Category: South Australia

SANFL Women’s Round 2 review: Bloods and Roosters size up ahead of blockbuster clash next week

NORTH Adelaide and West Adelaide have sent early messages to the rest of the competition in Round 2 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s, ahead of the side’s huge Round 3 clash next week. South Adelaide became the only other undefeated side in the league taking care of Sturt, while Norwood pinched a come-from-behind win against Woodville-West Torrens in the other game.

WEST ADELAIDE 2.3 | 3.6 | 5.10 | 6.12 (48)
GLENELG 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:

West: M. Elsegood 3, T. McDermott, Z. Venning, K. Culhane.
Glenelg: S. Moon.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

West: R. Martin 21, Z. Greer 18, A. Ballard 17, K. Kustermann 15, E. Smith 15
Glenelg: C. Packer 17

West Adelaide has sent a statement to the rest of the SANFL Women’s competition with a 40-point belting of Glenelg. After an impressive win in Round 1 over Sturt, the Bloods took it up a notch to record a massive 18 scoring shots to three, and answering every challenge asked of them. When the Tigers booted their first – and only – goal to get within nine points, West Adelaide kicked away with the last four goals of the match to run out 6.12 (48) to 1.2 (8) winners.

After an inaccurate 2.3 last week, Melanie Elsegood made the most of her chances with three majors, and in what was a super defensive effort from the Bloods, restricted Glenelg from scoring in all bar five minutes of the match. The Tigers’ only goal came at the 10-minute mark of the second term when Soriah Moon broke the drought, but it was all West Adelaide after that, with the Bloods recording the last nine scoring shots of the match. Indeed with a team score of 6.12, the end margin could have been even greater with Rachelle Martin (three behinds) and Zoe Greer (two behinds) among those who could have walked away with some majors.

The stats all pointed to the Bloods, recording 42 more disposals than their opponents, and they dominated both the clearances (30-15) and inside 50s (21-12), despite Glenelg winning the hitouts for the second week in a row (33-17). Greer had a day out in a best on ground performance, picking up 18 disposals, one mark, eight clearances, 12 tackles and two inside 50s, with the two misses potentially adding an extra string to her bow on the night.

Martin was also influential in the middle with 21 disposals, one mark, five clearances, four inside 50s and four tackles, while Emma Smith (15 disposals, 10 tackles) and Olivia Smith (eight disposals, 13 tackles) were incredible with their defensive pressure. While she did not rack up the same numbers as last week, Abbie Ballard still played her role with 17 disposals, two marks, two clearances and three inside 50s, while Keeley Kustermann (15 disposals, four marks, two clearances, two rebounds and two tackles was once again good out of the back half. Zoe Venning also impressed with 13 disposals, five marks, two clearances, two inside 50s and a goal proving to be a dominant force in the forward half.

The Tigers were well beaten on the night, but Chelsea Packer was the standout with a team-high 17 disposals, two marks, six tackles and three rebounds. While the midfield was not able to make use of her dominance, Moon was a star with 24 hitouts and three clearances, as well as four tackles and a goal from just five disposals. Tessa Kohn was the other Tiger with more than two clearances, picking up four to accompany 11 disposals, two marks and seven tackles, while Lucy Armitage led the way for defensive pressure with 12 tackles.

The Tigers will need to bounce back next week when they take on Central District, while the Bloods have a huge clash against North Adelaide.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 1.2 | 3.7 | 3.11 | 5.13 (43)
STURT 1.3 | 1.3 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)

GOALS:

South: J. Kirk 3, E. Haylock, T. Meyer.
Sturt: K. Harris.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

South: T. Charlton 24, T. Meyer 21, C. Barry 20, E. Haylock 18, T. Buethke 15, C. Cavouras 15, M. McKinnon 15
Sturt: G. Bevan 19, H. Prenzler 15

A dominant South Adelaide outfit put Sturt to the sword after quarter time in a comfortable 5.13 (43) to 1.3 (9) win, booting 4.11 to 0.0 in the final three quarters to run away 32-point winners. Jess Kirk got proceedings underway for the home side, before Kate Harris responded for the Double Blues four minutes later. An array of missed chances for the visitors – including two behinds to Ally Ladas back-to-back would come back to bite them as Sturt led by just one point heading into quarter time. It was all South Adelaide after that, with Kirk adding her second and Elyse Haylock getting on the scoreboard for the Panthers to open up a 16-point advantage at half-time. An inaccurate South Adelaide side booted seven straight behinds to go from 3.4 to 3.11 and just give Sturt a sniff heading into the last quarter. Tahlia Meyer took just 32 seconds to close the door on any potential comeback in the final term, with Kirk booting her third goal later in the quarter to lock up the comfortable win.

The Panthers could have won by more with Callie Wilson (four behinds), Indy Tahau (two behinds) and Kirk (3.2) among those that could have had bigger days out. For Sturt, the side was just outplayed by a better unit, as South won 62 more disposals, and had six more contested marks, as well as won the clearances (26-16) and dominated the inside 50s (32-10). Sturt’s defence again tried to hold strong with 16 more rebounds, but were overwhelmed with the volume of inside 50 entries, though their skilful outside game showed at times, with a higher disposal efficiency (76 per cent) and 14 more marks (44-30).

Teah Charlton showed just why she is considered South Australia’s top prospect for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft with 24 disposals, three marks (one contested), five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s in the win. Meyer (21 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and a goal) was also impressive, while Courtney Barry‘s work on the inside (20 disposals, nine clearances, 10 tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds) was outstanding. Montana McKinnon continued to look a class above with 17 hitouts, three clearances, six inside 50s and 15 touches, while midfielder, Czenya Cavouras helped herself to 15 disposals, three clearances, two inside 50s and two tackles. Haylock was the other big ball winner with 18 disposals, five tackles, two inside 50s and a goal.

The Double Blues’ standout trio from last week again were the three best, with co-captains Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter impressive in midfield, and Hannah Prenzler standing up in defence. Bevan picked up a team-high 19 disposals, as well as eight tackles, three marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Rigter had a team-high 12 tackles to go with 12 disposals, two marks, three clearances and three rebounds. Prenzler finished with 15 disposals, six marks and four rebounds in a quarter back type role. Other Double Blues who showed some nice signs despite the loss were Isobel Kuiper (10 disposals, three marks, nine tackles and two clearances), Jaimee Wittervan (10 disposals, three tackles and three clearances) and Stephanie Ratliff (seven disposals, 13 hitouts, two clearances and six tackles).

Sturt has to come in next week against a hungry Woodville-West Torrens side which keeps falling short of its inaugural win in the competition, while South Adelaide takes on rival Norwood with both games a part of the Triple Header at Flinders University Stadium.

WWT EAGLES 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.5 | 4.5 (29)
NORWOOD 0.0 | 1.2 | 3.2 | 4.6 (30)

GOALS:

WWT: K. Lee 3, J. Zecevic.
Norwood: J. HIll 3, L. Bigg.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

WWT: J. Tabb 16
Norwood: M. Breed 21, S. Armitstead 17, M. Zander 16

So near, yet so far for a disappointed Woodville-West Torrens outfit that for the second consecutive week, fell short of the four points despite an incredibly spirited effort. The Eagles looked unbelievable in the first half of their clash against Norwood having almost toppled reigning premiers, South Adelaide just a week earlier. But while the winless Eagles outfit led by as much 19 points at half-time, they could not sustain it as the Redlegs booted 3.4 to 0.2 in the second half to run over the top of them with a late Lindsay Bigg goal the dagger in the hearts of Eagles fans.

Having missed out on a massive upset the week prior, Woodville-West Torrens looked determined to turn it around in the second match against Norwood. Last year’s minor premiers looked shaky last week with so much turnover from the off-season, while the Eagles lost but were every bit in the contest in Round 1. Kiana Lee started the Eagles off on the right foot with the teenager converting a goal six minutes into the contest, before Jovanka Zecevic made it two and the home side was 14 points up at quarter time without its opponent making an impact on the scoreboard. Jo Hill finally did that early in the second to get the ball rolling for Norwood, but Lee immediately answered a minute later with her second, and then her third came later in the quarter with the lead out to a 19-point advantage by the main break. Looking down and out, Hill stepped up again, booting back-to-back goals, albeit eight minutes apart, to suddenly drag her side back to within seven points at the final break. Both Lee and Eboni Tiller missed chances to give the Eagles some breathing space at the last chance, and the final term was all Norwood. Despite the Redlegs doing all the attacking, they booted four straight behinds from Bigg (two), Mattea Breed and Hill, to still trail by five points as late as the 16th minute of the final term. Then, it was a case of third time lucky with Bigg kicking a match-winning goal with 50 seconds on the clock, to send the Norwood faithful into jubilation, while for the Eagles fans it was another heartbreaking loss.

The stats were fairly even across the board in terms of ball finding and use, with Norwood able to work its way on the outside with 36 marks to 19, including nine contested to five. The Eagles brutal defensive work again stood up with a whopping 88 tackles to 47, not giving the Redlegs an inch. Despite Norwood winning the hitouts (28-20), Woodville-West Torrens won the clearances (22-20), as both the inside-50 and rebound counts were almost identical. There was not much between the sides, and it showed on the scoreboard, with Norwood able to weather the defensive pressure of the Eagles and kick a goal when required to get the job done.

Breed was the standout for the Redlegs with the Central Allies’ Under-18 representative picking up 21 disposals, three marks (one contested), five tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and two rebounds in a good all-round performance. Sophie Armitstead built on her Round 1 game with 17 disposals, one mark, five tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while Matilda Zander again found plenty of the ball with 16 touches, two marks, four inside 50s, three rebounds, two clearances and two tackles. The top ruck in the competition, Leah Cutting had 23 hitouts and two contested marks to go with four inside 50s, six tackles and 13 touches in the win. Alison Ferrall (10 disposals, three inside 50s) and Bella Smith (10 disposals, four inside 50s, three tackles and four marks) worked hard in the forward half of the ground, while Tessa Hankinson (10 disposals, two marks, two tackles, two clearances and three rebounds) was strong in defence. Hill’s three goals from six touches was ultimately the difference in the end, while Rhiannon Busch had a team-high four rebounds to go with her six touches and three tackles.

Jaimi Tabb put in a huge performance to make the Adelaide AFL Women’s coaching staff take note, recording a team-high 16 touches, as well as two marks, 10 tackles and six inside 50s, setting the tone for her teammates. Speaking of setting the tone, Mikayla Cavallaro laid a huge 14 tackles to go with 11 disposals, while Tesharna Maher was again prolific out of defence with 12 disposals, two marks, two inside 50s, three tackles and four rebounds. Also among the top ball winners for the losing side were Chloe Forby (12 disposals, two marks, three tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s) and Stephanie Walker (12 disposals, five tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s). All bar one player on the Eagles side laid at least one tackle in the match, as Grace Smallcombe and Jaime Parish had equal team-high rebounds of four apiece to aide Maher out of defence.

It would have been disappointing for the Eagles who arguably deserved the win between their efforts of the first two rounds, but it showed that whoever stands up when it counts can take the four points. Norwood was the better team on the scoreboard in the second half, and the Redlegs have a great escape heading into such a huge Round 3 match against reigning premiers South Adelaide, while the Eagles will search for that win against bottom of the table, Sturt.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)
NORTH ADELAIDE 2.2 | 5.3 | 7.4 | 9.7 (61)

GOALS:

Central: K. Rosenzweig.
North: A. Woodland 4, K. Reynolds 2, C. Castle, L. Daniel, H. Ewings.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Central: G. Madigan 13
North: L. Daniel 23, C. Castle 22, L. Gauchi 21, A. Woodland 19, H. Ewings 17, A. Ward 16

It was touted as arguably the match of the round prior to the weekend given it was the only one between two Round 1 winners, but it ended up being a premiership contender endorsement for North Adelaide. Looking to go one step further than their runner-up effort last year, the Roosters flexed their muscles on Central District with the Bulldogs side clearly improved from last season, but unable to make too much leeway against an incredibly impressive North Adelaide outfit. The Roosters ran out 54-point winners with the highest score and biggest winning margin of the season, putting an exclamation mark on their already top of the table position.

The signs looked ominous early on, with former Melbourne AFL Women’s player, Ashleigh Woodland up and about up forward, booting 2.1 in the first term as she led her side to a 14-point lead at the break. By the eighth minute of the second term, North Adelaide was 33 points up and the game seemed done and dusted. Woodland had booted her third, with Kathryn Reynolds and last week’s Breakthrough Player of the Round, Hannah Ewings both hitting the scoreboard. Competition leading goalkicker, Katelyn Rosenzweig broke the drought for her side midway through the term to give them a sniff on the edge of half-time. Alas for the home team, it was the Roosters who continued their dominance after the break, as Woodland narrowly missed a fourth goal early, before Cristie Castle and then Reynolds both capitalised, and the lead was out to 39 points at the last change. Refusing to take the foot off, North Adelaide piled on the pressure with Lauren Daniel booting her first of the contest, then Woodland converted her fourth to head home with 4.2 for the day, and the Roosters headed home with a nine-goal win.

Not surprisingly, the Roosters were dominant on the stats sheet, winning 261 disposals and going at a terrific 74 per cent efficiency. Their handball game was on-point as they moved the ball well down the ground. They took 16 more marks and seven more contested marks, and dominated the inside-50 count, 36-22. Working in the Bulldogs’ favour, they matched it with the Roosters in the middle, with both the hitouts and clearances, and were able to rebound the ball out of the back half 26 times to 21. Unfortunately for the home side, the sheer weight of numbers prevailed and the Roosters managed to score 16 times from 36 entries, with the extra class and experience of Woodlands and her teammates getting the visitors home.

There was no shortage of huge individual performances on the Roosters side, with Woodland the clear standout thanks to 19 disposals, five marks – one contested, three inside 50s, three tackles and of course, four goals from six scoring chances. Daniel was the top ball winner with 23 disposals, four marks, six clearances, four inside 50s, seven tackles and one goal, while Castle was not far behind with 22 touches, five marks – one contested – two clearances and three rebounds. Ewings had a match-high nine inside 50s working the ball brilliantly on the outside to go with her 17 touches, five marks – one contested – and three tackles. Amber Ward was reliable in defence with 16 disposals, five tackles, two rebounds and two inside 50s, while Kristi Harvey had an equal team-high four rebounds to go with 10 touches. Aside from Daniel, Leah Tynan had the most clearances with four, as well as 13 disposals and three tackles. In total, the Roosters had a massive 14 players reach double-figure disposals as they shared the ball around, and arguably what made the huge win more impressive was the fact that last year’s leading goalkicker, Kelly Barltrop was a non-factor in the contest with six touches and one behind.

Central had six players that were in double figures for disposals, with Georgia Madigan leading the way with 13, as well as three marks, three tackles and three inside 50s, while Demi Sonneman had 12 disposals – all kicks – coming out of defence as well as two marks, two tackles and three rebounds. Danielle Stewart (12 disposals, five clearances) worked hard in midfield, while Jayme-Lee Sonneman (three clearances), Shelby Smith (two) and Lauren Smith (two) were the other main midfield extractors. Kimberley Fry held up well under pressure in defence with eight touches and four rebounds, while Amber James provided a presence in the forward half with eight disposals, two marks – one contested – and four inside 50s.

There was little doubt that North Adelaide has its sights set on a premiership this year, with a number of its rivals losing players to the AFL Women’s competitions. While the Roosters also suffered some departures, they are primed for a huge attack on 2020 and would have to be premiership favourites at this stage. While no doubt the loss will sting for the Bulldogs, they have just witnessed the benchmark of the competition, and there will be some good and bad weeks throughout the season, but they have a consistent side across the park and have a great chance of bouncing back against Glenelg next week. The Roosters will take on the Bloods in a top of the table clash not to be missed.

SANFL Women’s preview: Round 2 – Bulldogs and Roosters lock claws in standalone Saturday game

AT least one team will suffer its first loss in Round 2, while another will get on the board with its first win in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, as a blockbuster Friday night is planned across two venues. The undefeated clash between Central District and North Adelaide then takes place on Saturday morning in what could be a blockbuster match.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG
Friday, February 21, 6.30pm
Hisense Stadium

Opening up the second round of the SANFL Women’s is a clash between two sides with differing results from the opening round of action. Glenelg went down to North Adelaide by 24 points at X Convenience Oval on the back of conceding six consecutive goals, while West Adelaide ran out 21-point winners over Sturt in the game immediately after that contest. Looking across both games, Glenelg had the much higher efficiency, running at 73 per cent in a match that was higher skilled against the Roosters, while the Westies had a 61 per cent efficiency against Sturt, but got the job done. The Tigers dominated the hitouts (+8) and clearances (+7) but lost the inside 50s (-2) and booted 2.10 for the match in a disappointing effort in front of goal. Had it been 10.2 instead, the Tigers win by 16 points. The Bloods were well beaten in the hitouts (-13) but completely dismantled Sturt in the clearances (+15) and inside 50s (+11), while also laying more tackles (+10). One area the Bloods would want to improve on from Round 1 was the opposition’s uncontested ball movement, with Sturt taking 46 marks to 20. What the Round 1 matches tell us is that Glenelg need to make more of its chances inside 50, and limit the influence of West Adelaide’s superb onball division, which included Abbie Ballard – who led the league in disposals with 27 – and Rachelle Martin who both form a damaging contested-ball duo. Glenelg should get first hands to the ball at stoppages with Soriah Moon playing well on debut, and recording more hitouts than the entire West Adelaide side. But with Ballard and Martin combining for 14 hitouts – and ruck Kate Walsh even recording four, it is a tough midfield to combat. Glenelg will rely on the likes of Madisyn Freeman to push up the grounds at times, winning an equal team-high four clearances last week, and if the likes of Sam Franson (two behinds) and Molly Althouse (four marks, two contested) can start to have an impact up forward, then they will be a damaging forward six to combat. Keely Kustermann looked settled last week and covers a lot of ground, while Lauren Rodato is a consistent player in defence for the Bloods. Up forward, Kasia Culhane and Melanie Elsegood both scored multiple goals, and Elsegood could have had a real day out if she put through a few more of her five chances (2.3). West Adelaide will start favourites in this clash due to the onball and forward talent, but Glenelg’s loss last week was not as bad as it might appear on the surface, and it is about taking chances in Round 2.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Friday, February 21, 7pm
Flinders University Stadium

These two teams also come into this clash with different results from Round 1, but both sides would know they can improve on their output from those respective matches. South Adelaide pulled off the great escape against Woodville-West Torrens, while Sturt suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of West Adelaide. In that game, the double Blues were well beaten around the contest with the clearances (-15) and the inside 50s (-11) going the way of the Bloods. This all came despite Sturt winning almost double West Adelaide’s hitouts (+13). The area where Sturt impressed was in its outside ball as the Double Blues took 26 more marks (more than double) and had a solid 68 per cent disposal efficiency, playing a kick-first gamestyle. South Adelaide plays a possession-style brand of football, racking up 33 more disposals than the Eagles in Round 1, nullifying the opposition’s ability to get ball to boot with a low kick-to-handball ratio. The Panthers are great at shutting down the outside run, with the Eagles only taking 18 marks to South Adelaide’s 37, while the Panthers also won the hitouts (+4), clearances (+9) and inside 50s (+6). Despite all this going the reigning premiers way, they won by just four points, and it was the defensive pressure of the Eagles that forced them to overuse the ball, and also the visitors’ inaccuracy that helped the Panthers get home. South Adelaide is an incredible side and it will be expected to put out a similar effort against Sturt in shutting down the outside run and making more chances in front of goal. With Montana McKinnon potentially heading back to AFL Women’s after being named in the extend squad, Sturt will have a advantage in the ruck, and the Double Blues’ defensive setup is quite solid, but they cannot afford to be beaten out of the middle again. Stephanie Ratliff and Zoe Prowse were impressive in the ruck last week, with the mobile Prowse also doing her part around the stoppages. Georgia Bevan and Maya Rigter (five combined clearances last week) will have to step up again in this contest, with South Adelaide having the likes of Indy Tahau (eight clearances), Czenya Cavouras (six) and Teah Charlton (four) all standing out as a dominant trio in there. Rachel Dunstan and Hannah Prenzler were able to work hard defensively, with Prenzler picking up two rebounds and seven marks against the Bloods to hold up in the defensive 50. Along with Alysha Healy and Aajiah Jerico, it will be important for the visiting side to hold up back there and drive the ball forward against an unpredictable forward line. South gets a lot of goals out of its midfield, and once it wins the ball, it is hard to stop it being locked in the Panthers’ forward half. Expect South Adelaide to come out firing, with so much depth in its side, but if Sturt can make more of its ruck dominance, then the Double Blues can try and up the tempo and play keepings-off.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. NORWOOD
Friday, February 21, 8.15pm
Hisense Stadium

Yet to have a win in their short history, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles would be seeing this Friday night clash as a real chance to breakthrough and record a ‘W’. The Eagles came agonisingly close to causing a boilover against reigning premiers South Adelaide on the road, and now take on a Norwood side still finding its feet after so much change in the off-season. With a brand new midfield brigade, the Redlegs still looked solid, but will be better for the run during the loss against Central District last week. Norwood had an extra scoring shot than the Bulldogs, and played their traditional possession style game with 33 more disposals and 30 more marks – including seven more contested – but were not able to capitalise on their inside 50 entries (+7). The Central defence was able to pick-off the attacking forays with eight more rebounds and 16 more tackles. Norwood’s ruck, Leah Cutting is the best in the business and dominated the Bulldogs with 21 more hitouts and that helped the Redlegs win three more clearances too – an area that could further improve considering that ruck work dominance. The Eagles will have seen the pressure that Central applied to the Redlegs and bring much of the same, laying 14 more tackles than the Panthers, and three more rebounds. They will need to make more of their opportunities count as well, booting just three goals from nine scoring chances in Round 1, and you cannot afford to do that every week. The Eagles are not a huge disposal-winning team, but instead have that shared brand of football where everyone plays their role and it seemed to be effective for the most part against a highly-credentialed Panthers side last week. Youngster, Tesharna Maher recorded six rebounds in the loss last round, while Allison Evans had three as the pair patrolled the backline. In the middle, Teagan Usher had a team-high four clearances, but the Eagles will need to muster up more of those by sharking the opposition ruck. The tackling pressure is something that the Eagles had no problems bringing, with Evans and Sophie Zuill both laying eight, and Adele Gibson having a team-high four inside 50s. Kiana Lee was quiet on the scoreboard last week but will be better for the run, taking three contested marks and signalling her intent in the air. In the absence of a number of midfielders who made the step up to AFL Women’s this season, Matilda Zander picked up a game-high 20 touches against the Bulldogs last week, well aided by Alison Ferrall (15) and Lindsay Bigg (14). Mattea Breed was also important in that midfield group with three clearances and four inside 50s, while Jo Hill made the most of her chances up forward with two goals. Sophie Armitstead was the leading clearance worker, and while the Redlegs midfield is still developing, they have the talent to make more opportunities from Cutting’s dominance. Norwood have the runs on the board over past years, but the Eagles arguably looked more impressive last week. It will be an absolute blinder of a game.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, February 22, 11.30am
X Convenience Oval

The only game in Round 2 that features two Round 1 winners is between the sides that finished second and second last, in 2019. A much improved Central District team outlasted last year’s minor premiers Norwood in a nice little upset to start 2020, while North Adelaide booted six consecutive goals to run out four-goal winners over Glenelg and now sit top of the table. In that win, the Roosters actually had five less disposals and seven less tackles, but were so efficient with their scoring accuracy, capitalising on more chances than the Tigers’ 2.10. North lost both the hitouts (-8) and clearances (-7) but rebounded well to win the inside 50 count (+2) and overall were a more efficient side going forward. They will need to continue that throughout the season, because as impressive as the win was, the Roosters can still improve further. The Bulldogs also had less disposals for greater efficiency which makes this an intriguing match. Central had 33 less touches than Norwood in the win last round, and were beaten on the outside with 30 less marks. But the Bulldogs made more of their chances inside 50 and tackled their way to victory (+16). They were smashed in the ruck (-21) and lost the clearances (-3) and inside-50 (-7) counts, but the Bulldogs defence held firm under the attacks with eight more rebounds. The Bulldogs will not be afraid to make it a contested game, with Shelby Smith (20 touches, five clearances and three tackles) leading the way in Round 1, while Jaymee-Lee Sonneman and Lauren Smith both had the three clearances. Demi Sonneman, Kimberley Fry and Abbey Scheer were reliable in defence with a combined 12 clearances, and then Katelyn Rosenzweig was the dominant force up forward with four goals from five scoring chances and seven disposals. North Adelaide has its own goal-scoring machine in Kelly Barltrop, with last year’s leading goalkicker booting two goals in the Round 1 win to start her season off on the right note, while Cristie Castle was sensational across the ground with 17 touches, six marks (three contested), five clearances, four inside 50s and a goal. Hannah Ewings won the Breakthrough Player for Round 1 after the 16-year-old won 12 disposals and four marks, and also booted a goal on debut. Kristi Harvey will likely have the tough job of containing Rosenzweig in the match, while the likes of Lauren Daniel and Amber Ward provide the offensive run out of the back half. North Adelaide have the experience in big games and go in deserving favourites, but the Bulldogs look to have built on last season and will be up for the fight.

SANFL Women’s review: Round 1 – Panthers survive scare as Bulldogs topple Redlegs

IN a huge first round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, the reigning premiers just escaped a fierce battle against last year’s wooden spooners, while fellow bottom two side from 2019, Central District claimed a confidence-boosting win over last year’s minor premiers, Norwood.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.2 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.4 (28)
WWT EAGLES 1.0 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 3.6 (24)

GOALS:

South: L. Buchanan, J. Kirk, K. Nijhuis, C. Wilson.
Eagles: M. Cavallaro, N. Collie, J. Zecevic.

DISPOSALS:

South: C. Cavouras 20, M. McKinnon 18, I. Tahau 17, J. Smith 15
Eagles: A. Evans 15

Reigning premiers, South Adelaide survived an almighty scare from Woodville-West Torrens to post a win in its opening game of the season. Heading into the match, the Panthers were strong favourites despite so much off-season turnover with a number of players earning places on AFL Women’s lists. Montana McKinnon was available for South in this game however, while Jaimi Tabb ran out for the Eagles after missing out on Crows selection as well.

The match started relatively as expected with Lauren Buchanan and Kelli Nijhuis both booting goals, the latter of whom was on debut prompting much celebration. The celebrations did not last long though, with Nicole Collie breaking through with a major for the Eagles, before Madison Bennett missed a couple of chances on goal. In a surprise to the home fans, the Eagles showed they were well and truly up for the fight, booting two goals to zero in the second term, courtesy of Jovanka Zecevic and 21-year-old debutant, Mikayla Cavallaro. The quarter put the underdogs up by a goal at the main break, but four minutes in and the scores were level again thanks to a Jess Kirk major for the Panthers. Callie Wilson regained some breathing space for South Adelaide with a major midway through the term, and then an arm-wrestle ensured for the remainder of the contest. Neither side could find the big sticks, with five behinds in the last quarter – four to the Eagles with the breeze, and it meant they fell agonisingly short of an inaugural win and massive upset.

South Adelaide had a kick-first mentality that seemed to work, with 35 more disposals, with 65 per cent of those 204 disposals being kicks, while the Eagles had a much lower 56.7 per cent from 171 disposals. It was the outside marking ability of the Panthers that really stood out, taking 37 marks to 18, eight of which were contested. They also won the hitouts (24-20), clearances (26-17) and inside 50s (31-25), but you could not take the defensive pressure out of the contest with the Eagles winning the tackle (73-59) and rebound 50 (25-22) counts.

McKinnon was absolutely sensational and would have given the Crows’ coaching staff plenty to think about, amassing 18 disposals, 20 hitouts, seven marks (five contested), six inside 50s, two tackles and two rebounds in a clear best on ground performance. Working hard through the midfield roving the teenagers’ taps were fellow teens, Indy Tahau and Teah Charlton. The pair combined for 31 disposals, eight clearances, six inside 50s and nine marks in a combination that will no doubt be on show at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships later in the year. Czenya Cavouras‘ ball-winning ways continued with 20 touches, 11 tackles and six clearances to be the next best after McKinnon, while Jaslynne Smith (15 disposals, seven rebounds) was superb in defence.

For the Eagles, Allison Evans had a team-high 15 touches, three marks, eight tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Sophie Zuill finished with 13 disposals, eight tackles and two clearances. Providing a hard edge along with that duo was Tabb, who finished the game with 12 disposals, two marks, seven tackles and three rebounds, but was unlucky not to boot a goal in the game, finishing with two behinds. Tesharna Maher was really prominent defending in the back half, having a team-high six rebounds to go with 10 touches and three tackles, while Adele Gibson was fluent in midfield, with four inside 50s, five tackles and 10 disposals.

In the end it was just the overall class of the Panthers and star-stuffed top dozen players that helped them get over the line against a plucky Eagles outfit. Woodville-West Torrens will be better for the run, and come up against a vulnerable Norwood next week at Hisense Stadium, while South Adelaide faces Sturt back at Flinders University Stadium again in a match they should be strong favourites for too.

NORTH ADELAIDE 1.0 | 5.4 | 6.4 | 7.4 (46)
GLENELG 1.4 | 1.4 | 2.9 | 2.10 (22)

GOALS:

North: K. Barltrop 2, C. Castle, H. Ewings, T. Gordon, K. Reynolds, L. Tynan.
Glenelg: J. Bates, J. Bradley.

DISPOSALS:

North: C. Castle 17
Glenelg: S. Franson 16

A hungry North Adelaide side desperate for redemption following last year’s SANFL Women’s Grand Final loss sent a message to the rest of the competition with a four-goal victory over an inaccurate Glenelg side. Six unanswered goals from the 12th minute of the first term through to the 12th minute of the third term handed the Roosters the win, and showed exactly why they could well be the team to beat in season 2020.

It was a mid-morning game on Saturday and Jordana Bradley was the first player to seize the moment, pouncing on a goal for the Tigers to put her side in front. For the majority of the first term, Glenelg dominated, booting 1.4 and looking like they would really build a strong lead. Unfortunately inaccuracy plagued them – as it would throughout the contest, and instead thanks to a Leah Tynan goal midway through the term, the Tigers only led by four points at the first break. Any doubts about the Roosters’ premiership credentials were soon put to bed with a massive four-goal second term, booting 4.4 to 0.0 to run away with a 24-point lead at half-time. Last year’s competition leading goalscorer, Kelly Barltrop got on the board for the first time in season 2020 with a couple of goals, while Hannah Ewings and Cristie Castle both booted majors. All three players could have had more, with Ewings missing a couple of chances and Barltrop and Castle also missing the opportunity for an additional major. With the breeze again in the third term, it was up to Glenelg to make the most of it, but four consecutive behinds in the first 10 minutes of the quarter stung deep. When Tayla Gordon converted the Roosters’ sixth consecutive goal, it was like a dagger to the heart. Jessica Bates managed to boot a drought-breaking major a minute later, but the result was decided. Kathryn Reynolds booted a fourth quarter goal – the only one from either side – to help North Adelaide record a 24-point win.

Despite the lop-sided result, it was largely the second term that decided the match, with Glenelg largely matching it with the Roosters across the statistics. The Tigers had three more disposals – and looked to utilise their kicking ability more – with a 73 per cent disposal efficiency, while laying seven more tackles (41-34). They won the hitouts (23-15) and clearances (22-15), but their decision making once inside 50 needed improvement with just two goals from 12 chances – an additional scoring shot to their opponents. The Roosters showed that despite not playing at their best and being beaten in the midfield, they were able to put away a side by four goals, and still show the damaging firepower they have at their disposal which was a feature of their game in 2019.

Castle was a real inspiration in the forward half and through midfield, winning a game-high 17 disposals and five clearances, as well as taking six marks – three contested and four inside 50s. Lauren Daniel was predictably busy around the ground with 14 disposals, five marks, two clearances and two rebounds, while Adrienne Davis had 13 touches, four marks, three tackles and a clearance. All eyes were on Bek Rasheed in the ruck, with the debutant continuing on the famous family ties – father Mick Redden is the club’s games record holder – with the red and white, having 14 hitouts in the bulk of the ruckload, while also helping herself to seven disposals, three clearances, two tackles and two inside 50s. Barltrop booted two goals, but also had three marks and two tackles, while up the other end, Kristi Harvey marked her return from Carlton’s VFL Womens’ side with nine disposals, two marks and five rebounds playing at full-back. Tynan also had a notable game, amassing 12 touches, four marks, three inside 50s, two rebounds, two clearances, two tackles and a goal.

For Glenelg, youngster Madisyn Freeman looked impressive through the midfield, buzzing around with 14 touches, two marks, four clearances, two tackles, two rebounds and one inside 50, only bettered by Sam Franson who looked fierce through the middle, racking up 16 touches, two marks, six tackles and two inside 50s in her first performance back for 2020. Lucy Earl had 13 kicks which were her total amount of disposals, spreading nicely and trying to create run with five marks and three rebounds out of the back half. Tessa Kohn was one of Glenelg’s most prominent midfielders with the debutant looking good thanks to 12 disposals, four clearances, three inside 50s and two tackles. Also making her debut and holding her own against fellow debutant Rasheed, ruck Soriah Moon had 15 hitouts to accompany 10 disposals, four tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s.

Overall it was a promising, yet not quite perfect performance for the Roosters who once they click across four quarters will be hard to stop. North Adelaide travels to X Convience Oval once again in Round 2, this time being the genuine visiting side against a Central District outfit that looked impressive in Round 1. Glenelg on the other hand takes on West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium in the first game of a double header at the ground on Friday night.

STURT 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 2.3 (15)
WEST ADELAIDE 1.1 | 2.5 | 4.6 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS:

Sturt: A. Ballard, A. Ladas.
West: K. Culhane 2, M. Elsegood 2, Z. Venning.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Sturt: G. Bevan 19, M. Rigter 18
West: A. Ballard 27, Z. Venning 17, R. Martin 15

An absolutely inspired performance from pocket rocket, Abbie Ballard has propelled West Adelaide to an opening round win over Sturt. The Westies always looked in control, but stepped it up in the second half to boot three goals to two, restricting the Double Blues to just five scoring shots for the entire match. It was an imposing performance from the West Adelaide line-up that looked desperate to undo the wrongs of last season where the Bloods narrowly missed out on finals. Fast forward to the start of 2020, and they look ready and raring to go for a big season ahead.

The first half was largely anticlimactic for the neutral as West Adelaide completely dominated its opponent. Kasia Culhane kicked the first goal of the match six minutes into the game, before a goal early in the second term to Melanie Elsegood was the only other major in a low-scoring half of action. Elsegood had chances to add to her total with a couple of behinds either side of her goal in the first half, while West Adelaide’s fierce pressure provided plenty of forward entries, four consecutive behinds meant the Westies were not getting value for money going forward. Ally Ladas finally broke the drought for the Double Blues in the opening two minutes of the third term, albeit with a behind, before business returned to normal as Culhane and Elsegood both booted their second goals to race out to a 29-point advantage at the final break. Something clicked in Sturt to start the last term, as co-captains Maya Rigter and Georgia Bevan both had chances in the opening few minutes but missed, while Ladas broke through with her first goal, joined by Alex Ballard four minutes later. The margin was back to 15 points and there was an air of uncertainty about the result for the first time since before the game, though Zoe Venning soon put that to rest with a goal midway through the term to solidify a 5.6 (36) to 2.3 (15) victory.

West Adelaide dominated the clearances and inside 50s which was where the game was won, as the Westies doubled Sturt’s clearances (30-15) and almost doubled the inside-50 count (24-13). This came off the back of Sturt actually dominating the ruck contest (28 hitouts to 15), and taking more marks around the ground (46-20). They used the ball more efficiently with a 68 per cent record on the day, but the Double Blues could not win enough of the ball around stoppages and give their forwards enough chances in front of goal. Their effort and intensity was certainly there, but the Bloods were too strong around the clinches.

In what was not only a best on ground performance, but a Player of the Round performance, Ballard had an absolute field day out on X Convenience Oval, racking up 27 disposals, five marks – one contested – nine clearances, four tackles and three inside 50s. To put that in perspective, Sturt only had 15 clearances, six more than Ballard alone. Her partner-in-crime, Rachelle Martin looked very impressive coming back from her debut with Adelaide as the top-up injury player, amassing 15 disposals, five clearances, a game-high 11 tackles and two inside 50s to support Ballard on the inside. Venning’s late goal capped off a strong performance of 17 disposals, two marks, five tackles, three clearances and two inside 50s, while Keeley Kustermann worked hard around the ground on debut with 14 disposals, two marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds. To go with her two goals, Culhane also had 12 touches, two marks, four tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s, while Elsegood could have had a real day out with straighter kicking, booting 2.3 from 10 disposals and two marks – one contested.

It was no surprise to see co-captains, Bevan and Rigter lead from the front. Bevan had a team-high 19 disposals, as well as two marks, six tackles, three clearances and three rebounds, while Rigter helped herself to 18 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and two clearances.  In a career-high, Rachel Dunstan‘s homecoming to Sturt – the side she had played with in 2018 before her local club Woodville-West Torrens gained a team and she moved – proved fruitful with the young talent having 11 touches, two marks and two rebounds – five more disposals than any other game last season. Teenager Zoe Prowse showed she will only continue to get better with time, having 11 touches, eight hitouts, three clearances and two inside 50s, working in tandem with ruck Stephanie Ratliff (16 hitouts).

In Round 2, both sides face off in Friday night encounters as West Adelaide returns home to Hisense Stadium where the bloods host Glenelg to try and continue their winning run, while Sturt heads to Flinders University Stadium to take on reigning back-to-back premiers, South Adelaide.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.1 | 1.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 (33)
NORWOOD 1.1 | 2.3 | 3.4 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS:

Central: K. Rosenzweig 4, M. Lane.
Norwood: J. Hill 2, L. Bigg, J. Halfpenny.

HIGH DISPOSALS:

Central: S. Smith 20, L. Huynh 15
Norwood: M. Zander 20, A. Ferrall 15

It is often said that the gap is closing between the best and worst sides in the competition, and that could not be more true in the SANFL Women’s considering the results in Round 1. While the winless Eagles from 2019 almost toppled the reigning premiers, last year’s second bottom side and fellow inaugural outfit, Central District defeated one of the premier sides of the past three years in Norwood. With a new coach, an almost entirely new midfield group and a high turnover of players due to the success of the Redlegs, Norwood went down to a determined Central District outfit, led by Katelyn Rosenzweig in a come-from-behind win.

Norwood was the first team on the board during the match with Jo Hill getting an early goal two minutes in which followed from an Isabel Martin behind. The visitors were already looking dangerous but the Bulldogs settled down the tempo as Rosenzweig had a chance but missed early, and a dour first term came to an end at 1.1 to 0.1. It was not long before the crowd got up and about in the second term with Madison Lane converting a major two minutes into the quarter. Lindsay Bigg soon responded for the Redlegs and both sides had multiple chances to add to their totals, but in the end it was Norwood up by seven points. What happened next was a mixture of shock and elation for the X Convenience crowd as their Bulldogs – or more accurately Rosenzweig – piled on four of the next five goals to race out to an eight-point lead five minutes into the final term. Hill had added her second goal to briefly grab back the lead midway through the second quarter, but it was not until Jade Halfpenny finally broke the drought in the ninth minute of the final term that Norwood could get back on track. But in a twist, it would not be enough for the favourites, as the Bulldogs held on despite fierce pressure to record a narrow four-point win and start their season off on the right foot.

Unsurprisingly despite a new-look group the Redlegs still played a possession brand of football with 23 more disposals (211-178) and tried to use quick handballs and run to move the ball going forward. They had a whopping 30 more marks (55-25) and were too strong in the air (7-2 contested), as well as dominating the hitouts (32-11) and inside 50s (28-21). The Bulldogs defensive unit – which was underrated last season given the high amount of inside 50s its opposition was getting – played incredibly well with 22 rebounds to 14, whilst the Bulldogs laid 54 tackles to 38. The home side also used the ball better (68-65 per cent) and were more efficiency with five goals from eight chances compared to four from nine.

While the statistics might have looked like Norwood should have been on top, Rosenzweig’s finishing ability – 4.1 from seven touches and three marks – one contested – was the difference and she will prove to be hard to stop not only each game, but for the leading goalkicker trophy overall. Shelby Smith was terrific for the Bulldogs on debut with the 28-year-old having an equal game-high 20 touches, as well as five clearances, three marks and three tackles, getting back to help the defence with three rebounds and getting forward for two inside 50s. Latiah Huynh had her share of the ball with 15 disposals, two marks, two tackles and two inside 50s, while Demi Sonneman played at a high level in defence, racking up six rebounds and 13 touches on the day. Youngster Kimberley Fry had 11 disposals, two marks, three tackles and three rebounds, while Abbey Scheer was also strong defensively with 11 touches, six tackles and three rebounds.

One of the few remaining midfielders from last season, Matilda Zander stepped up in the absence of Najwa Allen, Hannah Dunn and Ebony O’Dea, picking up an equal game-high 20 disposals, as well as six marks, four tackles, two clearances and two rebounds. Alison Ferrall had 15 disposals and six inside 50s running hard on the outside, while Lindsay Bigg and tall utility, Mattea Breed both had 14 touches and three clearances, as well as combining for seven inside 50s and five tackles. Sophie Armitstead was another consistent performer with 12 disposals, three tackles and four clearances, while Hill (11 disposals, two marks, five hitouts and three clearances) and Bella Smith (10 disposals, five marks – two contested – two tackles, six hitouts and five inside 50s) aided ruck, Leah Cutting (eight disposals, five marks, six tackles and 19 hitouts well.

Looking ahead to Round 2, Central District faces North Adelaide in a battle of the two most impressive sides from the opening round – at X Convenience Oval – while Norwood has to back up and look to knock off the Eagles at Hisense Stadium on Friday night.

SANFL Women’s 2020 team preview: Woodville-West Torrens

IN our final South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team preview, we take a look at Woodville-West Torrens Eagles, a side that finished its inaugural season without a win, but showed great spirit throughout and seemed to gel more as the season went on.

 

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 8th
Wins: 0
Losses: 10
For: 227
Against: 542
Percentage: 41.9%

 

2020 CHANGES

(as per Zak Milbank’s article on the SANFL site)

IN: Ali Evans (West Adelaide), Rebecca Catterall (Central District), Nicole Collie (North Adelaide).
OUT: Jaimi Tabb (Adelaide AFLW), Tash Farrier (Ice Hockey), Hannah Scholar (West Adelaide), Taylor Hand (West Adelaide), Jo Baltias (Sturt), Rachel Dunstan (Sturt), Aajiah Jericho (Sturt).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kiana Lee

Missed out on being drafted last year, but the 18-year-old showed in patches that she has what it takes to keep pushing and deserved a place in the Central Allies side at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. Lee returns to the Eagles line-up having booted nine goals from 10 games in a team that struggled to put scores on the board last year. She will again be a key target inside the arc so expect her to cause some headaches with an extra year of experience under her belt.

Stephanie Walker

A member of the leadership group having stepped back from the inaugural captaincy last year, Walker was one of the Eagles’ most consistent players last season. She played 10 games and averaged 15.3 disposals and 2.8 rebounds, working hard to push back and help her defenders, all while running at 75 per cent disposal efficiency. She will again be one the team turns to this season, though the former AFL Women’s player has been touted for a role change in 2020, to provide more support in attack

Jaimi Tabb

Despite the fact Tabb will likely play plenty of games for the Crows given her form last year – getting better as the season went on – if she does manage to come back and play it is impossible not to have her on this list. She went from strength to strength in 2019, winning the ball on a string and then continuing that form into the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. Loves the contested side of football but can also outrun her opponents on the outside, always wearing them down.

Caitlin Sampson

A key player through the ruck, Sampson provided first hands to her teammates in the role, playing the first seven games of the season and showing some promising signs in her first year in the competition. She averaged six touches and 14 hitouts per game, ranking fifth overall in the stat. Still raw and developing, Samson will have benefited from 2019, and with some fresh faces around, she could be important against a host of talented talls in the competition this year.

Jovanka Zecevic

The 21-year-old was a permanent fixture out of defence, averaging 11.1 disposals and 2.7 rebounds per game. She played nine of a possible 10 games, and had a purple patch mid-season where she racked up 17, 16 and 18 disposals consecutively – against the top three teams. In the same period, she averaged almost five rebounds per game, standing up under severe heat, and with Walker playing more of a forward role, she will be the one to turn to when it comes to settling down the back six.

FIXTURE

1 vs. South Adelaide
2 vs. Norwood
3 vs. Sturt
4 vs. Glenelg
5 vs. West Adelaide
6 vs. Norwood
7 vs. Central District
8 vs. North Adelaide
9 vs. Glenelg
10 vs. Sturt

Woodville-West Torrens has a mixed bag when it comes to double-up games, facing last year’s minor premiers Norwood, finalists Glenelg and bottom three side Sturt, twice. It is a tough start to the season with the reigning premiers and Redlegs up in the first fortnight, but the goal for the Eagles this season will be to breakthrough for that first win and then build from there.

SANFL Women’s 2020 team preview: West Adelaide

IN the next of our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team preview, we take a look at West Adelaide, a side that came agonisingly close to a finals appearance, but was pipped at the post by an Ebony Marinoff-inspired Glenelg.

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 5th
Wins: 6
Losses: 4
For: 298
Against: 347
Percentage: 85.9%

 

2020 CHANGES

(as per Zak Milbank’s article on the SANFL site)

IN: Rachael Killian (returned/NT Thunder), Zoe Greer (Norwood), Taylor Hand (Woodville-West Torrens), Hannah Scholar (Woodville-West Torrens), Kate Walsh (SMOSH West Lakes).
OUT: Madison Newman (Adelaide AFLW), Chelsea Biddell (Adelaide AFLW), Tayla Gordon (North Adelaide), Ali Evans (Woodville-West Torrens), Leah Swain (maternity leave/Melbourne).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Madison Newman / Chelsea Biddell

Similar to our South Adelaide preview, we have included both Newman and Biddell as ones to watch purely because though they departed the club for AFL Women’s, they did land at Adelaide which gives them a chance to still run out with the Bloods in the upcoming season. Newman finished top five in disposals last year and was a revelation in the back half, while Biddell was the club’s leading goalkicker. While it is hoped they can both make an impact at AFL Women’s level – especially given the Crows’ recent run with injuries – the club would love to have them back, even if it is only a few games towards the back-end of the season.

Abbie Ballard

The teenager is entering her draft year and the now top-ager will look to take over from Newman as the key talent through the midfield group with the more experienced, Rachelle Martin. Ballard showed a fierce tenacity to attack the contest and despite her size – 159cm – she won double-figure disposals on all bar one occasion to average 16.1 per game to go with her 4.1 clearances, 5.4 tackles and 2.1 inside 50s. Her final game of the season in the loss to South Adelaide saw Ballard rack up 24 touches, three marks, five tackles, six clearances and five rebounds in a superb effort leaving fans excited for what could come in 2020.

Rachael Killian

One of the bigger inclusions across the SANFL Women’s competition for 2020, the 174cm midfielder is still only 25-years-old but has premiership experience at the highest level, playing in the inaugural AFL Women’s premiership side with Adelaide. Last season she played three games with NT Thunder, where she averaged more than 10 touches per game. She should slot straight into the midfield and be that extra hand around the stoppages, not afraid to lay a tackle and then go forward and find the goals. A handy player to have running around for the Bloods.

Rachelle Martin

After an unbelievable 2018 SANFL Women’s season where she was one of the most dominant ball winners in the competition, Martin was restricted to just four games due to injury in 2020. She made them count, averaging 19.8 disposals, 6.8 tackles, three clearances, three marks and 2.3 inside 50s. She also managed to boot a goal in two of her games, and did play the last three of the season, Unfortunately it took her a few weeks to get back to her best and by then the season was over. Could stake a claim as one of the best ball-winning state players and is almost a new inclusion into last year’s side. If she stays fit will be an unbelievable talent in that on-ball brigade.

Melanie Elsegood

Finished second overall in the club goalkicking last season, slotting 10 goals in nine games for the Westies. With Biddell potentially no longer inside 50, Elsegood has free reign to be the dominant target for her club, and she has to stand up and deliver this year. Not a huge ball winner, Elsegood is someone reliable to hit the scoreboard, doing so in seven of her nine games, including a bag of three to open the season, and two goals to finish it. One who could benefit from the permanent inclusions of Martin and Killian.

FIXTURE

1 vs. Sturt
2 vs. Glenelg
3 vs. North Adelaide
4 vs. Norwood
5 vs. WWT Eagles
6 vs. Sturt
7 vs. South Adelaide
8 vs. Central District
9 vs. Norwood
10 vs. South Adelaide

West Adelaide could be one of the more unknown quantities in the competition. The Bloods came close to finals last year, and while they have lost a number of key players, have brought in quite a few talents at the same time. If they play to their potential, the Westies could sneak into the top four and play finals. They face a tough draw however, with double-ups against reigning premiers South Adelaide – both in the last four weeks – and Norwood, as well as Sturt. Realistically need to win quite a few early to make finals a possibility, but have faith because in patches they looked impressive last season.

SANFL Women’s 2020 team preview: Sturt

IN the next of our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team previews, we take a look at Sturt, a team that was not always the most consistent side last year finishing in the bottom three, but has welcomed a host of players to its line-up this year that should bolster its depth and potential on the field.

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 6th
Wins: 2
Losses: 8
For: 239
Against: 409
Percentage: 58.4%

2020 CHANGES

(as per Zak Milbank’s article on the SANFL site)

IN: Jo Baltias (Woodville-West Torrens), Rachel Dunstan (Woodville-West Torrens), Aajiah Jericho (Woodville-West Torrens), Louise Firth (Scotch Old Collegians), Ally Ladas (soccer), Stephanie Ratliff (basketball).
OUT: Lilla Berry (Overseas), Della Griffith (netball/athletics).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Georgia Bevan

The standout performer last season for the Double Blues winning the 2019 club best and fairest, Bevan will again lead the side in 2020 alongside with Maya Rigter who came runner-up and showed enormous promise as a teenager last year. Bevan averaged 16.2 disposals, 2.3 marks, 2.7 rebounds, 2.0 inside 50s, 5.3 tackles and 5.3 clearances to be the key onballer who ran up and down the ground all day long to ensure she supported both the back six and forward six. She had three games with 20 or more disposals and only one game under 12 touches as a ray of consistency all day long. Her best game arguably came in the last round where she had 21 touches, four marks – two contested – nine clearances, six tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds, though she had a number of ripping games including leading her side to a huge win over the Eagles with an 11-tackle, seven-clearance performance.

Maya Rigter

Only 19-years-old, the 169cm midfielder is a tackling machine. She can play inside or outside and has the versatility to do all the team things, or go in and win the ball herself and feed it to teammates. In season 2019, Rigter averaged a whopping 7.5 tackles per game, as well as almost three inside 50s, and 2.1 clearances. She might be young, but she was picked to co-captain the side this year – after being in the leadership group last year – along with Bevan, so expect her to take it up another notch yet again. She used the ball well last season despite often winning the ball under pressure, so is a real key player in the Double Blues’ jumper.

Hannah Dreckow

Unlike a lot of the others in this group, Dreckow is an experienced veteran at 37-years-old. She finished third overall in hitouts last year and proved that she can still compete with the best talls in the game. Her tap work around the stoppages will be invaluable to her young midfield brigade, and will provide that extra experience when needed to spur her team on when they are down. With a strong midfield core, Dreckow will be able to work closely with them and build on her season last year where she averaged about 10 disposals and 14.6 hitouts per game.

Caitlyn Swanson

The 25-year-old played all 10 games last season and while she rotated around a number of positions both inside and outside, her purple patch in the middle of the season where she went inside yielded some good results. In a four week block from Rounds 4-7, Swanson averaged 15.5 disposals, 4.0 clearances, 2.8 tackles and 2.0 marks, while booting four goals. While three of those games came against the other bottom three sides, Swanson showed that she has the capability of standing up and really having an impact through the midfield – as she co-captained the side last year – and that Sturt’s onball brigade could be its biggest strength in 2020 alongside the likes of Bevan and Rigter.

Zoe Prowse

One of a number of future South Australian stars, Prowse is only 16-years-old and in her bottom-age year which means she is still 18 months away from being draft eligible. Last season despite her age she managed seven games and did not look out of place averaging 6.9 touches, and 2.7 tackles per game. She is still a raw talent and has areas to work on, but she showed when donning the state jumper in the Under 16s that she has talent, winning best on ground for South Australia against Vic Country, and was invited into the AFL Women’s National Academy. Could be a big improver in 2020.

FIXTURE

1 vs. West Adelaide
2 vs. South Adelaide
3 vs. WWT Eagles
4 vs. Central District
5 vs. North Adelaide
6 vs. West Adelaide
7 vs. Glenelg
8 vs. Norwood
9 vs. North Adelaide
10 vs. WWT Eagles

Sturt has to face West Adelaide and North Adelaide twice, while also taking on last year’s wooden spooners in Woodville-West Torrens Eagles a couple of times. If the Double Blues can improve to win against some of the other mid-table teams then they should be fighting for a higher position in 2020, with their list largely untouched compared to other clubs, giving them greater continuity heading into the next year.

SANFL Women’s 2020 team preview: South Adelaide

IN the next of our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s team preview, we take a look at the most successful side in the competition’s short history with back-to-back flags in the past two years. They will be faced with plenty of challenges this year as 10 players have departed, four of which stepped up to the next level through the AFL Women’s Draft.

2019 BY THE NUMBERS:

Position: 2nd (Premiers)
Wins: 8
Losses: 2
For: 421
Against: 241
Percentage: 174.7%

 

2020 CHANGES

(as per Zak Milbank’s article on the SANFL site)

IN: Louella McCarthy (returned/St Kilda VFLW), Lucy Northcott (returned/knee reconstruction), Nicole Mark (returned/maternity leave), Tahlia Meyer (Norwood), Sophia Flanagan-Sjoberg (Aldinga).
OUT: Montana McKinnon (Adelaide AFLW), Nicole Campbell (Adelaide AFLW), Cheyenne Hammond (Gold Coast AFLW), Hannah Munyard (Western Bulldogs AFLW), Emily Woods (Glenelg), Grace Duffy (Glenelg), Danielle Goding (maternity leave), Alana Browne (retired), Mykala Walker-Murphy (study), Tonia Fielke (retired).

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

MonTANA MCKINNON / NICOLE CAMPBELL

We have combined these two departures because they both ended up on Adelaide’s list and therefore still have a chance of playing games late in the season, or if not selected at AFL Women’s level. Given the Crows’ strength it is a possibility, though McKinnon is more likely to be more like Ebony Marinoff last year and only be available at the pointy end if she chooses to do so. Campbell was an important player through the midfield, while McKinnon could play ruck or key forward and has a big future at the elite level.

Czenya Cavouras

Won the most disposals of any player on her side last season, averaging 18.9 disposals from 12 games, but it was her tackling pressure – 7.5 per game to be exact – that really stood out on the field. Only once did she record below five tackles, with nine of her matches resulting in a tackle count of seven or more. With some turnover in the midfield, she will be the one required to stand up and lead some of the younger talent to make sure the Panthers can apply plenty of pressure on opposition teams in search of a three-peat.

Teah Charlton

A really special top-age talent, Charlton is expected to be the leading South Australian hope at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships after an eye-opening performance at the championships last season. Charlton is a high flying forward who moves well, when up the ground and can rotate between the wing and half-forward. She has that X-factor about her and despite being just 17-years-old, was named in the club’s leadership group showing just how highly they rate her. She booted 11 goals from 12 games last season, an impressive total considering there were plenty of options in the Panthers’ side.

Madison Bennett

What the pocket rocket lacks in size, she makes up for in goal sense and footy IQ. Standing at just 152cm, Bennett caused more than a few headaches at the feet of her teammates last season, booting nine goals from 11 games on her way to lead the goalkicking prior to finals. She did not kick a goal on the biggest stage after missing out on the semi-final clash, but showed so much during the season by laying 4.5 tackles per game. Her defensive pressure keeps the ball inside South’s forward 50 which is crucial in the modern game.

Indy Tahau

Led South Adelaide in contested marks last season, taking 14 for the season, including hauls of four and three in two separate matches. She also booted eight goals from her 12 games, making her a damaging target inside 50 when leading out. Tahau provided good support in the ruck to McKinnon and could have an increased role there with the teenager’s departure.

 

FIXTURE

1 vs. WWT Eagles
2 vs. Sturt
3 vs. Norwood
4 vs. North Adelaide
5 vs. Glenelg
6 vs. Central District
7 vs. West Adelaide
8 vs. WWT Eagles
9 vs. Central District
10 vs. West Adelaide

The reigning premiers will also look strong compared to the rest of the competition, with double-up games against three sides that failed to make finals set to help their campaigns in season 2020. They face the other three finalists between Round 3-5 and from there on play the bottom two sides in three games, and the Bloods twice in what the Panthers will be hoping is a smooth run home.

Fry letting the footy do the talking

CENTRAL Allies player Kimberly Fry first started playing footy at the age of 12 with her love and passion for the sport spurring her into a team and ultimately into possible draft contention. The speedster does not hold back on the footy field burrowing in hard and backing herself in the contest.

“I just always watched footy and one day I just said to dad can I play and I guess I had to kind of persuade him and I started playing with the boys,” she said.

After a little bit of encouragement, Fry found herself on a boys team and went to work plying her trade across the footy field and winning the ball with style. She did not let the overwhelming number of boys get to her, instead embracing the added competition.

“I didn’t really know any different but I think I learnt a lot out of it. I like it a lot better with the girls,” Fry said. “I think the boys is a lot more intense which has helped me transferring between boys to the girls and just skills and stuff were a lot higher but that helped as well.”

She has never been afraid to bring the heat on the field tackling hard and throwing her weight around but her love for the game is more than just the physical nature.

“I just love the people you get to know along the way and the physicality of it,” Fry said.

The Central Allies defender has speed to burn and notes one of her strengths as her ability to go in hard and win the contested ball while she hopes to further enhance her decision making.

“Decision making under pressure because a lot of the time when I get the ball I just kick it away without looking and then it comes back,” Fry said.

It is not easy getting thrown into a new environment filled with a variety of players but Fry enjoys the challenge and takes it all in her stride.

“I think with any team it takes a long time to gel but once we kind of worked out each other’s strengths and weaknesses gelling together was really easy,” she said.

Like any aspiring footballer, Fry’s main aim is to get recognised and picked up to play in the AFLW while her main inspiration was her father who introduced her to the sport.

“Probably my dad because without him I wouldn’t have been playing he was the one that helped me get into it,” she said.

Dual All-Australian McKinnon determined to reach the elite level

SOUTH Australia-born Montana McKinnon has plenty to be happy about in her sporting career so far, only 18-years-old but playing in representative teams from a young age. Like many other young Aussies, McKinnon started her footy journey as a five-year-old in Auskick before making the switch to netball at a young age.

“I started when I was five, just did AusKick for a bit of fun but obviously didn’t think anything of it,” McKinnon said. “I had a really big netball background, played at a high level – played for 11 years. Then when I hit the age of 14 I found out about football, girls teams and stuff and I wanted to come out and try.”

While McKinnon pulled on the footy boots once more as a 14-year-old, it was only as a 15/16-year-old that she made the full time switch to footy when games started to clash.

“I feel like obviously you need your different skills and stuff but I feel like netball did help, definitely in some ways,” McKinnon said. “I was a defender in netball, ever since I was about 10 so I feel like it did help my defence. “I like the contact as well, netball you’re not allowed to be rough or anything and I love the physicality of the game.”

Despite little footy experience up her sleeve, McKinnon had talent and flair to boot and was granted permission to play in the South Australian Academy from a young age.

“I heard about the state academy, and I knew because I was only 14 I was too young to play in the Under 18s team so I just went out to the academy sessions, thought I’d give it a crack just for a bit of extra training before I went out towards the club level,” McKinnon said. “Then they actually wanted me to come, they got an AFL permit for me to come out so at 14 I played in the state academy for the first time and then I’ve been playing there ever since, they’ve kept me in the team for the past four years.”

While McKinnon has plenty of experience now, playing in the academy at only 14 was a daunting task, especially with the inaugural AFL Women’s season looming.

“It was definitely very scary especially considering that was my very first ever game of football, going away to Melbourne playing against NSW,” said McKinnon. “Especially a few months after hearing the names called out at the draft, there’s been some big names that played in that team who are now off all over Australia playing for all different clubs in all different states.”

Named Most Valuable Player for the Central Allies in the 2019 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championship, McKinnon puts her work ethic down to constantly wanting to one-up her own form and create opportunities for her teammates.

“It’s really special to represent the Central Allies, considering especially how big football has now become. Obviously a few or more years ago it wasn’t as noticed as it is now but yeah it’s really special,” McKinnon said. “My ultimate goal is to get drafted after this, hopefully even if it’s next year, in five years time, just definitely work on it for a few years and see where it takes me.”

McKinnon has been touted as the standout ruck prospect in the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft, with her ability to not only impact the ball in and around the contest but also find opportunity to clear the ball out of stoppages and set up key plays for her side.

“I think my marking and my aerial contest would be my biggest strength,” McKinnon said.

As for improvements, she said ground ball gets are the ones to work on.

“Definitely my ground balls, because I’m a tall player and it’s a struggle to get down,” she joked.

Meanwhile, it’s family both on and off field that makes McKinnon tick with her biggest inspiration coming down to her parents and teammates.

“Probably my parents, they’ve always been there supporting me and have helped me out along the way … all the teams and all the girls it’s such a great bunch. Each team is different and it’s like they become your family, it’s pretty cool.”

Fast learner Munyard takes success in her stride

BACK-to-back South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s premiership player Hannah Munyard has had quite the rise over the past two years. It is hard to believe that barring a very short stint as a child, Munyard had only really taken football seriously in her later teen years.

“I started football about two years ago,” Munyard said. “I did actually play when I was eight, but that was only for half a season and now I started playing for South Adelaide in the SANFL when I was 16 and then I played two seasons for them in the Under 17s and then went through to the women’s as well.”

Munyard not only played for South Adelaide, but she was one of the more impressive players for the Panthers in their premiership years, earning a place in the team in 2018, holding it and then being a dominant performer again this year. Her season earned her All-Australian honours on a wing in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year.

“It’s an incredible club, I love playing for South,” Munyard said. “I learnt a lot from Krissie Steen, she was our coach. “The first year in the women’s program was probably when I learnt the most of my football and just gameplays, skills, everything there so it was a really good environment as well. A great club to be at.”

Her successful season came off the back of a big pre-season where her testing results where eye-opening to say the least. Munyard finished top three in every athletic test, showing off her unique combination of speed, power and leap.

“It was a big shock to me when I got the results but yeah I haven’t thought about it too much,” Munyard said. “Not sure how I level compared to the other states, but yeah obviously pretty happy with it.”

In her second year representing the Central Allies at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, Munyard admitted the pressure was heightened in the 2019 edition after being a bit more relaxed in her bottom-age year.

“Up here probably last year I didn’t put so much pressure on myself,” she said. “I’ve found a lot more pressure in my head and my mindset’s in a bit of a different place. Being a bit more of a leader to some of the younger girls this year and probably I’ve definitely learnt a lot more about my game and just trying to put that into play this year and develop a little bit more.”

Along with focusing on her own game, Munyard was also tasked with looking out for others, named vice-captain of South Australia and therefore in the leadership group for the Central Allies.

“It’s amazing (being named vice-captain),” she said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting that either. “But it was really cool to see that it actually came from the team as well, so to acknowledge that in me. “It’s been a great learning curve for me as well because I haven’t really been a captain in football, but it’s a great bunch of girls and it’s amazing to just get around them and try and bring encouragement to them.”

It is no surprise that successful teams breed further success. South Adelaide had a host of young stars heading to the Gold Coast for the Under-18 Championships, something that helped Munyard and her teammates bond quickly with set plays in a situation that can be challenging – combining with the Northern Territory and playing competitive games with limited training sessions together.

“It’s pretty good (having so many South Adelaide players),” she said. “We actually had two girls from South injured and couldn’t come up to the Gold Coast. “Our ruckman is from South, so when I play in the midfield it helps us a lot as a team. Having midfielders from South we know how each other play which is helpful.”

Munyard’s strengths are her speed and agility, as she claims to make the best use of her athletic traits with outside run and creating forward plays for her side. She knows what she has to work on going forward as well.

“Yeah definitely my contested ball,” Munyard said. “Trying to get in there first and obviously I don’t have the biggest body so trying to get a bit more confident in my head, getting first to the ball and just working on that kind of thing.”

The teenage talent said her father was her biggest inspiration and she has always wanted to model her character on him and his drive to be the best she can be. Now her drive is to achieve as much she can – which means her eyes are on the prize of an AFL Women’s list spot.

“For sure, that’s my goal (to get drafted),” Munyard said. “Hopefully I can get there.”