelaide coaching staff.

Magarey Medallist Luke Partington was not quite at his destructive best, but will prove a handful for the Panthers midfield, which will likely be without skipper Matthew Rose after he sustained a shoulder injury. In his absence, star onballer Joel Cross was left to do much of the heavy lifting and will again be relied upon in the engine room against a strong Glenelg midfield. Encouraging for the Panthers were the senior debuts of small forward Beau McCreery and versatile draft prospect Zac Dumesny.

McCreery proved invaluable in the last term, helping wrestle back the momentum by kicking back-to-back majors late in the final term, and Dumesny did not look out of place, collecting 11 disposals. Although several years older than McCreery and Dumesny, former-Power defender Matthew Broadbent also made a successful debut for the club down back.

Glenelg’s recruits also performed well, with former-Docker Jack Hannath strong in the ruck and Jackson Edwards providing solid rebound from the defensive-50. South Adelaide’s Malcolm Karpany suffered a back injury and will face a test later in the week, and Glenelg’s Tom Condon will also need to prove his fitness before the Sunday afternoon clash. Glenelg deservedly start as favourites, but South will be feeling positive after a win over the Eagles.

Reserves:

The Panthers and Tigers reserves will lock-horns at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday in a mid-morning time-slot. The Tigers defeated Norwood by 22-points last weekend, whilst the Panthers, despite kicking straight, were beaten by the Eagles in a close-encounter at Woodville’s Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. The Tigers Reserves will be looking to build upon the solid start and continue to feed-off the recent success of the league side, whilst the Panthers are aiming to launch a finals campaign after missing out in the previous four seasons.

Under 18s:

The Bays made it three-from-three across the weekend when the under-18s recorded a comprehensive 44-point triumph. SA Academy Hub member and potential Crows father-son prospect Luke Edwards was solid in the win, collecting 22 disposals. His versatility, size and experience as a bottom-ager at the 2019 National Championships will likely see him move beyond under-18s level soon enough. Luke Pedlar was dominant for the Bays, finishing the clash with Norwood with 28 disposals, three marks, six tackles and four clearances, whilst Lucas Schultz bagged four majors. Key tall Riley Holder could prove a handful for the Panthers, as could the running capacity of Xavier Robins. Panthers skipper Nicholas Kraemer is expected to lead from the front once again, after his nine-tackle showing against the Eagles.

 

West Adelaide V Central Districts

League:

In the final match of round two, Central Districts take on West Adelaide, with both sides no-doubt eager to earn their first points of the new season. The Bulldogs struggled to get things going in their forward half, despite the exciting off-season acquisition of Daniel Menzel. Centrals would have been pleased with the efforts of midfielders James BoydJarrod Schiller and Nick Lange, who battled hard against a strong Double Blues on-ball unit.

This week, they will face the likes of former-Hawk Dallas Willsmore and consistent veteran Kaine Stevens. The ruck battle is also likely to be closely fought, between West Adelaide big man Andre Parrella and Centrals’ Jonathan Marsh. Whilst Marsh was beaten in the ruck by Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks, he still managed 37 hitouts and was busier around the ground than his Sturt counterpart, collecting 10 disposals and laying seven tackles. Parrella, one of the competitions best tap ruckmen, beat North’s James Craig on the weekend, winning the hitouts 49 to 29.

The eyes of many draft watchers will remain fixed on ultra-talented ruckman/tall-forward Riley Thilthorpe, who will again line-up in attack for the Bloods, alongside skipper Tom Keough. Energetic small forward Lyndon Hupfeld will be one to watch this week, after his four-goal performance against North. The Dogs enter the round two clash with a clean-bill of health, but Bloods off-season signing Josh Koster will miss with a hamstring injury. Josh Schiller missed a large chunk of 2019 with a shoulder injury and suffered a back complaint in the clash with North Adelaide. He faces a test to prove his fitness. Although both sides are not expected to feature in the finals series, this match-up could prove to be the closest of all the round two fixtures.

Reserves:

Central Districts reserves side will make the trip down into Adelaide’s western suburbs to do battle with the Bloods at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Dogs are coming off a hard-fought victory over Sturt, whilst West Adelaide made the Roosters pay for their inaccurate goal-kicking, coming out victorious by 31 points away from their Richmond home. Currently top after the opening round of action, the Bloods will be eager to continue their winning ways after a disappointing 2019 season which saw the side finish seventh. The Bulldogs seconds have been strong performers over the past few seasons, finishing in the finals since 2017 but failing to claim the ultimate prize.

Under 18s:

The Under-18 sides for the respective clubs will also face-off on Saturday. The Bloods and Bulldogs both lost their opening round fixtures but West will likely start this encounter as favourites, given the Bulldogs under-18s struggles in recent seasons. Midfielders Lewis Cowham and 16-year-old Austin McDonald were rare highlights during the hefty loss to Sturt, with both players finding an abundance of the football. McDonald was particularly strong around the stoppages, finishing with a game-high 12 clearances despite his inferior age. After facing Sturt, SA Academy Hub midfielders Tom Powell and Mani Liddy last weekend, the Dogs onballers gain no reprieve and appear set to clash with the prolific Bailey Chamberlain. Forward Jye Sinderberry may also cause some headaches for the Bulldogs defenders.

SANFL Women’s review: Round 5 – Panthers, Roosters impress with statement wins

FOOTBALL returned to South Australia over the weekend and some of the state’s best footballers returned to the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition. North Adelaide and South Adelaide further enhanced their premiership credentials, whilst other now top-four sides, West Adelaide and Norwood won their respective matches as well.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 0.3 | 1.4 | 3.6 (24)
NORWOOD 2.3 | 3.6 | 5.8 | 7.10 (52)

GOALS:

Central: Rosenzweig 2, Reynolds.
Norwood: Breed 3, Ferrall 3, Lishmund.

ADC BEST:

Central: K. Rosenzweig, A. Butler, S. Allan D. Sonneman, L. Huynh
Norwood: M. Zander, N. Allen, M. Breed, R. McMahon, A. Ferrall

Three-goal hauls to Mattea Breed and Alison Ferrall has seen Norwood secure a solid 26-point victory over Central District in the first return game of the SANFL Women’s competition. The Redlegs were in control for the most part, particularly after a strong first half, but despite the score, the Bulldogs were matching it with their highly fancied opponent. Central District managed to find its range in the second half when they booted three goals, and whilst the Bulldogs were still outscored, showed some really promising signs.

Najwa Allen returned to the Redlegs for the restarted season after winning a league best and fairest with the club a season earlier. It did not take her long to have an impact on proceedings, teaming up well with fellow ball-winning star Matilda Zander in midfield to find plenty of it early. Along with Rebekka McMahon who was slicing up the opposition defensive zone, the trio were among the best on ground in a big first term. The Redlegs booted 2.3 to 0.0 to head into the first break with a 15-point advantage.

They did not have it all their own way however, with reliable defender Demi Sonneman taking a great one-on-one contested mark in the defensive goal square, and the Bulldogs would have been thrilled to have Gemma Doughty back from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Doughty made a successful return and had remarkably clean hands off the deck for someone who had missed so much football. The two goals in the term went to Ferrall and Alana Lishmund whose majors in the first half of the quarter made it look like it could be a long day for the Bulldogs.

Instead, after that it was largely tight, with the Bulldogs unlucky not to be a lot closer than the 21-point deficit at half-time. They had a number of chances – particularly late – with the ball camped in Central’s forward 50 for the most part of the quarter. Katelyn Rosenzweig was starting to get going with the ball now in her zone, and she had the first chance of the day with a set shot but it fell short. She scored the Bulldogs first score – a behind – a moment later, and that was followed by behinds to Latiah Huynh and Rosenzweig again. Both were within 20m, with Huynh’s set shot just drifting and Rosenzweig’s snap over her head on the wrong side of the post.

In a cruel blow for all their efforts, Central watched as Norwood ran it down the other end, and after a couple of near misses, Ferrall was paid a free kick at the top of the goalsquare as the siren rang out moments later. She converted her second goal easily and the Redlegs were in control despite not having the majority of the play in their forward half.

The third term opened with a flurry as Breed booted her first major after some scrappy play inside 50, turning around, fending off an opponent and putting it through. She almost had a second moments later, but despite it going through, it was brought back due to a free to Doughty. The Northern Territory talent did not have to wait much longer to add another major to her name however, snapping around her body and getting the favourable bounce to clear the defender on the line.

Central refused to give in though, and continued to pepper the goals when given the opportunity. It took until the ninth minute of the third term for Rosenzweig to slot the Bulldogs’ first, and thanks to Central’s defence holding up – namely the work of Sonneman, Kimberley Fry and Shelby Smith – the Bulldogs did not concede another goal. At three quarter time, Breed had created some separation for her side with the two majors and Norwood held a comfortable 28-point lead.

Zander continued to rack up the touches and have a real influence in the early stages of the last term, but she was not the only returning player to have a say, with Doughty producing a massive run-down tackle at half-back to win the ball. She and another inclusion in Sarah Allan were prominent alongside the already reliable defensive unit, but for all their work, it was Breed who capitalised with a third goal following a free kick straight in front.

Alicia Butler was another player who was starting to really influence the contest and a long clearance inside 50 helped Chantelle Reynolds put boot to ball and dribble towards the line – after a quick fumble – but Rosenzweig finished it off with a sliding effort. Norwood responded not long after with Ferrall’s third after plenty of loose Redlegs were running around and a perfect pass from Zander found her teammate at the top of the square. With Leah Cutting also having a big day out in the ruck, the Redlegs were all but home as the time ticked down.

Reynolds got her name in the goalkicking books with a nice conversion after a free kick thanks to perfect kick placement from Huynh, and it was the last major of the day. Both Rosenzweig and Butler had chances in the dying minutes – Butler’s right before the siren – but the pressure, and in Butler’s case an opposition hand out of a stoppage, saw the chances result in behinds. The siren sounded for the Redlegs to win 7.10 (52) to 3.6 (24) and move into the top four.

STURT 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 (6)
NORTH ADELAIDE 4.1 | 8.6 | 11.6 | 12.11 (83)

GOALS: 

Sturt: A. Brown.
North: K. Barltrop 2, M. McKendrick 2, K. Pope 2, B. Perry 2, C. Castle, A. Woodland, H. Ewings, B. Arthur.

ADC BEST:

Sturt: M. Rigter, H. Prenzler, A. Ballard, G. Bevan, A. Brown
North: A. Hatchard, K. Pope, L. Daniel, L. Tynan, H. Ewings

A remarkable run of 23 scoring shots after conceding the first goal of the game saw North Adelaide Roosters send an ominous warning to the rest of the competition. Whilst it was hard to fault the effort and defensive pressure of a young Sturt outfit, the cleanliness and composure of a Roosters outfit, boosted by the inclusions of several AFL Women’s stars, was evident during the massive 77-point victory on Saturday.

The game started with Sturt setting the tone thanks to a huge Maya Rigter run-down tackle on Leah Tynan to win a free at half-back and stop a certain inside 50. Moving it down the ground, a free kick and subsequent 50m penalty moved Arabella Brown from a tight angle 20m out, to point-blank range which she duly converted. The Double Blues were up by a goal, but little did anyone know, that would end up their only score of the game.

From there, North Adelaide took control, with Adelaide best and fairest winner Anne Hatchard suffering leather poisoning, and dominating the contest. No matter what the opposition threw at her, Hatchard moved around the stoppages with grace and continued to find the ball all over the field. The accuracy with the North Adelaide kicks going forawrd was telling, and it benefited full-forward Kelly Barltrop who marked on a lead 30m out and booted the Roosters’ first of the contest seven minutes into the match.

It started a momentum roll-on with Hatchard bursting out of the middle and booting it long which led to a Mollie McKendrick goal. Lauren Daniel joined Hatchard as one of the prime movers, and despite Sturt saving a goal off the boot of Hatchard, the Roosters midfield was starting to swarm, and fellow AFL Women’s talent Britt Perry marked at the top of the goalsquare and put another home. Shortly after, Cristie Castle added her name to the list with a free kick and subsequent goal from 25m out, mostly thanks to the work by Katelyn Pope who used afterburners to blow away any opponent from trying to catch her.

If the danger signs for Sturt were not there before the break, they were shortly after as the first clearance of the second term saw Hatchard burst away, bomb it long and then Barltrop got goalside to soccer through her second. The next clearance saw young gun Hannah Ewings scoop the ball off the deck with remarkable cleanliness to give it by hand to a running Ashleigh Woodland who saluted from outside 50 with the help of a bounce in the square.

Sturt had its chances as well, getting the ball inside 50, but the work of Kristi Harvey and Amber Ward was suffocating any forward moment for the Double Blues. Holly Temby had a brave run into a contest to stop a North Adelaide switch as the Roosters were attacking, but the ladder leaders recovered and soon got it forward where McKendrick won a free out of the stoppage and kicked truly from 40m to see her side’s third in five minutes. By this stage, North was peppering the goals and arguably could have finished with more.

Arabella Prowse was showing some promising signs throughout the games through the ruck for Sturt, but the midfield of the Roosters was just too strong, and when Pope once again put the afterburners on in the 10th minute of the term, there was no stopping her as she slammed another one home and it was party time. To Sturt’s credit, the pressure applied by the likes of Rigter and young defender Hannah Prenzler coming out of the back half was stopping the flood gates opening. Hatchard had a couple of chances herself, as did fellow inclusion, Tayla Gordon whose shot from 35m out straight in front got touched on the line.

Ewings was getting better as the game went on, showing some serious X-factor with her ability to quick turn out of a stoppage and burst away to kick inside 50. She was then on the end of a Hatchard kick to mark 20m out straight in front and slot another Roosters goal. By the end of the term, Brianna Arthur and Pope had both added goals, with Hatchard still being heavily involved in most plays. Sturt also had a number of chances, but a late free kick to Georgia Bevan saw the co-captain opt to hand off the pass with the flying shot falling short and the siren going not long after.

Facing a 66-point deficit at the final break Sturt wanted to come out with fire in the belly in the second half, and Alex Ballard showed serious intent winning a free kick for going in low and hard to grab the ball at ground level. It set the tone for the rest of the quarter as the Double Blues held the Roosters goalless until the last few minutes when Perry converted a great goal. Ballard, Prenzler and Rigter were all strong right until the end, with Prowse again showing great initiative, even if it could be over zealous at times and giving away free kicks.

Whilst the Roosters arguably could have won by more with inaccuracy plaguing them, the midfield was just too deep to beat, and it will be hard to see North Adelaide losing too many games with the inclusions strengthening an already impressive outfit. For Sturt, there were signs of a promising future with some real standouts, but they were just outclassed by the clever zoning of the Roosters.

WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 (27)
WWT EAGLES 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.4 (10) 

GOALS:

West: Z. Venning, S. Thompson, R. Martin, C. Biddell.
WWT: J. Zecevic.

ADC BEST:

West: R. Martin, K. Kustermann, M. Newman, A. Ballard, S. Thompson
WWT: R. Forth, J. Zecevic, T. Maher, G. Smallcombe, A. Blanden

West Adelaide have moved clear in third spot on the SANFL Women’s table with a dour win over Woodville-West Torrens Eagles on Sunday. In what was a low-scoring slog that was predominantly a battle of half-back lines and defensive pressure, the Bloods’ defence was able to hold the Eagles to just one goal from five scoring shots, whilst capitalising on four of seven of their own to win by 17 points.

Rachelle Martin was absolutely sensational for the winners, but she was far from alone, teaming up well with partner-in-crime Abbie Ballard, whilst the defensive work of young gun Keeley Kustermann and the equally slick ball user in Madison Newman ensured the opposition had a tough time scoring. For the the Eagles, it was Renee Forth returning to the competition to be the clear standout in a losing side, and while the Eagles were only five points down at half-time, could not capitalise on their few opportunities after the main break.

The match started with Martin and Ballard immediately having an impact, and Zoe Venning capitalising on the opening goal with a long-range set shot. Forth was working hard back in defence alongside Tesharna Maher, whilst Jovanka Zecevic was having a big say in proceedings early on for the Eagles. The composure of 15-year-old Kustermann to switch at times to open up the opposite side of the ground was impressive. Her quick hands in traffic also stood out in a first term that aside from the goal in the first few minutes, yielded just one behind.

Neither defence refused to give in and clear marks inside 50 were hard to come by. Early in the second it was Ballard who put a perfectly weighted kick into Chelsea Biddell leading out 45m from goal. The pressure from the Eagles ensured that any shot that fell short was rebounded, as Maher showed off second and third efforts to desperately clear the danger zone. The goal drought broke with 2019 AFL Women’s leading goalkicker Stevie-Lee Thompson put one through the big sticks off, whilst her midfield partners were still racking up the touches.

An end-to-end play for the Westies almost resulted in a massive play of the day. It started with Kustermann laying a huge tackle to force her opponent to ground and get a stoppage. Martin won the ball at the stoppage and went for a run around the wing, Zoe Greer received it and put it quickly to Melanie Elsegood‘s advantage who put it deep to Kate Walsh near the square, but the ball slipped through her hands. In typical Eagles fashion, reliable defender Grace Smallcombe wrapped up Walsh to force another stoppage.

A couple of behinds to the Eagles were missed opportunities later in the term, before Zecevic stepped up to pick-pocket her opponent attempting to handball then took a long-range shot which sailed through with just a couple of minutes remaining. The quarter ended with just five points separating the sides and the game well and truly in the balance heading into the second half.

The third term saw Martin pick up where she left off, racking up the ball with ease. Ballard was fierce in the contest and won a free kick for a terrific tackle, whilst Forth was still battling hard coming out of defence and using her skills to advantage. The Bloods were able to use their slick short passing game to advantage and get to half-forward, but the convocation of Eagles ensured that a mark close to goal was incredibly difficult. It took until a free kick to the Bloods and Martin sneaking into a pocket to receive the ball uncontested and slot a major from 20m out to give the home side some breathing room.

One of the plays of the day from Thompson came midway through the quarter when she burst out of the middle, kicked it to half-forward, then followed up with a big tackle to lock the ball up and force a stoppage. With another behind added to the Eagles’ total, they were still down on the scoreboard, but not completely out of it.

The fourth term was the biggest arm-wrestle of the lot, with neither team able to really dent the opposition’s sturdy defence. Kustermann and Newman were class acts at half-back, standing out with their terrific ball use, whilst Martin and Ballard were able to spend time resting forward at intervals. Sensing one goal could just about seal the deal, it took a bit of magic from Biddell, who at a stoppage, gathered, snapped and put it through the middle to all but end the contest.

The Eagles had a chance to add a consolation goal through Amie Blanden who worked her opponent under the ball with great body work, got to the goalsquare, gathered the ball and went to kick it through from point blank range. Unfortunately it hit the side of her boot and cannoned into the post. With just one more behind – to West Adelaide – to end the contest, the Bloods secured an important 17-point win.

GLENELG 2.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 5.3 (33)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.2 | 3.2 | 4.3 | 7.6 (48)

GOALS:

Glenelg: E. Jones 2, E. Marinoff, S. Wilton, S. Moon.
South: J. Kirk 3, N. Gore, T. Meyer, M. Bennett, T. Charlton.

ADC BEST:

Glenelg: E. Jones, C. Gould, D. Varnhagen, E. Marinoff, S. Moon
South: N. Gore, H. Munyard, J. Kirk, T. Meyer, L. Whiteley

FOUR unanswered goals from South Adelaide to end the contest saw the Panthers get up by 15 points over Glenelg in a highly entertaining contest on Sunday. Both sides welcomed back a host of AFL Women’s talent for the contest, and it lived up to all expectations with the likes of Nikki Gore and Hannah Munyard controlling the Panthers’ midfield up against Ebony Marinoff and Deni Varnhagen, whilst Eloise Jones, Caitlin Gould and Lisa Whiteley were among the top players too.

The stacked midfields were on song from the get-go with Munyard having the first meaningful inside 50 of the game courtesy of a trademark sidestep. Her opposition midfielders in Marinoff and Varnhagen were both racking up the touches through the middle as Marinoff’s tackling pressure and Varnhagen’s outside run were swinging the contest in favour of the Bays. It took a special moment from athletic ruck, Soriah Moon to put the first scoring chain together, as she beat her opponent, turned swiftly and still got her kick away as she was tackled, with Grace Duffy getting the handball off to Jones who snapped around her body.

Czenya Cavouras was working hard in the middle for the Panthers, whilst Gore’s speed and defensive pressure was causing Glenelg headaches, producing a massive run-down tackle to win the ball back. Cheyenne Hammond put on the afterburners for South and it led to Jess Kirk winning a free and kicking the Panthers’ first. In what was a see-sawing contest, debutant Tiger Sarah Wilton got involved with Marinoff by finding her inside 50. The Crows star played on and quickly kicked a goal, but was called back and nailed the set shot anyway.

Wilton herself almost put one through from an impossible angle in the pocket, but it was touched on the line, and with the likes of Lauren Buchanan and Whiteley in defence, South managed to keep possession towards the dying moments. Kirk had a chance for her second marking strongly moments before the siren but uncharacteristically missed the set shot from straight in front for a straight-kick deficit at the first break.

Both teams were needing to start off on the right note and it was no surprise to see Marinoff on the front foot with her pressure forcing an opposition turnover and getting it down by a series of handballs to the debutant Wilton who put it straight through the middle and hand her team a 12-point lead. Young gun Panther, Indy Tahau was matching it with Moon in the ruck as a really entertaining duel, whilst Munyard and Gore were teaming up with great success. It would be Kirk who got the Panthers back on track however, being in the right place at the right time to soccer through a bouncing shot on goal from Tahlia Meyer for Kirk’s second of the day.

If Gore was not already considered one of the best-ons at that stage, she soon was with a remarkable goal that came from great defence. Gore won the ball, was intercepted, but a team defence inside 50 forced a turnover with the ball back to the Crows’ midfielder who kicked a terrific running goal to level the scores once again. In response, Marinoff stood up to mark in the pocket 35m out, but her set shot surprisingly fell short. However a huge contested grab and subsequent goal from Jones in the goalsquare saw the young star boot her second to match Kirk and hand the Tigers another lead.

Moon’s work across the ground – including getting back into defence to take a strong mark led to a scoring opportunity involving Jones, Marinoff and Wilton, ending with Gould who had a chance from 40m out but sprayed the set shot. It was a missed opportunity as the Tigers had one last chance and it was fitting that Gould would again be the recipient from a similar distance. This time it was on target, but it landed on the line and was punched through for a behind.

Leading by seven points, Glenelg was still in control of the game and needed an early response. After eight minutes of wrestling for momentum, it was Glenelg, through Moon, who got the all-important goal. Varnhagen’s work in defence had saved an earlier chance, and with Moon’s ruck work getting the ball to her midfielders’ advantage, she was on the end of one from a Jones’ set shot that fell short. Moon earned a free kick at the top of the goalsquare and popped it through. At that stage, Glenelg led by a game-high 13 points and looked in complete control of the game. Little did anyone know, it would be the Tigers’ last score of the day.

It would not be the last the crowd saw of South’s scoring though, with Meyer curling a set shot around the goal and in to almost immediately respond and put the deficit back to seven points. The atmosphere rose for the Panthers, with Gore and Cavouras burying in through the middle, and Munyard doing well on the outside. Nicole Campbell who had been quiet to that point took a massive courageous grab. Unfortunately for South, Courtney Barry had to be carried off after injuring herself in the final minutes of the game. Whilst the Panthers had the last few attacking forays, a terrific intercept contested grab by Gould in the dying seconds ensured the Bays headed into the final term with a six-point advantage.

The final term belonged to South Adelaide, though not without an early Tigers’ fight. Whilst they might not have seemed switched on immediately from the break – the Panthers only fielded 17 players and had to be told to bring another on – they were certainly switched on once the ball was bounced. A big tackle from another star who had been quiet to that point, Teah Charlton, led to a chance on goal, but it ricocheted into the post. It might have been a behind, but the pressure stakes were up.

South Adelaide were starting to swarm in numbers and Munyard had a terrific run off half-back to hit-up Charlton and she in turn got it in the Kirk direction. Whilst the ambitious tap behind the head hoped to get into her teammates’ advantage, Ellie Kellock was the first to the ball, but the pressure was there from the losing side. Soon, the breakthrough goal came and it was fitting that Kirk won a one-on-one marking contest straight in front and converted her third for South’s first lead of the game.

The duo of Gore and Munyard had gone from incredibly good to match-winners as they firmly took control of the middle in the final term as Marinoff and her side began to tire. The final term seemed to be a quarter for those to stand up and take their chances, with Madison Bennett soccering home a goal to much jubilation from her teammates. Moments later the swarming Panthers put through another as Charlton got on the board in what had been a big last quarter for the teenager.

Glenelg had a couple of chances through the quarter, but Whiteley further enhanced her credentials and match performance with a huge last term in defence, intercepting plenty of forward forays, as the reigning premiers ensured they did not let the lead slip. The last play of the day was a terrific pass from Meyer into Kirk who marked on a long lead and had a set shot after the siren. In a bizarre end to the game, Glenelg punched the ball back into play, but as the players walked away to shake hands, the ball rolled through for a behind, meaning the score counted and the Panthers had won by 15 points.

SANFL weekly wrap Round 1: Tigers hold off Norwood in massive opening round clash

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) returned over the weekend, seeing matches played out between all eight teams across the three divisions, with the competition barring Adelaide and Port Adelaide this season. In the league division, Glenelg just held on for a daring win over Norwood, while North Adelaide came away with a quality win over West Adelaide to kick off the season.

Sturt v. Central District

League: Sturt 8.3 (51) defeated Central District 5.6 (36)

Sturt made a strong start to the season on Saturday, defeating Central by 15 points at the Adelaide Oval. Sturt fielded seven debutants in the clash after Jake Sutcliffe (illness) and Sam Colquhoun (hamstring) were late withdrawals. The new-look side was strong in the clearances from the outset with ruckman Daniel Fahey-Sparks (52 hitouts) providing first use to midfielders James Battersby (26 disposals, 11 clearances), Zane Kirkwood (21 disposals) and youngster Casey Voss (16 disposals, six clearances). The Blues kicked the first five goals of the game, including three from exciting forward Ash Johnson.

Central worked their way back into the game and ended up dominating the disposals 289-234, marks 107-39 and tackles 97-68. Unfortunately for them, the early deficit proved too difficult to come back from, and Sturt were more efficient with the ball inside forward 50. With Sutcliffe, Colquhoun, premiership wingman Steven Slimming (ankle) and former Port Adelaide livewire Aidyn Johnson (suspension) looking to return next week, Sturt coach Nathan Grima will have his hands full at the selection table.

Reserves: Central District 7.11 (53) defeated Sturt 5.9 (39)

Central’s Reserves side started the year with a comfortable victory over Sturt by 14 points. The final score did not reflect the Bulldogs’ dominance in this game, as they led by 32 points at three-quarter-time before Sturt piled on three goals to none in the last term.

Under 18s: Sturt 14.13 (97) defeated Central District 7.6 (48)

Sturt were far too strong in the Under 18s, getting over the line by 49 points at X Convenience Oval. Central kicked just one goal before half time and trailed by 49 points at the main break. AFL Academy Squad members Mani Liddy (33 disposals, 11 clearances) and Tom Powell (33 disposals, seven clearances) were both impressive for the Double Blues, as was Morgan Ferres (15 disposals, three goals). Lewis Cowham and Austin McDonald both worked hard for the Bulldogs.

Woodville-West Torrens v. South Adelaide

League: South Adelaide 11.8 (74) defeated Woodville-West Torrens 10.8 (68)

Debutant Beau McCreery was the hero for South Adelaide, lifting his side over the line against Woodville-West Torrens in a close encounter. When scores were level late in the final term, McCreery ran down former Port Adelaide player Jimmy Toumpas and converted a goal from long range, before showing his speed one minute later to kick another from the goal square. Although Eagles veteran Angus Poole was able to bring the margin back to six points at the 28 minute mark, South were able to hold on.

Dual Magarey Medallist Joel Cross was outstanding for the Panthers, finishing with 34 disposals, 12 clearances and four tackles. Ex-Port Adelaide defender Matthew Broadbent was steady in his first game for the club with 26 disposals, six marks and seven tackles, while potential AFL draftee Zac Dumesny showed promise early in his SANFL League debut. For the Eagles, Jordan Foote collected 21 disposals, seven tackles and five inside 50s, and the Hayes brothers kicked five goals between them in an impressive display. The Eagles will look to bounce back next week against Sturt, while the Panthers will take on the Tigers.

Reserves: Woodville-West Torrens 12.4 (76) defeated South Adelaide 10.8 (68)

Last year’s Reserves grand finalists Woodville-West Torrens got their season off to an ideal start, winning by eight points against the Panthers at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. South led for the majority of the contest but the Eagles ran over the top in the final term.

Under 18s: South Adelaide 10.12 (72) defeated Woodville-West Torrens 9.8 (62)

The Panthers had a nice come from behind win in the under 18s, getting over the line by ten points. Max Clifton had 26 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles for the Panthers, while Nicholas Kraemer was tough at the contest with nine tackles. 191cm midfielder Caleb Poulter kicked off his season in style, racking up an imposing 34 disposals, ten tackles, seven clearances, six inside 50s and a goal for the Eagles. He is definitely a prospect to watch in 2020.

North Adelaide v. West Adelaide

League: North Adelaide 15.6 (96) defeated West Adelaide 10.7 (67)

Lewis Hender helped North Adelaide start the season with a bang, kicking seven goals en route to a 29-point victory over the Bloods on Sunday. Hender took nine marks including an early mark of the year contender in the dominant performance. He made the most of some silver service from the Roosters’ experienced midfield made up of former AFL-listed players Harrison Wigg (27 disposals, nine marks), Andrew Moore (25 disposals, seven tackles) and Billy Hartung (19 disposals, four inside 50s). North were prevalent in the clearances (39-32) and tackles (72-53).

While the Bloods were able to regularly get the ball inside forward 50, they did struggle to keep it there as the day went on. Jordon Boyle (27 disposals, eight clearances, six inside 50s) was a standout in his first game for West, while Dallas Willsmore (25 disposals, 11 marks, six tackles) worked hard all day. Potential number one pick Riley Thilthorpe had ten disposals, five tackles and five hitouts in his first game of the season.

Reserves: West Adelaide 14.2 (86) defeated North Adelaide 7.13 (55)

An accurate West Adelaide outfit proved too good in the Reserves, kicking just two behinds in their 31-point win. Kyle Kirk, Mitch Duval and Austin Forbes were impressive performers for the Bloods and will be pushing for League selection next week.

Under 18s: North Adelaide 8.10 (58) defeated West Adelaide 7.4 (46)

North Adelaide were too good in the Under 18s, defeating the Bloods by 12 points at Prospect Oval. West led for most of the game but North ran over the top in a frantic final term. AFL Academy Squad members Tariek Newchurch (three goals) and Jamison Murphy (26 disposals, four tackles) stood out in their first game of the season, as did Kallis Freer (27 disposals, four marks). Bailey Chamberlain was great for the Bloods with 28 disposals, five tackles and five clearances.

Glenelg v. Norwood

League: Glenelg 11.10 (76) defeated Norwood 10.13 (73)

Glenelg have started their premiership defence on the right foot, defeating Norwood by three points in a thriller at Adelaide Oval. The Redlegs got out to an early lead but the Tigers clawed their way back with an outstanding third term, kicking three goals to zero. This set up a final term with multiple momentum swings and lead changes until reigning Magarey Medallist Luke Partington kicked a long-range set shot to give Glenelg the victory.

Carl Nicholson was arguably best on ground for Glenelg, finishing with 21 disposals, eight inside 50s, six marks and a goal. Defensive recruit Luke Parks was brilliant in his first game for the club with 16 disposals and ten marks, several of which were intercepted. Max Proud was also great in defence with six marks and four tackles, while Liam McBean was his usual dominant-self up forward with four goals. For the Redlegs, Matthew Panos worked hard for his 21 disposals and two goals, former Crow Richard Douglas (20 disposals, seven tackles) played well in his first game since retiring from AFL, and veteran ruckman Sam Baulderstone displayed some brilliant ruck craft amongst his 41 hitouts. Norwood’s defence held up well all day and can consider themselves unlucky not to come out with the two points. They will hope to welcome Ryan Bastinac to the side for next week’s clash against the Roosters, while Glenelg will take on the Panthers in what should be an enthralling matchup.

Reserves: Glenelg 12.7 (79) defeated Norwood 8.9 (57)

Reigning Reserves premiers Norwood fell in their first match of the season to the Tigers by 22 points. It is a major scalp for Glenelg’s Reserves side and should give them great confidence going into next week.

Under 18s: Glenelg 12.12 (84) defeated Norwood 5.10 (40)

Glenelg were also too strong in the Under 18s, defeating Norwood by 44 points. The Redlegs failed to hit the front all game as they struggled to get the ball into their front half, losing the inside 50s 34-53. Potential draftee Luke Edwards collected 22 disposals, five clearances and six tackles for the Tigers, while Luke Pedlar (28 disposals, six tackles, six inside 50s) also impressed. Cooper Murley was the sole AFL Academy Squad member to play for the Redlegs in this game, finishing with 20 disposals and three tackles. Matthew Dnistriansky worked hard for his 25 disposals, ten rebound 50s and nine marks.

For more SANFL news and recaps, follow Tom Cheesman on Twitter.

SANFL Women’s Round 5 preview: AFLW stars return as competition kicks off

FOOTBALL is back in South Australia, but it is not just the return of the beloved game which will excite fans, but the fact the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s teams are going to be even stronger than before with a stack of AFL Women’s talent returning to the competition. We preview a huge round five of action which starts tomorrow morning.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, June 27, 11.50am
X Convenience Oval

The first game off the bat in the return of season 2020 is a clash between two sides that had the one win each prior to the break, but the Bulldogs’ victory came at Norwood’s expense back in Round 1. Since then Central had three consecutive losses, two by heavy margins, whilst the Redlegs won one and drew one to move up to fifth in a remarkably close competition after four rounds. With the draw in-hand, Norwood will move up to fourth on the table if they win and the undefeated North Adelaide take care of Sturt. For the Bulldogs, a win would certainly see them lift off the bottom, with both West Adelaide and South Adelaide starting favourites against their respective opponents, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and Glenelg. At the very least, Central would leapfrog Norwood with a second win against them in this clash.

Last time these teams clashed, Central won by four points and Katelyn Rosenzweig proved a problem with three majors for the winners, whilst the Bulldogs tackled their way to victory with 56 tackles to 39. Their defence led them to victory with a plus seven differential in rebounds, whilst the Redlegs dominated most other stats, most notably the marks (plus 30) and the hitouts (plus 21). It was the accuracy in front of goal that let the reigning minor premiers down in the clash, and the Bulldogs made the most of their chances.

Fast forward to this match and the teams are welcoming back a couple of AFL Women’s talents. Sarah Allan comes in for the Bulldogs to provide some much needed experience to a team that whilst impressive defensively, is still young, and will aide young gun Kimberley Fry with support back there, freeing up Demi Sonneman to continue her ripping form of the past 18 months. The Redlegs bring back last year’s league best and fairest, Najwa Allen who provides the cream on top of a well rounded team that just had not gelled prior to the season. Her inclusion could spark a real revival for the Redlegs as they eye off yet another finals series.

With the VFL Women’s not going ahead in its traditional form, Matilda Zander remains in South Australia and will have more freedom with Allen back in the side, whilst Monique Hollick – who was yet to play a game this season – and Rhiannon Busch are among those to return to the team. Whilst the COVID-19 period might have been a terrible time for a lot of people, Gemma Doughty returns from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury she sustained last season, something the Bulldogs talent would never have been able to do if the season had run its course as expected.

The Redlegs will start favourites despite the Round 1 loss, with the key to try and limit Rosenzweig’s opportunities. For Central, they have to bring the heat like they did in Round 1, and if they can reduce the impact of Allen in the midfield whilst getting more opportunities up forward, then this is a huge chance to get off the bottom of the table.

STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, June 27, 11.50am
Peter Motley Oval

League disposal records might be in threat when these teams take to the field tomorrow morning with ball magnet Anne Hatchard returning to an already ridiculously stacked Roosters outfit. North Adelaide has some unbelievable top-end experience, and they take on one of the youngest sides going around in Sturt. The Double Blues opted to not bring in any AFL Women’s players for the remainder of the SANFL Women’s season, and will focus on youth to round out 2020 – something that they have an abundance of this year.

When the competition abruptly ended, the Roosters sat on top of the table as the only undefeated team, having knocked off the other top three teams, as well as accounting for both Glenelg and Central District easily in the first two rounds. Sturt on the other hand had started slowly with losses against contenders, West Adelaide and South Adelaide before grinding out wins against Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and Central District.

The Roosters will be incredibly difficult to beat in this side, with Hatchard not being the only AFL Women’s inclusion for the side that was already dominant prior to the boosts. GWS GIANTS’ Britt Perry and West Coast’s Talia Radan both come into the side with Perry being a former Rooster before being drafted last year. She has been named at half-forward, with Radan named in defence alongside Kristi Harvey who was arguably the best state league defender in the competition. With Amber Ward and Lauren Gauci having more freedom to run the ball down the field with Radan’s inclusion, it will be difficult for most sides to try and stop them. In the forward half, Kelly Barltrop will benefit off even better disposal, whilst the likes of Cristie Castle and young star Hannah Ewings will cause havoc inside 50.

Sturt might not have the names fans know now, but they have the names fans will know in the future. Their list is stacked with some of the best young talent in the league, and led by former AFL Women’s talent Georgia Bevan, and a rising star in Maya Rigter. Prior to the break, Hannah Prenzler, Zoe Prowse and Isobel Kuiper were really stamping their authority on the competition, with Alex Ballard another young talent who has shown good signs. They have all the hallmarks of a great future side, but make no mistake this would take a mammoth upset to topple the experience that the other team has. But young teams play with no fear, and Sturt is certainly an exciting team to watch.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. WWT EAGLES
Sunday, June 28, 11.50am
Hisense Stadium

Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, West Adelaide had shown some real promising signs in season 2020, with two wins and a draw in four rounds. They would have been disappointed to let slip against Norwood in Round 4, splitting the points instead of taking all two, but now take on a Woodville-West Torrens outfit who the Bloods should start strong favourites against. With favourable inclusions from an AFL Women’s perspective, West Adelaide has every chance of being a dark horse in the competition and you cannot put a line through them given the talent they have injected into the team.

West Adelaide have wasted no time welcoming back some former Bloods, with Chelsea Biddell having a huge 2019 season which resulted in her being drafted. She lines up back at centre half-forward, whilst bringing in 2019 AFL Women’s leading goalkicker Stevie-Lee Thompson to an already damaging forward line presents nightmares for opposition defences. Madison Newman and Rachelle Martin have also been named – but they played in the Round 4 draw so did not need to be inclusions.

The Eagles have welcomed back two AFL Women’s players in Renee Forth and Jess Sedunary from the Crows and Saints respectively. Forth slots onto a half-forward flank, whilst Sedunary has been named on the bench in a side that has also lost a lot of quality for this game. Both former AFLW talent Rhiannon Metcalfe, and current Crows young gun Jaimi Tabb are unavailable, out amongst seven changes to the Round 4 clash. That match was the club’s first ever win in competition, marking a special moment for the Eagles after so many close misses this season.

The Eagles were the number one tackling team in the competition prior to the lockdown, and if they can return as such then they will make every side earn their goals. They have Tesharna Maher and Kiana Lee as talents up either end, with the latter no doubt benefiting off the strength of the team being bolstered. The Bloods have their fair share of young talent too with first time watches expected to hear the names Zoe Venning and Keeley Kustermann a fair time over the next couple of years, whilst Kasia Culhane knows how to hit the scoreboard.

The combination of Biddell and Melanie Elsegood, along with Culhane, Venning and Thompson all inside 50 makes the West Adelaide forward 50 arguably the best in the competition. The Eagles have a strong defence that is built on pressure, but the back six will certainly get a work out if the Westies fire as expected. The underdogs will need to be at their best in order to stem the flow, and winning the midfield is crucial to getting on top of their opposition.

GLENELG vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Sunday, June 28, 12pm
ACH Group Stadium

The final match of the round pits back-to-back premiers South Adelaide up against a Glenelg side that has struggled in the opening month of the season. The Panthers won three straight to open the season, before falling to the red-hot North Adelaide in the grand final replay back in Round 4. Glenelg managed to get one up over Central District in Round 3 thanks to the inclusion of Caitlin Gould who ran rampant and led her side to a huge win. Gould returns to her side, alongside one of the AFLW’s best players in Ebony Marinoff, but South Adelaide’s inclusions are also very good.

The Panthers welcome back Crows talent Nikki Gore and Western Bulldogs’ midfield Hannah Munyard who both slot into the side alongside other listed players Nicole Campbell and Czenya Cavouras who played in Round 4. They face off against a Tigers side that not only has Gould and Marinoff in the team, but also Deni Varnhagen and Eloise Jones to provide some serious X-factor around the ground. This game is shaping up to be the best of the round with so much top-end quality running around, allowing those who had already impressed prior to the break, to have more freedom in their games.

Last year Marinoff returned to the Tigers outfit in the last few rounds to guide Glenelg to a finals series, and whilst they fell short of the grand final-bound Roosters, she showed just how much of an impact she could have. She has been named in the forward pocket, but expect her to rotate with Jones who has been named onball and could easily kick multiple majors up forward. The Tigers should have no trouble generating opportunities, if the duo can get on top of the highly touted Panthers midfield. That is not to discount the likes of rising star Tessa Kohn and up and comer Sam Franson who were in good form prior to the break.

South Adelaide has won the past two flags for a reason, and whilst it would be understandable for them to drop back a peg after a host of their young guns were drafted last year, the Panthers had other ideas. They matched it with the undefeated Roosters and ticked off every other box after almost slipping up in Round 1 against the Eagles. That seemed to be a wake up call and they never looked back. Aside from their great talents of Gore, Cavouras, Campbell and Munyard through the middle who are proven at AFLW level, they also have two of the state’s brightest prospects. Teah Charlton and Indy Tahau are in the AFL Women’s National Academy, with Charlton the potential first pick for the state this year, whilst Tahau stepped up on the big stage to be best on ground in last year’s grand final. They can similarly not be underestimated by the Tigers.

The match is essentially a battle between the midfields. If the highly touted South Adelaide onball brigade get on top, then the Panthers have enough firepower to put a big score on the board. However if Glenelg can get on top, then watch out because Gould showed what she can do with delivery inside 50, and Marinoff and Jones will certainly offer that.