Category: South Australia

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 11 preview: Final chance for Bloods, Roosters and Bulldogs to grab finals spot

THREE teams will fight it out for the last finals spot in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition as West Adelaide holds fourth position at this stage, but both North Adelaide and Central District could take it with either side winning and the other results going their way in Round 11.

NORWOOD vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS
Saturday, May 15 @ 11:00am
ACH Group Stadium

Norwood and Woodville-West Torrens are at opposite ends of the table and will open the round without a great deal of ladder permutations. North Adelaide are expected to take care of Sturt, which allows the Eagles a chance at avoiding the wooden spoon for the second consecutive year. They will need to step up from last week’s heavy loss to Glenelg, whilst the Redlegs have proven to be the benchmark team this season. They do not have anything other than form and momentum to play for heading into the last round, having already secured top spot and the minor premiership. Youngsters Lana Schwerdt and Sarah Branford have replaced Sachi Syme and Ella Murison in Norwood’s 22, whilst the Eagles have been forced to make at least three chances with Adelaide AFLW talent Renee Forth, and Lakeesha Pickett both unavailable, and Panagiota Pipinis missing due to a shin injury, Alicia McNeill could be in line for a debut in the final round, named in the side amongst five inclusions, which features Georgia Taylor and Audrey Holt. The Eagles will need to try and quell Norwood’s dominant midfield, with the likes of Sophie Armitstead, Jade Halfpenny, Jess Macolino and Elisha Gallagher among the names that roll through there. With Leah Cutting likely to have a field day given her form and size advantage over Amie Blanden, the Eagles will hope to use Blanden like another midfielder at ground level, with Jaida Tabb and Shineah Goody named onball showing the future of the side, whilst Jamie Parish and Charlotte Dolan have also been in impressive form for the visitors.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 15 @ 12:30pm
Flinders University Stadium

In the match of the weekend, third placed South Adelaide hosts West Adelaide in a battle where the result will either mean they likely face off again in the first week of finals, or the Panthers have a grand final rematch with North Adelaide. South Adelaide has secured its 2021 SANFL Women’s finals spot thanks to a win last week, with the Panthers’ percentage too great for the Roosters to chase down. South Adelaide would slip to fourth if the Bloods get up in this contest, but a win would see them hosting an elimination final. If they win, and North Adelaide lose then it opens the door for Central District to upset Glenelg and book its first finals spot, but the Dogs loom as outsiders at this point. In terms of the team chances, AFL Women’s talent Hannah Munyard misses out this week, with St Kilda’s Tahlia Meyer returning to the side along with State Academy member Sarah Wright, and Caitlin Ross. West Adelaide has some crucial inclusions as well, with State Academy member Keeley Kustermann returning from injury sustained at the championships, coming into the side with the likes of Louella McCarthy and Georgie Gray for an extended team. Charlie Scutchings was injured early last week and is out of the side, with Georgie Pater also the other confirmed out. South has earned the right to be favourite in this game, with the form of AFL Women’s returnees Teah Charlton and Jordann Hickey, along with Montana McKinnon and Lisa Whiteley. Add in the continued development of teenagers Gypsy Schirmer, Tahlita Buethke and Jorja Hooper, and consistency of Nicole Campbell, and the Panthers have the complete squad. West has plenty of talent itself, with the AFL Women’s contingent of Ailish Considine, Sarah Dargan and Chelsea Biddell leading the way. Lauren Young continues to have an outstanding debut season for the Bloods, with Zoe Venning and Kustermann other youngsters who can have a huge impact on the match, and Sharni Whiting being the brick wall in defence.

STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 15 @ 12:45pm
Unley Oval

Whilst Sturt cannot secure a finals spot this year, the Double Blues can certainly play party pooper to a North Adelaide team which needs a win to retake fourth position on the table. The Double Blues have proved they are more than capable of kicking a big score this season, though will be tested against the most experienced defence in the league. The Roosters missed an opportunity to lock up fourth place last week, and now will be at the mercy of South Adelaide if they are to book a finals spot. They need the Panthers to beat West Adelaide, and then knock off Sturt on the road in order to leap up to fourth on the table. A loss automatically knocks them out of the running, and an upset win to Central District would see the reigning premiers slip to sixth on the table as well. Sturt have recalled three players for the clash, with dangerous forward Nicole Baker named as an in alongside Millie McCarthy and Lucy Griffith, while Abby Pengelly is the sole out at this stage. Unfortunately for the Roosters, they have had to make a couple of forced changes due to injury. Julia Clark suffered concussion in the second term of the Roosters’ loss last weekend and will miss this game, as will Jaime Norup who injured her shoulder in the same match. Coming into the side are a couple of bookends in Kelly Barltrop and Talia Radan who are important talls, whilst another State Academy member in Kate Case comes into the side after missing last week. North Adelaide should get up in this game given the Roosters have a defence that not only features Radan, but Amber Ward and Kristi Harvey are intercept machines, and the talent and run of Poppy Waterford, with the tough Jaimi Tabb and Amelie Borg. Lauren Gauci has also been a crucial inclusion to the side, whilst Ashleigh Woodland remains a difficult player to quell up forward. For the Double Blues, the midfield could try and match it with the Roosters, with Alisha Gepp, Jaimee Wittervan and Isobel Kuiper roving to Jess Good who are all in good form. Zoe Prowse has managed to get up for this game, and will rejoin fellow State Academy members Alex Ballard and Georgia Swan inside 50, while Kiera Mueller was superb off half-back last week.

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Saturday, May 15 @ 12:45pm
ACH Group Stadium

The final game of the round pits second placed Glenelg up against a Central District side needing a lot of luck to secure a finals berth. The Bulldogs could grab fourth, but not only need to win, but need South Adelaide to beat West Adelaide – certainly possible – but also Sturt to upset North Adelaide – a lot less likely – in order to be playing next week. Madison Lane was stretchered off last week and will miss this game, with the likes of Chantel Reynolds, Paige Allan, Nicola Biagi and Taryn Wills named in an extended Central team. Shae Partington and Airlie Schirmer are out of the Bays’ side, and into it come Molly Affolter, Lucy Armitage and Sarah Goodwin among five chances to the side. The Bulldogs can beat anyone on their day, and with Isabelle Starmer having a good season in the ruck, and the likes of captain Shelby Smith, Caitlen Teague and Chloe Scheer impressing through the midfield, they have the core for an upset. Laitiah Huynh and Lauren Breguet are exciting young forwards, whilst Katelyn Rosenzweig with Reynolds form a great duo inside 50. The Bays have proven to hold the strongest clearance side in the business, with Ebony Marinoff returning last week with a best on ground performance, and she teamed up well with the likes of Tessa Kohn, Ellie Kellock and Jessica Bates. Brooke Tonon was superb off half-back, with Caitlin Gould and Sam Franson dangerous forwards. Overall the Glenelg side has quite strong depth, though the direct and exciting play of the Bulldogs always gives them a shot at the win.

Picture credit: SANFL / Cory Sutton

Griffiths grasps “fantastic opportunity” with State Academy

WEST Adelaide’s Scarlett Griffiths has loved being a member of South Australia’s State Academy program, describing it as a “fantastic opportunity” to test herself alongside and against the best players in the country. The teenager plies her trade in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition for the Bloods, having come from a different background and transitioning into the pathway from a young age.

“I started playing football when I was quite young,” Griffiths said. “I was a ballerina and I just saw a sign that my local footy club needed girls so I joined in, fell in love with it, and yeah since I was young I’ve always been invited to these programs, and one thing’s led to another and now I’m here.”

Predominantly a forward having kicked a goal in each of her last two SANFL Women’s games, Griffiths tasted a new role further up the ground at the 2021 AFL Women’s Under 19s Championships, able to run out for the Croweaters against both Vic Country and the Allies.

“My favourite place is playing in the forward line, I’ve loved learning about that role and playing it,” Griffiths said. “And up here I’m playing on the wing, so it’s a big change, and I’m learning more about the role as the week goes on.”

Despite losing both the clashes in Victoria, the teenager said she had loved the opportunity she had been given, and was always looking to improve aspects of her game such as reading the play and knowing when to run and properly execute her speed and athleticism.

“It’s been such a fantastic opportunity to play with the Academy squad and back at home everything’s been really, really great and it’s just been getting better,” Griffiths said.

Having come from West Adelaide, it is little surprise to see Griffiths’ role models and inspirations being a pair of pocket rockets from the Bloods who have overcome various adversities from knee injuries to being overlooked to play at the elite AFL Women’s level.

“I really look up to Hannah Button and Rachelle Martin, they’re sisters from the Crows,” Griffiths said. “They’re my biggest inspirations. “They’ve been mentoring me for the past three years, so I’m so grateful to have them and they’re so awesome.

“It’s so good to see them on the TV, especially Rachelle, they’re just incredible, they totally deserve to be there.”

Like may players in their top-age draft year, Griffiths said her life was fairly busy between the three key aspects of life.

“I’m in the middle of Year 12 so that’s been really busy,” she said. “Work, school footy, that’s my life.”

With West Adelaide on the verge of backing up their maiden finals series last year by grabbing fourth spot heading to the final round this week. The Bloods will need to topple third placed South Adelaide in order to secure a finals berth, but if they do, then Griffiths will be hoping to have an impact on the scoreboard in the post-season series.

2021 SANFL Women’s Team of the Week: Round 10

GLENELG’S huge win over Woodville-West Torrens in the penultimate round of South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s action has resulted in the Bays having a record-high five players in the Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Week. They had one more than Norwood, and two more than fellow winners, South Adelaide and West Adelaide whilst Central District and North Adelaide were the best of the losers with three players apiece. Sturt (two) and Eagles (one) rounded out the 24-player squad.

Glenelg’s five players start with huge inclusion Ebony Marinoff, who not only starred with 30 touches and 10 clearances, but comes straight into the Team of the Week and was named captain for her efforts. She is joined in there by fellow midfielder Tessa Kohn, whilst youngster Brooke Tonon is at half-back, Meara Girvan slots into centre half-forward, and Ellie Kellock is on the half-forward flank. The sole Eagles’ representative from that match is Anastasia Falkenberg.

Norwood’s tight win over Central District earned the minor premiers the next most players in the Team of the Week with four. Lead by vice-captain of this week’s team Leah Cutting, the Redlegs also had Alison Ferrall in defence, and Najwa Allen and Sophie Armitstead in the side. The Bulldogs contributed three players this week, with captain Shelby Smith named in the centre, Chloe Scheer at half-forward and another State Academy member in Lauren Breguet on the interchange.

South Adelaide had an even spread of contributors across the board, with Nicole Campbell and Montana McKinnon making the Team of the Week yet again, while Jordann Hickey returned to the SANFL Women’s and slotted straight into the forward pocket. They managed to have a big win over Sturt who had two representatives, that being Kiera Mueller at half-back and Jaimee Wittervan on the bench. Both teams had an emergency for this week’s side, with Jorja Hooper (South) and Jess Good (Sturt) among the last to miss out mainly due to the strength in their respective positions.

West Adelaide had some familiar faces make the side, with 15-year-old Lauren Young back again, this time named in the forward pocket after playing a multitude of roles but slotting two majors. Alongside her is experienced AFLW tall Chelsea Biddell, while key defender Sharni Whiting was outstanding at centre half-back. Sarah Dargan was the 25th player this week, marginally missing out on the side. Among those who made the shortlist were South Adelaide’s Teah Charlton, Sturt’s Alex Ballard, North Adelaide’s debutant Monika Ney and Eagles’ Nicole Collie.

DRAFT CENTRAL’S SANFL WOMEN’S TEAM OF THE WEEK:

B: Lauren Gauci (NA) – Amber Ward (NA) – Alison Ferrall (NW)
HB: Kiera Mueller (ST) – Sharni Whiting (WA) – Brooke Tonon (GL)
C: Sophie Armitstead (NW) – Shelby Smith (CD) – Nicole Campbell (SA)
HF: Chloe Scheer (CD) – Meara Girvan (GL) – Ellie Kellock (GL)
F: Jordann Hickey (SA) – Chelsea Biddell (WA) – Lauren Young (WA)
R: Leah Cutting (NW) (vc) – Ebony Marinoff (GL) (c) – Tessa Kohn (GL)
INT: Najwa Allen (NW) – Lauren Breguet (CD) – Anastasia Falkenberg (WWT) – Montana McKinnon (SA) – Katelyn Pope (NA) – Jaimee Wittervan (ST)

EMG: Sarah Dargan (WA) – Jess Good (ST) – Jorja Hooper (SA)

2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 10

IN the penultimate round of action, there were injuries, standout performances and even tags dealt with for the South Australian State Women’s Academy members, as we look at those talented state representatives who ran out for their respective South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s sides in Round 10. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

NORWOOD vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

Got better as the night went on after a slower start, applying good tackling pressure across half-back and pushing up the ground. She was not needed a great deal in the opening term with the ball up the other end and whilst she could have been cleaner at ground level, did draw some free kicks because of her attack at the contest. She had an impressive final term with some nice foot skills, and laid a great tackle on Katelyn Rosenzweig midway through the final term to force a shot on goal to be off target.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

Had a really strong defensive game, laying plenty of tackles and charging at the football. On a number of occasions she took some strong grabs, including a courageous clunk back with the flight mark midway through the third term. Her disposal was hit and miss at times with some rushed passes but then absolute pinpoint darts, and a hardball spin out of trouble to give it to Najwa Allen to set up a goal in the first term was fantastic. She also kicked one of her own from straight in front after good positioning in a marking contest to have a solid night out.

Central:

#28 Lauren Breguet

The pick of the State Academy players in this game, Breguet was really lively in the front half, leading out hard and pushing up the ground. Her decision making was good, able to hit those short, sharp kicks to open up angels going inside 50, and nailed a set shot goal three minutes into the third term. She drew a number of free kicks for going in hard, and had another shot with the banana in the third term, but that went out on the full. Breguet showed good footy smarts throughout the contest to keep the ball in play and her eye on the prize to be one of the better Central players on the night.

#40 Madison Lane

Had a really fast start with the Central defence under siege picking up most of her touches early. She used her booming kick to clear the area and rebound from danger then lay some fierce tackles and putting on defensive pressure through the middle quarters. In the end she did not win as much of it as he has tended to, but never gave in, though she was injured in a contest six minutes into the final term and had to be stretchered off.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

Might not have hit the scoreboard, but used her lightning hands and ability to create separation from her opponents well. Once she had ball-in-hand, her ability to flick it off to teammates at speed was really impressive. Naturally her pressure was still high, and she contested well in the air and at ground level. Once she adapted to the conditions, she was able to play like it was a dry ball. Huynh was unlucky not to win a free kick for in the back late in the final term, with the talented small forward certainly up and about in the pressure moments.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. GLENELG

WWT Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Might not have won a heap of the ball, but her intent was consistent throughout the four quarters. Dolan copped plenty of knocks and kept bouncing up, taking a strong mark late in the second term to kick deep in attack and then provide an option a minute later for another inside 50. She pushed hard throughout the game to provide pressure at half-back and even spent some time on-ball late in the game.

#25 Jamie Parish

Had a tough job with the defence seeing plenty of action in this one, but Parish provided some good repeat efforts and defensive pressure. She could not always cleanly grab the ball, but when she won it in close she was quick to dispose of it, and tried to create some attacking movement despite the mounting scoreboard discrepancy.

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

The clear standout of the State Academy members, Tonon played at the level she has built this season, coming off half-back and pushing up to the wing. She laid some fierce tackles and worked hard around the ground, quick to get boot to ball. She just kept plugging away and was one of a number of defenders who kept the Eagles from kicking a goal in the contest, providing good run and spread from defence out in transition.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

Had a solid performance with some nice moments as you have come to expect. Morriss did not win a ton of the ball, but it was seldom in her region, attacking it hard when she needed to and winning a good one-on-one early in the match, then laid a tackle at the next stoppage to force a turnover. She was run-down trying to move the ball through the middle in the third term, but kept providing an option for her teammates, working hard both ways.

STURT vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

Worked really hard throughout the game and used the ball well when having the opportunity. Her statistics of six touches and no tackles do not reflect the intensity at which she played, with her one-percenters and ability to be an option in transition quite noticeable. She showed good footy smarts to get to the right positions and provided a second tackling option at the contest, often winning the hard ball and being wrapped up as well.

#19 Alex Ballard

A huge first term and arguably the pick of the State Academy players in this game, Ballard worked really hard on the lead up and down the ground to take some strong grabs. Her body positioning in one-on-one contests was also eye-catching, and she slotted a goal from 30m out on a slight angle from the set shot. Ballard seemed to be everywhere early on, and whilst she was a little quieter after that as South Adelaide ran rampant, she still lead out to take a mark and use the ball with a lovely inboard kick in the third term, then tried a snap off the outside of the boot from 15m out under pressure, which bounced through for a behind.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Worked hard in the back half to counter a number of South Adelaide attacks and pushed up to the wing when required to keep the defensive line high. Her kicking was a little rushed compared to her usual precision, but her intercept work and mopping up was still reliable. She stood up when being tackled and spread well to provide an option and switch when required, finding plenty of the ball.

#30 Zoe Prowse

Unfortunately the exciting utility’s day ended early after a ruck stoppage in the first term, copping a knock and not being sighted again, after showing good intent early in the match with a big tackle at half-forward, though gave away a free kick for her troubles.

South:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

After a quieter start to the game, Buethke came alive after quarter time and started buzzing around the stoppages. At times she could not quite take it cleanly or would be knocked off it trying to run at speed, but her ability to create separation and then give-and-go was noticeable. She was quick with her hands or feet, and even took some good marks in space, looking to be an option in transition or intercepting a kick behind play. She used her speed to advantage and had several passages where she won a chain of possessions, and while it was not her best game, it was certainly a solid effort.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

Had a mixed day where the talented AFL Women’s Academy member produced some nice moments, but ultimately it was more her defensive work, rather than her offensive stuff, that stood out. She was still clean with the ball off the deck, but did make some errors by hand or foot and was penalised on a couple of occasions. When it came to her intent and defensive pressure it was hard to fault Schirmer, who racked up a ton of tackles and really applied fierce pressure to the opposition. Her best play from an offensive standpoint came in the first term where she hit a lovely kick out in front of Jordann Hickey leading out.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE

North:

#33 Julia Clark

It was not a good weekend for State Academy members and injuries, with Clark another one to go down in Round 10. She started promisingly with her attack on the ball earning her two free kicks in the opening term, but then a tackle from Abbie Ballard three minutes into the second quarter unfortunately resulted in her hitting the turf pretty hard and having to be helped off. The positive was the stretcher was not required and she was able to walk off with the trainers.

#43 Amelie Borg

Played a more defensive role on her opponents trying to limit their impact, and she certainly did that. Only having the six touches, Borg was more prominent for her work in adapting to multiple opponents, from key forwards to smaller types rolling through the back 50. She played quite deep and was able to just lockdown on an opponent to allow the likes of Kristi Harvey and Amber Ward to play more attacking roles out of the back 50.

West:

#3 Abbie Ballard

Building nicely in her return from a long-term injury, Ballard is hitting her straps at the right time of year. Given the strength of the West Adelaide midfield, Ballard is able to play as that pure forward with rotations through the middle, and use her left foot to advantage when searching for targets inside 50. She is clean in-close, and great off the deck, able to use the ball well in transition. She almost kicked a goal in the second term but it bounced the wrong way and through for a behind. She provided her regular amount of tackling pressure throughout the contest.

#7 Scarlett Griffiths

For the second week in a row, Griffiths had the one disposal you want to have if that is all you are going to get – kicking a goal. After her set shot last week, Griffiths kicked a clever goal on the run, dribbling it home from 30m to seal the deal for the Bloods 11 minutes into the term. She only had the one touch, but had a few almost-moments with a dropped mark one-on-one against Kristi Harvey, and then a handball that was deemed a throw.

#9 Zoe Venning

An underrated game from the fierce midfielder/forward, who exclusively was able to play at half-forward and use her high work rate to roam up and down the ground. Venning won the ball in each of the thirds and spread really well to contribute to the team’s cause. She took some good marks leading out at half-forward in the first half, then pushing back into defence in the second, she showed clean hands out of the stoppage and was able to find her fair share of the ball on the day. She had some impactful disposals and made some mistakes by foot, but overall had a pretty impressive game.

#30 Lauren Young

You know you are travelling pretty well when the opposition sends a tagger to you at half-time to try and quell your influence, and the 15-year-old had no issues whatsoever dealing with it. Not only showing talent, but maturity to just get on with it, Young still was lively in the second half despite having at least one player sticking to her, and often multiple players around her in marking contests. She won free kicks for being held, and finished with two goals – could have been three if the free kick she won was not taken advantage – but she kicked a set sot goal from 20m out straight in front in the second term for the first goal of the match, then the last goal thanks to a sidestep, spin and shot on the run which sailed home in the final few minutes of the match. Had another outstanding performance, and the fact she had to deal with tagging and still stepped up was impressive.

SANFL League Player Focus: Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide/South Australia)

SOUTH Adelaide midfielder Matthew Roberts broke through for his maiden SANFL League outing on Saturday, joining fellow top 10 AFL Draft candidate Jason Horne in the Panthers’ seven-point win over Woodville-West Torrens (WWT). The hard-working youngster earned his call-up though sheer domination in the Under 18s, where he averaged 32 disposals, 6.3 clearances, and almost two goals a game across his three outings this season. Roberts also turned out for the AFL Academy last month, playing exclusively up forward in the side’s heavy loss to Geelong VFL.

The 18-year-old has long been one of South Australia’s most promising prospects, having represented his state twice at Under 16s level and dominated the SANFL Under 18s competition as a bottom-ager. He also captains the St Peter’s College First XVIII and looms as a key figure in SA’s Under 19 carnival side this year. Roberts’ running capacity, decision making, and ability to hit the scoreboard while resting forward are just some of the desirable traits which have him pegged towards the pointy end of this year’s draft crop.

He is the prospect under our SANFL Player Focus microscope this week; we run you through his game quarter-by-quarter, and bring you the key stats out of his Round 6 showing.

Matthew Roberts
South Adelaide/South Australia

DOB: July 31, 2003
Height/Weight: 183cm/81kg
Position: Midfielder/Forward

2021 averages*: 32.0 disposals | 23.0 kicks | 9.0 handballs | 8.3 marks | 7.7 tackles | 6.3 clearances | 7.7 inside 50s | 4.0 rebound 50s | 1.7 goals (5)

* – from three Under 18 games.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography

2021 SANFL League, Round 6

Woodville West Torrens 13.13 (91) def. by South Adelaide 15.9 (99)

Stats: 14 disposals | 5 kicks | 9 handballs | 2 tackles | 3 inside 50s | 1 goal

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1:

Roberts started and stayed at half-forward in the greasy conditions, but set the tone for himself early as the wet ball did not affect his cleanliness. An early gather around a pack with a slick handball under pressure was a sign of things to come as all his work was done below his knees for the day. Although he was a little passive at some stoppages around forward 50, he was still trying to work into his first League game and understand where to position best. Despite this, he did manage to get first hands off a ruck tap but was unable to find a teammate before the ball was knocked from him. Roberts pushed in at centre bounces when starting high and managed to wrangle in a hacked kick to space and find a teammate with a beautifully weighted kick inside 50. Pushing up the ground when the ball was stuck in his defensive 50, he did a good job of positioning himself to be able to hit the contest from a clearing kick at pace, and when presented the chance to crumb, he did so very well on one occasion, opting to find a teammate with a sweeping handball which opened up the attacking fore.

Q2:

The second quarter was one of Roberts’ quieter ones although it did highlight his good acceleration to apply defensive pressure, which he did all day. Two tackles are not earth-shattering but in his first League game, he adjusted to the pace well and would have registered plenty more pressure acts without a tackle. Once he settles in, you can expect that tackle count to rise. A hack kick off the ground also assisted with the surge forward as he applied a defensive effort to follow up after an Eagles defender swept up at ground level.

Q3:

His output picked up again this quarter as he continued his good timing to rove around packs and do it with one grab, brilliantly composed. He showed good strength to bump off a tackler on one occasion, showing he is physically up to the League level, accentuated by his stability over the ball in congestion having rarely hit the deck. Pushing down from his high positioning after a deep forward entry from the centre bounce saw him gather cleanly after the ball spilled out, before snapping around on his trusty left boot to put through his first League goal – a tidy and clean finish in-tight. Although a pair of fumbles came later in the quarter off some hot, tumbling balls, he showed he was getting to good positions to win his own ball. Roberts then made up for them with a perfect pass to Jake Tarca inside 50 for a goal. He had a couple of missed handballs on the far wing, but also showed solid positioning after contests and packs to either fill gaps, get dangerous, or prevent exits for the opposition.

Q4:

Although it was not a busy quarter like the previous for Roberts, he did some important things as the tight contest intensified. More clean pickups and quick hands from below the knees allowed the Panthers to maintain possession on several occasions. He also started to find his feet with his positioning in forward half stoppages, often leaving the contest to ready his run into forward 50 should his side clear it forward.

Final thoughts…

Coming off a dominant Under 18 performance, Roberts repaid the faith from head coach Jarrad Wright for bypassing a typical Reserves induction game. A serviceable outing playing a role should warrant another selection as he seemed comfortable in the contest to gather cleanly so often. 14 disposals with no marks indicates his ground ball nous and barring a few missed handballs, his disposal was reliable all game. The half-forward role is a difficult one to make a massive impact on the game, but Roberts did well to maintain his space and get to the front of contests to keep driving the ball forward. He was able to do this by not always flying for contests and positioning himself well, while working hard to get dangerous when the opportunity presented itself. Overall, a solid first League game with a goal for Roberts.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 6

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s rolled on into Round 6, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

STURT 5.7 (37) def. by GLENELG 16.20 (116)

By: Tom Wyman

STURT:

#10 Jake Aish

The Sturt midfielders were soundly beaten by the high-flying Tigers, but Aish was clearly Sturt’s best through the engine room. The number one clearance player on the ground, Aish spent the game cracking in hard at ground level, where he won his fair share of contested ball. When the heavens opened and the game turned into a stoppage-fest, Aish adapted well, with his strong inside game suited to the slippery conditions. His clearance ability was particularly important when the game became one of yardage. Although he lacked some polish when in space on the outside, Aish can hold his head high despite the lop-sided result, finishing with 24 disposals, six tackles, eleven clearances, nine inside 50s and five rebound 50s.

#17 Mitch Felton

With the ball seemingly living in the Glenelg forward half of the ground for much of the clash, Felton was never far from the action in defence. Charged with the kick-in duties in the first half, Felton was one of few Double Blues who regularly looked to take the game on, attacking each contest at speed and looking to utilise his clean, long foot skills out of defence. He took a couple of important intercept marks by positioning himself well down back. In the second half, Felton appeared to take on a more close-checking role, spending some time on Glenelg spearhead Corey Brougham. Clearly among Sturt’s best, Felton accumulated a team-high 29 touches (including 26 kicks), five marks, five tackles and 13 rebounds.

#25 Kade Harvey

Playing a similar role to the aforementioned Felton, Sturt’s Harvey was also in-and-around the action from start to finish. Harvey’s aerial ability was a real feature of his game, with the defender’s intercept marking particularly impressive. Although some poor kicking let him down at various stages, Harvey was often under the pump, especially when the rain set in. Sharing the kick-ins with Felton, Harvey generated some meaningful drive from the half-back line and finished with a game-high 14 rebounds from defence.

Others: 

Midfielder George Pope fought hard in the loss, winning nine clearances for the Double Blues along with 15 disposals. Edward Davies and Blake Fidge both applied plenty of pressure, laying seven and six tackles respectively. In attack, Chad Baulderstone and Nathan Houston were Sturt’s only multiple goalkickers, while Dylan Thredgold was strong in the ruck, winning 25 hitouts.

GLENELG:

#5 Hugh Stagg

Stagg produced another impressive performance in the yellow and black. With his explosiveness and ability to break tackles up there with the best in the state, the talented forward/midfielder wasted no time getting involved. Possessing one-touch cleanliness at ground level and the ability to brush off opponents with relative ease, Stagg appeared unstoppable at times. His kicking was inconsistent, with some hitting their desired target and others being chopped off or falling short, however Stagg produced another very strong showing. He concluded the contest with 24 disposals, two marks, nine inside 50s and a goal.

#12 Brodie Edwards

Edwards, the youngest son of Adelaide Crows legend Tyson, was typically classy for the Bays. The bottom-ager lined up in defence but was soon moved into the midfield. In both positions, he displayed calmness under pressure and made the most of his possessions. One of a long list of Tigers with the capacity to play a variety of roles across the field, Edwards finished the game with 19 touches, three marks, six tackles and three inside 50s in a solid showing.

#20 Lewis Rayson

The ever-consistent Rayson once again had a significant say over proceedings at Unley Oval. Spending time through the midfield and down back, Rayson was able to break lines with his dash and cut through the Sturt defence with his precise foot skills. Although his football smarts, skills and speed will stand out to recruiters, Rayson certainly cracks in hard when unleashed in the middle and showed he is a capable contested ball winner. When allowed to drift back a kick behind the play, Rayson took intercept after intercept, positioning himself to perfection and using it well for the most part. Certainly one of the most exciting South Australian draft prospects, Rayson continued his sensational start to the year by gathering 35 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and five clearances in the 79-point triumph.

#31 William Watts

Strongly-built utility, Watts put on a clinic for Glenelg, dominating proceedings in the midfield and up forward. Watts used his strength to damaging effect through the guts, where his contested ball winning and cleanliness by hand proved the catalyst for several Bays forward movements. Given the Tigers’ excellent depth through the midfield, Watts was often rotated through the forwardline and proved hard to contain. His vice-like hands on the lead ensured Watts became a genuine focal point in attack. Watts’ bigger frame was ideally suited to the slippery conditions of the clash, with his contested ball winning capacity and stoppage nous proving important. In a best-on-ground showing, Watts finished with 36 disposals, 10 marks, three tackles, eight clearances and a goal.

Others: 

Glenelg’s outstanding depth was on full display at Unley Oval, with 14 players accumulating 15 or more disposals. Darcy Gluyas was important in the middle and up forward, looking particularly threatening in attack as the rain fell. His classy snap goal was a highlight, however he probably should have finished with a couple more to his name. He finished with 30 disposals, four marks, three tackles and five inside-50s. Darcy Porter was excellent up forward, booting two goals (and three behinds) to go with 29 touches and four clearances. Hunter Window was busy and his effectiveness by hand stood out. He finished with 30 disposals, four marks, six tackles, six clearances and 12 inside 50s. Harrison Kaesler won 23 touches of his own, while forward Corey Brougham made the most of his limited opportunities, nailing three goals from six disposals.

NORTH ADELAIDE 8.12 (60) drew w/ WWT EAGLES 8.12 (60)

By: Tom Wyman

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#4 Isaac Keeler

After an impressive showing in the ruck last weekend against the Tigers, Keeler was moved back into the forwardline for the Roosters’ encounter with Woodville-West Torrens. Although he still did much of the ruckwork in the forward half of the ground, the talented bottom-ager struggled to get his hands on the football early on, with North bigman Adam Heath being the primary target in attack. He showed glimpses of elite athleticism and cleanliness below his knees, however it was a largely frustrating day for the South Augusta product. But, as all good players do, Keeler stood up when it mattered most, flying high for a mark-of-the-year contender with a couple of minutes left on the clock before calmly slotting the subsequent set shot to level the scores. Recruiters will certainly have enjoyed his clutch grab when the game was on the line. Keeler finished the game with 14 disposals, four marks, six hitouts and a goal.

#12 Hugh Jackson

It was quite simply the Hugh Jackson show on Saturday afternoon at Prospect Oval, with the balanced midfielder having it on a string. He spent much of the first term stationed down back, where he was able to set up the play with his deadly left foot. His skillset is well suited to a role as a ‘kicker’ down back, however, with the Roosters needing a lift around the ball, Jackson was soon thrown into the middle and dictated terms from then on. As has been on display all throughout the season, Jackson’s quick-give handballing was elite, as was his vision, ability to win the ball at ground level, and burst of acceleration. Jackson always seems to free his hands, even while being tackled, allowing him to pass it off despite the mounting pressure. His extraction work and stoppage smarts were excellent, but when allowed time and space, Jackson really made the Eagles pay, hitting targets by foot with ease over a variety of distances. Even when he was rested up forward, Jackson still couldn’t get away from the action, getting on the end of a spearing inside-50 ball from Isaac Keeler. His couple of misses in front of goal were just about the only blemish in what was a complete performance from the ball magnet, who finished with 41 disposals, nine marks and eight clearances.

#15 Harvey Harrison

After struggling slightly against the Tigers, Harrison was back to his prolific best in the Roosters’ draw with the Eagles. Once again, his eye-catching run-and-carry really opened up the ground and provided a point-of-difference through the middle. His foot skills on the run were excellent and, albeit for a rare miscued bounce, Harrison rarely wasted a possession. His ability to win the footy at the coalface and apply pressure around the ball is well complimented by his speed and composure. Harrison concluded the game with 24 disposals, five marks, six tackles and three clearances.

Others:

Defender Shaun Bennier stood tall for the Roosters, putting a stop to several inside 50s. Tough and courageous in the air, Bennier was strong overhead, hauling in four contested marks, but also provided plenty of rebound. Crafty midfielder Zyton Santillo had some excellent moments, with the speedster providing some energy through the middle. Using the ball well, he finished with 22 touches, five marks, four tackles and four clearances.

Providing serviceable support for Jackson and Harrison through the midfield, Kelsey Rypstra won 23 possessions and booted a goal while James White gathered 18 disposals and sent the ball inside 50 four times. Up forward, Adam Heath booted the first goal of the match and also snagged an important major late in the contest, finishing with three maximums. His presence up forward proved important for the red and whites. Ruckman Oliver Moors competed well against Eagle big-man Zac Phillipswinning 18 hitouts to go with eight touches and four marks.

EAGLES:

#4 Jack Murphy

Murphy was one of the Eagles’ best performers at Prospect Oval. A natural ball-winner with a clean kicking action, Murphy used the ball well on the outside and also showed an ability to win his own ball in-and-under. He finished the game with an impressive 30 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s.

#5 Brayden Calvett

Calvett provided the Eagles with some run-and-carry from defence. Pushing into the midfield as the game wore on, Calvett used the ball well by foot and booted a nice goal late in the final term, but will likely rue his three behinds. The hard-working Calvett finished with 26 disposals, two marks, two tackles and four inside 50s.

#24 Zac Phillips

Ruckman, Phillips was the dominant bigman on the park for much of the contest. He regularly provided the Eagles on-ballers with first-use (Eagles won the hit-outs 30-20), but it was his work away from the stoppages which impressed. Phillips clunked several big pack marks, despite flying from three-deep at times. Showing handy athleticism and mobility for a player of his size, Phillips looked to play on wherever possible and generally used the ball well.

Others:

With Port Adelaide father/son prospect Jase Burgoyne playing League football for the Magpies, William Neumann and Dustin Launer stood up for Woodville-West Torrens. Neumann, the Eagles leading possession winner, showed excellent work rate up around the ground. He finished with 31 disposals and 11 marks, while Launer gathered 29 possessions, four marks, six clearances and four rebounds. Up forward, Will Pearce booted three majors and also gathered 19 disposals. At the other end of the ground, Jonte Hunter-Price was solid in defence, taking a couple of important overhead grabs.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 8.5 (53) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 8.6 (54)

By: Tom Cheesman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#10 Isaac Birt

Birt was one of South Adelaide’s best players on Saturday with 27 disposals, six inside 50s, four clearances, four marks and a goal. His second half was particularly outstanding, as he provided some important run-and-carry down the wing and used his pace to break the game open. Despite the slippery conditions, Birt always picked up the ball cleanly and found targets by hand and foot with ease. He also used the corridor well and followed up his possessions to ensure that the ball kept moving forward. Midway through the final term, Birt kicked a brilliant goal from 40 metres out off a couple of steps to give his side the lead. Unfortunately for Panthers fans, their side could not hold on and went down by one point.

#33 Arlo Draper

Draper continued his impressive start to 2021 with another good performance for South. He was very active at clearances, as he worked hard to win the contested ball and applied some strong pressure on the opposition. Draper had 24 kicks and just three handballs, showing that he played to the slippery conditions well. Gaining ground (especially from clearances) is an important part of wet weather footy, so Draper got the ball on the boot as often as possible to move it into his side’s forward half. With that said, Draper also showed more composure with ball in hand than most other players on the field. Most players were just bombing the ball down the line, whereas Draper took that extra second to look inside and find a target in the corridor on several occasions. Draper finished with 27 touches, nine clearances, five tackles, three inside 50s and an important goal that levelled the scores going into the final break.

#37 Kyle Marshall

Marshall was impressive for the Panthers on Saturday, providing a strong marking target for them when they exited their defensive 50. He continually led up hard at the footy, made a contest and (at least) brought the ball to ground for his teammates. He tried to be too cute with his possessions at times in the slippery conditions, but his decision making with ball in hand improved as the game wore on. Marshall finished with 12 disposals, four hitouts, three tackles, two marks, two clearances and two inside 50s for the day.

#39 Will Verrall

Verrall was South’s best performer on Saturday. He toiled away in the ruck all day, winning the majority of the hitouts and giving his midfielders first use at the stoppages. Verrall has good chemistry with Draper and Luke Mitton, and these three combined for 24 clearances between them. This was a major reason why their side won the clearance battle 41 to 29. Verrall used his huge frame to position himself well in ruck contests, and he often provided a good marking target for his teammates kicking down the line. A strong intercept mark in the last quarter when scores were tied was another individual highlight. He finished with 21 disposals, 37 hitouts, six marks (two contested), five tackles and five clearances.

Others:

Nathan Hicks (15 disposals, six tackles, one goal) was good for the Panthers up forward, as he applied consistent frontal pressure and used the ball well going inside 50. Luke Mitton (23 disposals, 10 clearances, six tackles) was crafty at the stoppages, while Dylan Brown (20 disposals, seven inside 50s, six tackles) initiated some important passages of play in the forward half.

WEST ADELAIDE:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Pridham did some good things in the defensive half for the Bloods. He was a ball magnet, earning 35 disposals to go with seven rebound 50s, five tackles and four marks for the day. His ball use was great most of the time, he never fumbled and he linked up well with teammates when bringing the ball out of defence. Pridham’s ability to choose the right option was important too, as he helped his side control possession with some short passes in defence whenever the Panthers appeared to be gaining the momentum. He also attacked the ball hard throughout the match, particularly loose balls that he sprinted to in defensive 50. One negative was that he gave away some unnecessary free kicks in the defensive half, which he can work on going forward.

#7 Ben Burbridge

Burbridge was West’s most prominent midfielder in this clash. He was tough at the contest, always in and under, found plenty of the ball around the ground and used it well whenever he got it. His quick hands to release his teammates into open space were outstanding, and this is undoubtedly a feature of his game. Burbridge took some important marks too, both when receiving from teammates and when intercepting the opposition’s kicks. His pressure was relentless, highlighted when he applied a great tackle on Draper in second term to cause a turnover. He finished with 25 disposals, six tackles, five marks and four inside 50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy is a bull for the Bloods and he thrived in the slippery conditions on Saturday. He works harder around the ground than most at Under 18s level, and as much was evident in this match through the amount of contests he was able to get to despite spending much of his time in a half-forward role. Kennedy does the little things well, such as blocks and smothers to help his teammates out around the ball. Although he missed a shot on goal that he should have nailed in the opening term, he made up for it in second quarter with a crisp snap to put his side 20 points up. Kennedy finished with 16 disposals, seven tackles and five inside 50s.

#13 Hugh Desira

Desira was fantastic for the Bloods in the first half of this match. He kicked West’s first goal of the game early, using the wet conditions well to skid the ball through with a nice kick around his body. After that, Desira frequently used his electric pace and ability to kick on both feet to break the game open and get the ball moving forward with speed. The wingman always competes in the air despite lacking in size, and he has quick hands that he uses to release teammates into space on the outside of contests. Although he drifted out of the game a bit in the second half, Desira still finished with 17 disposals (15 kicks), five marks, five tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s and a goal.

#53 David Midwinter

Key defender, Midwinter was a brick wall in defence, frequently using his size and strength to spoil his opponents and repel South’s persistent attacks going forward. He has clean hands, is agile for his size and uses the ball quite well by foot. With five minutes remaining and scores level, Midwinter won a huge one-on-one contest deep inside West’s defensive 50 by out-bodying his opponent, taking the ball cleanly off the ground and finding a teammate with a quick handball. Many defenders would panic in this situation, but Midwinter stayed composed under the high ball, did not give away a free kick and was able to release the pressure by winning the contest and without conceding a behind. This was one of many instances where Midwinter’s composure was important for the Bloods.

Others:

Jesse Thackeray (20 disposals, six marks, five clearances) worked hard in the midfield, Kade Harkins (16 disposals, six rebound 50s) was reliable down back and Jaeden Watts (two goals, five tackles) was dynamic up forward. Dylan McCormick (nine disposals, three marks) applied some outstanding pressure throughout the day and finished with a whopping 16 tackles.

NORWOOD 7.2 (44) def. by CENTRAL DISTRICT 11.16 (82)

By: Tom Cheesman

NORWOOD:

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

While it has been a tough few weeks for Norwood in the Under 18s, Dnistriansky has maintained consistency and been a shining light in defence. His defensive work is reliable, his composure under pressure is outstanding and his kicks rarely miss a target. Some of his kicking in this contest was exceptional, including one bullet pass from full back (in the wet) that found Corey Jones-Bobridge inside the centre square in the third term. As usual, he facilitated many switches of play and created plenty of run and link up out of defence. Dnistriansky had a nice moment in the second quarter when, after biding his time, he ran past a teammate that was lining up for a set shot, received the handball and booted an important goal from outside 50. As poor as the defending was from the Bulldogs in this instance, it was great awareness from Dnistriansky to see the opening and take full advantage with his booming right foot kick. Although Dnistriansky made a couple of uncharacteristic errors by hand, overall it was another strong performance from the defender.

Others:

Given Centrals won the inside 50 count 58 to 25, it was a very tough day to be a Redlegs defender. Despite this, Oliver Stenchlik (21 disposals, four rebound 50s, two tackles), Riley Verrall (21 disposals, seven rebound 50s, five tackles) and Taj Rahui (12 disposals, six tackles, two clearances, one goal) fought hard and did well to help keep the margin to under 40 points. Connor Kent (29 disposals, nine tackles, seven marks) worked hard as well.

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

Rotating between midfield and forward, Dudley was one of the Bulldogs’ best contributors. The Adelaide Crows NGA prospect was brilliant whenever he went near the ball, providing a major spark and using his skills to open up the play for his side. He is so clean below his knees, very creative and a fantastic decision maker. His high football IQ was on display in several instances, including a moment in the first quarter when he twist and turned around multiple Redlegs players before executing a beautiful long handball inside to find Finn Reed. Dudley used his pace to his advantage in this match by applying constant pressure all over the ground and using his low centre of gravity to gather the ball without fumbling. Although he is probably going to be a small forward in the long-term as he moves up the grades, he was more prolific in the midfield throughout this contest. His tackling pressure in the centre square was relentless, as demonstrated when he caught two Norwood players holding the ball at seperate contests within a one-minute period in the second term. Dudley kicked a well-deserved goal in the closing minutes from a set shot after crumbing a marking contest at pace and earning a free kick for a high tackle. He finished with 27 disposals, nine tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s to go with his goal.

#15 Finn Reed

Read was another fantastic midfielder for the Bulldogs in their first Under 18 victory of the season. He showed good pace, tackled strongly and provided plenty of link up play through the middle of the ground. A powerful intercept mark he took in defensive 50 at the 12-minute mark of the opening term helped set the tone for his side. Although he missed a couple of shots at goal, he launched the ball inside 50 on eight occasions and had multiple other score involvements. He finished with 24 touches, eight tackles, eight inside 50s, five marks and two clearances.

#34 Darcy McDonald

McDonald was a standout for Centrals. Playing predominantly as an inside midfielder, he collected 20 disposals to go with a tremendous 12 tackles, four inside 50s and three clearances. As his statline suggests, his tackling pressure and willingness to hunt down opposition players was outstanding, but this was not the only feature of his game. McDonald is a good size, silky mover and won plenty of contested ball. He had arguably the moment of the match in the third term when, in the wet, he scooped the ball up one-handed, sold some candy to get past an oncoming tackler and then delivered the ball inside 50. There were many times in this match where McDonald won his own ball and used his agility to escape a stoppage with ease before releasing a teammate on the outside. The challenge for McDonald now is to produce this level of play on a consistent basis.

Others:

Saxon Evans (37 hitouts, 12 disposals, one goal) and Brodie Tuck (13 hitouts, 15 disposals, two goals) dominated in the ruck and gave their inside midfielders first use. Tomas Hahn (22 disposals, 11 tackles, eight clearances) was another prominent Bulldog midfielder and kicked a glorious goal on the outside of his boot in the third term.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography

SANFL Women’s Round 10 wrap: Top two decided as two finals spots up for grabs

NORWOOD and Glenelg have confirmed their spots as the top two sides in the South Australian Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition following wins on the weekend. It left two spots up for grabs, with third placed South Adelaide saluting to have one foot in the post-season series, whilst West Adelaide temporarily dislodged North Adelaide in fourth spot thanks to a victory over the Roosters.

STURT 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.1 (13)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 2.3 | 5.6 | 7.6 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:

Sturt: A. Ballard, C. Forby.
South: J. Hickey 3, J. Hooper 2, N. Campbell 2, S. Flanagan-Sjoberg, J. Kirk.

DC BEST:

Sturt: K. Mueller, J. Good, J. Wittervan, K. Harris, H. Prenzler
South: T. Charlton, T. Buethke, M. McKinnon, J. Hickey, C. Hammond

South Adelaide has moved into third spot on the SANFL Women’s ladder with a commanding 47-point win over Sturt to all but secure yet another finals series for the two-time premier and reigning runner-up. The Panthers piled on seven of the first eight goals – including three to Jordann Hickey and two to Jorja Hooper – to lead by as much as 42 points at the final break. Chloe Forby kicked the first of the final term, but a couple of late ones in favour of the visitors secured the win, 9.6 (60) to 2.1 (13).

Cheyenne Hammond (16 disposals, five marks, four tackles and three rebound 50s) and Jaslynne Smith (15 disposals, six marks, four tackles, three clearances and two rebound 50s) were both lively out of the back half, while Teah Charlton (15 disposals, six marks, three tackles, two clearances and two rebound 50s) and Nicole Campbell (14 disposals, three marks, seven tackles, three inside 50s and two goals) got it done in opposites halves of the ground roaming through the midfield. Tahlita Buethke (13 disposals, four tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s) was again influential, whilst Montana McKinnon (nine disposals, 31 hitouts, four clearances and four inside 50s) stood tall.

Kiera Mueller led the Double Blues out of defence with 20 disposals, three marks, two tackles and four rebound 50s, whilst Hannah Prenzler (16 disposals, four marks, two clearances and two rebound 50s) was also solid back there. Jess Good (18 disposals, four marks, 23 hitouts and five clearances) was influential around the ground having a great battle with McKinnon, while Jaimee Wittervan (19 disposals, six clearances and three inside 50s) and Kate Harris (16 disposals, two tackles and four clearances) were prolific at the stoppages.

South Adelaide take on West Adelaide next week, with the winner to play finals, and the loser to wait on other results. For Sturt, the Double Blues are a part of those other results, with the chance to stop reigning premiers North Adelaide from entering the top four when they host them at Unley Oval.

NORTH ADELAIDE 0.1 | 0.4 | 1.6 | 2.7 (19)
WEST ADELAIDE 0.1 | 2.3 | 4.3 | 6.3 (39)

GOALS:

North: E. Greet, K. Pope.
West: L. Young, C. Biddell, A. Considine, S. Griffiths, B. Owen.

DC BEST:

North: K. Pope, L. Gauci, A. Ward, M. Ney, P. Waterford
West: L. Young, S. Whiting, C. Biddell, Z. Venning, S. Dargan

West Adelaide has kept its finals hopes alive by knocking off reigning premiers North Adelaide and securing fourth spot heading into the final round. Both sides took a while to get going with the ridiculously strong defences standing tall and not allowing much through. It took until young gun Lauren Young split the big sticks in the second term to break the drought, with the Bloods booting the first four goals of the game to lead by 23 points midway through the third term. North Adelaide kicked the next two of the match – and could have had more with the likes of Ash Woodland (three behinds) and Tayla Thorn (two) both having chances, but late majors to State Academy members Young and Scarlett Griffiths sealed the 20-point win.

Young was outstanding once again, collecting 20 disposals, taking seven marks – three contested – laying six tackles, and having two clearances, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s, as well as slotting her two goals. In defence, Sharni Whiting was back to her best, racking up a match-high 22 disposals, as well as seven marks – two contested – and six rebound 50s. The AFLW experience of Ailish Considine (15 disposals, two marks and a goal), Sarah Dargan (15 disposals, two marks, 11 tackles and two clearances) and Chelsea Biddell (14 disposals, five marks – two contested – three tackles, eight hitouts, four inside 50s and a goal) counted for plenty, while Zoe Venning was fierce around the ground picking up 15 disposals, five marks, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

For North, Katelyn Pope kicked a goal and had a team-high 19 disposals, as well as two marks, three tackles and two clearances, while Lauren Gauci (15 disposals, four marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and Amber Ward (14 disposals, three marks and three rebound 50s) were superb bringing back their AFLW experience. Woodland had chances with her three behinds, but still put together a solid performance of 13 disposals, two marks, four tackles and two inside 50s while Poppy Waterford (12 disposals, two marks, two clearances, four inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and debutant Monika Ney (10 disposals, five tackles and five clearances) also impressed.

The final round is huge for both these teams, with West Adelaide needing a win to secure a finals spot when they take on the Panthers, while if they lose, they will need Sturt to knock off North Adelaide, otherwise North will take fourth position back and knock the Bloods out of the finals.

NORWOOD 4.0 | 4.0 | 5.1 | 6.2 (38)
CENTRAL DISTRICT 0.1 | 2.3 | 4.4 | 5.5 (35)

GOALS:

Norwood: E. Drake 2, R. Zerella 2, N. Allen, J. Halfpenny.
Central: A. Butler, K. Rosenzweig, C. Scheer, L. Breguet, C. Wendland.

DC BEST:

Norwood: L. Cutting, N. Allen, A. Ferrall, S. Armitstead, J. Halfpenny
Central: S. Smith. C. Scheer, K. Rosenzweig, L. Breguet, K. Searle

A fast start has helped Norwood secure the minor premiership and sit pretty heading into the final round to prepare for Glenelg in the first week of finals. The Redlegs piled on four goals in the opening term to race out to a 23-point lead at quarter time. Central District showed the amount of development over the past 12 months by fighting back to boot four of the next five goals over the two quarters to head into the final break just three points down. Norwood kicked a steadier early in the quarter, before Katelyn Rosenzweig almost stole the win for the Bulldogs with a couple of chances on goal to boot 1.1, with her second shot in the remaining 10 seconds missing for the Redlegs to win 6.2 (38) to 5.5 (35).

Leah Cutting was enormous around the ground, dominating in the ruck with 17 disposals, six marks – two contested – 10 tackles, 38 hitouts, four clearances, three inside 50s and four rebound 50s in a clear best afield effort. Najwa Allen (18 disposals, two marks, two clearances and 1.2) also impressed in the midfield, while Sophie Armitstead (10 disposals, five tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s) aided her cause. Youngsters Jade Halfpenny (11 disposals, four marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and a goal) and Alana Lishmund (13 disposals, seven tackles) found their fair share of the ball, as did Alison Ferrall (12 disposals, two marks, three tackles and six rebound 50s) in defence.

Captain Shelby Smith led from the front for the Bulldogs, picking up 14 touches, laying nine tackles and having two clearances and two inside 50s. Rosenzweig (13 disposals, four marks – two contested – four tackles, two hitouts, two clearances and two inside 50s) and Chloe Scheer (13 disposals, three marks – one contested – four tackles, two clearances, four inside 50s and one goal) both hit the scoreboard. State Academy players Lauren Breguet (10 disposals, three marks – one contested – four tackles, two inside 50s and a goal) and Laitiah Huynh (nine disposals, three tackles) had solid performances, while Karissa Searle (eight disposals, four inside 50s and Caitlen Teague (seven disposals, three marks three tackles and two inside 50s) also tried hard throughout the contest.

Norwood takes on Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in the final round in a battle of top-against-bottom, with the result effectively negligible for the Redlegs who have secured top spot. They will still want to head into the post-season series with a win, whilst for the Eagles, a victory could keep them from the wooden spoon. Central District has done enough to ensure they cannot win the wooden spoon in 2021, but are not completely out of the race for finals. They need West Adelaide to lose to South Adelaide, and Sturt to upset North Adelaide in order to grab fourth spot.

WWT EAGLES 0.1 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 0.4 (4)
GLENELG 2.2 | 3.3 | 7.5 | 11.6 (72)

GOALS:

Eagles: Nil.
Glenelg: M. Freeman 3, M. Girvan 2, E. Kellock 2, C. Swanson, C. Gould, S. Franson, C. Packer.

DC BEST:

Eagles: A. Falkenberg, S. Goody, K. Lee, N. Collie, R. Forth
Glenelg: E. Marinoff, M. Girvan, T. Kohn, C. Gould, B. Tonon

In the most one-sided game of the season, Glenelg has stormed to an easy 68-point belting of last placed Woodville-West Torrens Eagles to secure second spot on the SANFL Women’s ladder heading into the finals. The Bays booted eight goals in the second half after only leading by 21 points at the main break, restricting the home side to just two behinds in each quarter. Glenelg had 58 more disposals, 30 more hitouts, 28 more clearances and 25 more inside 50s in an old fashioned shellacking.

A player by the name of Ebony Marinoff did alright upon her return to state level from the AFLW, racking up a casual 30 touches, three marks, five tackles, 10 clearances and five inside 50s, having more clearances than the entire opposition team (10-9). She had plenty of support around her though, with Tessa Kohn (16 disposals, four tackles, six clearances and three inside 50s) and Ellie Kellock (12 disposals, two marks, two tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and two goals) both influential at the stoppages, and Meara Girvan (15 disposals, five marks – two contested – 23 hitouts, three clearances and two goals) and Caitlin Gould (13 disposals, five marks – one contested – four tackles, 22 hitouts, two clearances, two inside 50s and a goal) taking control through the ruck. Brooke Tonon (14 disposals, two marks, five tackles, two clearances and four rebound 50s was again impressive off half-back, while Jessica Bates (13 disposals, three marks, 10 tackles and two inside 50s) was consistent yet again.

Anastasia Falkenberg was a clear standout of the Eagles in the heavy loss, collecting a team-high 18 disposals, five marks and 10 tackles, while Shineah Goody continued her strong debut season with 17 touches, four marks, three tackles and two rebound 50s. Kiana Lee (14 disposals, two marks, three tackles and three rebound 50s), Nicole Collie (12 disposals, three marks and five rebound 50s) and Renee Forth (16 disposals, four marks – two contested – and three tackles) also tried hard against stiff opposition.

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles finish their season up against minor premiers Norwood who come in winning eight of the past nine games, and the Eagles’ hope that the chance of missing the wooden spoon will spur them onto victory against a Redlegs side that already has locked up top spot. For the Bays, second place is secure, but they can knock Central District out of the finals race of they get up in the Saturday afternoon clash at ACH Group Stadium.

Picture credit: John Emery / SANFL

2021 SANFL Women’s preview: Round 10 – Ladder-defining round of action

IT might not be finals time just yet, but if the top four sides can topple the bottom four sides this weekend in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s action, then it will seal up the finals spots ahead of the last round.

NORWOOD vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, May 7 @ 7:00pm
Coopers Stadium

Coming off their first loss in eight weeks, Norwood will be hungry to get back to business against Central District who did pretty well last week against a strong West Adelaide side, but it was not enough to come away with the points. Unlike the other three sides in the bottom four, the Bulldogs do have a superior percentage to those teams just inside the four – and both above have one draw – meaning an upset win, and a loss to either South Adelaide or North Adelaide this week will hand Central District a top four spot heading into the last week. Norwood is looking pretty good to secure top spot on the table, sitting one-and-a-half games clear of Glenelg, with just one win needed to secure the minor premiership. The likes of Alicia Butler and Ella Mickan will return to the Bulldogs outfit on an extended bench, while the Redlegs have brought back vital ruck, Leah Cutting, and in-form Ella Murison. Youngsters Sarah Branford and Lana Schwerdt are amongst the outs for this game, but the Redlegs are looking very strong. Isabelle Starmer has put together some great form through the ruck and will enjoy a battle with Cutting and possibly youngster Jade Halfpenny who has been named there. Bulldogs captain Shelby Smith and Adelaide AFLW midfielder Najwa Allen could go head-to-head in the midfield, whilst the Norwood defence will need to find a way of slowing down key forward duo Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chantel Reynolds. Sophie Armitstead could be the player to try and quell the red-hot Chloe Scheer, whilst State Academy members Alana Lishmund and Madison Lane could go head-to-head in this clash. Norwood should be too strong, but the Bulldogs have the capacity and talent to beat anyone on their day if they take their chances.

WWT EAGLES vs. GLENELG
Saturday, May 8 @ 10:10am
Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Whilst finals seems a stretch for the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles – the results needed to occur are near impossible – they can still play the role of party pooper to finals-bound sides, whilst trying to jump off the bottom of the table. The Eagles strung three consecutive wins together this season, but with the return of AFL Women’s talents, they have been more inexperienced, but providing games to great future talents. For Round 9, the Eagles have lost Jessica Evans to concussion, but regain Renee Forth to bolster that minimal AFL Women’s talent. Their opponents Glenelg are not mucking around though, with Ebony Marinoff pulling on the black and gold for the first time this season, returning to the Bays’ outfit with Molly Affolter, Lucy Armitage and Caitlyn Swanson among others for an extended bench after multiple players have dropped out due to illness. Marinoff joins an already strong midfield of Ellie Kellock, Jessica Bates, Tessa Kohn and Brooke Tonon who are all in great form, and Caitlin Gould is a crucial player up forward or through the ruck. The Eagles have so much developing talent that will benefit from the experience against AFLW-listed players with Shineah Goody, Jamie Parish and Charlotte Dolan just a few of them. The reliable combination of Anastasia Falkenberg and Jovanka Zecevic will always stand up in big moments, and they will need to be key players in this game if the Eagles are to cause a massive boilover. The Bays also need to win this to keep touch with Norwood at the top of the table, and fend off last year’s grand finalists in North Adelaide and South Adelaide. It is hard to see the Bays losing this given their side on paper, but this has been one heck of a season for upsets.

STURT vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 8 @ 11:00am
Prospect Oval

South Adelaide can go a long way to securing a finals spot with a win over a Sturt team that just refuses to go away in the SANFL Women’s competition. Just when you think the Double Blues are out of the running, they produce a massive performance like they did against the Eagles last week to just remain in contention. A loss here would cut the chord on any finals hopes if North Adelaide get up as well, but a win, and the Double Blues could be in the top four given their percentage is higher than the two sides in there, and they take on the fourth placed Panthers. Captain Maya Rigter will miss with a foot injury, Alysha Healy is out with a shoulder injury and Lane Trenorden suffered a knee injury. They welcome back Tiah Hough, Nicole Baker and Ally Ladas to an extended bench as they try and plot South Adelaide’s downfall. The Panthers are coming off a great win over Norwood, and with their team at full strength, it showed just how good this side could be. Madison Bennett is the sole exclusion from the team, with young key forward Jorja Hooper, and defender Lucy Northcott among the inclusions. Jaslynne Smith will run out for her 50th game this weekend, and will be a key part of that Panthers backline with Lisa Whiteley and Brianna Wedding who have put together strong performances. The Sturt forward line of young talent seems to be ticking over nicely, with Alex Ballard slotting three goals last week, and with Zoe Prowse providing the height, and Chloe Forby and Georgia Swan among the developing talents in there, the Double Blues have enough firepower down there. The Sturt midfield of Alisha Gepp, Jaimee Wittervan and Isobel Kuiper will get its greatest test this weekend with Teah Charlton, Nicole Campbell and Tahlita Buethke all in ripping form and could be the deciding factor. The Panthers should get up based on their lineup, but the Double Blues will not make it easy for them.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE
Saturday, May 8 @ 12:45pm
Prospect Oval

The final game of the round, and the second of a double-header at Prospect Oval sees the Roosters host West Adelaide in a massive clash. The Roosters tentatively sit in third spot, and thanks to their higher percentage compared to South Adelaide, have some sort of a buffer, but they could lose that with West and one of Central District or Sturt getting up. The Westies need to win to keep touch with the top four and frankly their side is too good not to play finals, but the Roosters also have such a consistent lineup it is hard to imagine them not competing at the pointy end. North has just brought in a potential debutant in Monika Ney to an extended bench, with not too much needing changed for the reigning premiers. Despite Marinoff coming back for Glenelg, the Roosters have not unleashed Anne Hatchard yet, with the team having a strong enough team on its own with Leah Tynan, Brianna Arthur and Erica Greet rolling through the midfield. Youngsters Kate Case and Julia Clark are versatile enough to slot in anywhere, whilst the defence of Kristi Harvey, Amber Ward and Talia Radan is just ridiculously strong. Amelie Borg can be utilised as a more athletic tall, whilst Jaimi Tabb has the freedom to play inside or out, add in Lauren Gauci who returned in style to the competition, and Ash Woodland up front, and the Roosters have so much past and present AFLW talent. West Adelaide has plenty of talent itself, as one of the most exciting young sides. Sarah Dargan, Ailish Considine and talented junior Lauren Young form a massive midfield trio, while Chelsea Biddell and Melanie Elsegood are reliable targets to hit up forward. The talls are surrounded by young talent in Zoe Venning, Abbie Ballard and Charlie Scutchings, while Imogen Loftes was one of four players to return, and slots straight onto a wing. Sharni Whiting has been strong overhead in defence for the Westies this season, while Madi Russell and Taylah Jayne have also served as strong interceptors and rebounders. This is a 50/50 game with North Adelaide having an incredibly experienced defence, but there is something about West Adelaide that could see the Bloods grab the win and make the final week interesting.

Picture credit: SANFL

2021 SANFL Women’s Team of the Week: Round 9

THREE of the four South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s winners from Round 9 have a round-high four representatives in the Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Week this week. South Adelaide, Sturt and West Adelaide all picked up wins, as well as a quartet of players in the Team of the Week, while the other winner Glenelg, as well as narrow losers North Adelaide had three players each. Norwood, Central District and Woodville-West Torrens managed the two players apiece this week.

This week’s captain is Teah Charlton, who returned to the SANFL Women’s with a bang in Round 9 as the standout player for the weekend. The South Adelaide young star is joined in the side by teammates, defenders Jaslynne Smith and Lisa Whiteley, as well as midfielder Nicole Campbell. They knocked off Norwood who had the two players in the team this week, with the top of the table side contributing Erika Sporn and Ashlee Gould.

Sturt’s big win over Woodville-West Torrens Eagles resulted in four players making it into the side, starting with Alex Ballard and Zoe Prowse inside 50 as some State Academy member representation, while Jaimee Wittervan (rover) and Isobel Kuiper (interchange) also made the 24-player squad. The Eagles had the two representatives, with Sophie Zuill and Jamie Parish both slotting into the team this round.

West Adelaide got the job done over Central District and managed the four players in the side for Round 9. Young gun Lauren Young made it in alongside AFL Women’s experienced talent in Crows, Ailish Considine and Chelsea Biddell, and Tiger, Sarah Dargan. The Bulldogs contributed the two players for this week, with Shannon Murphy named off half-back for her impressive seven rebounds holding up the front, while Chloe Scheer shone again and earned a place on the bench.

The final game saw Glenelg hold off North Adelaide with both sides having three players in the side this week. Glenelg’s Jessica Bates was named vice-captain of the hypothetical side, leading the way in a Bays’ based midfield which also featured ruck Caitlin Gould, and inside midfielder Tessa Kohn. The Roosters were again represented in defence by Kristi Harvey, named alongside Lauren Gauci, with Katelyn Pope up forward. The three emergencies for Round 9 were Norwood’s Najwa Allen, South Adelaide’s Tahlita Buethke and Woodville-West Torrens’ Anastasia Falkenberg.

DRAFT CENTRAL SANFL WOMEN’S TEAM OF THE WEEK: ROUND 9

B: Jaslynne Smith (SA) – Kristi Harvey (NA) – Lauren Gauci (NA)
HB: Lisa Whiteley (SA) – Jamie Parish (WWT) – Shannon Murphy (CD)
C: Lauren Young (WA) – Tessa Kohn (GL) – Sophie Zuill (WWT)
HF: Ailish Considine (WA) – Chelsea Biddell (WA) – Teah Charlton (SA) (c)
F: Erika Sporn (NW) – Alex Ballard (ST) – Zoe Prowse (ST)
R: Caitlin Gould (GL) – Jessica Bates (GL) (vc) – Jaimee Wittervan (ST)
INT:  Nicole Campbell (SA) – Sarah Dargan (WA) – Ashlee Gould (NW) – Isobel Kuiper (ST) – Katelyn Pope (NA) – Chloe Scheer (CD)

EMG: Najwa Allen (NW) – Tahlita Buethke (SA) – Anastasia Falkenberg (WWT)

Prowse excels from being thrown into key role

ZOE Prowse was certainly thrown in the deep end when she first pulled on the Double Blues’ jumper in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition a few years back. The then 15-year-old had come from a local football club and successfully earned a spot on Sturt’s Under 15s list, but soon found herself rucking against opponents twice her age.

“I started playing school footy so two of my teachers actually played SANFL and from there they just said ‘come try out at school’ and then from there one of my friends played at a local football club, went to that club and then Sturt invited me out just to do the Under 15s and then from that started playing in the women’s league,” Prowse said.

It’s been a lot, so I started when I was 15 and I was thrown into the ruck pretty much straight away so I was pretty young, but it was exciting and I learnt a lot very quickly.”

Prowse held her own then, and it has held her in good stead for her junior football career, rising up through the South Australian development programs to begin training with the State Academy, something she has enjoyed. Playing and training alongside the best young talent in the state, Prowse said she noticed the difference in speed at trainings and Academy games.

“It’s been really good, been training once a week, really good to get around a different group of people, so used to training with our normal SANFL clubs, playing against each other and then coming together,” she said. “It’s a lot faster than SANFL so that’s good as well.”

Having been noticed from a young age as a prestigious talent, Prowse was the sole bottom-age AFL Women’s Academy member last year, and was joined in the Academy by South Adelaide’s Gypsy Schirmer this year. While the Sturt ruck said there was not much that had been done to-date (at the time of the interview mid-champs), Prowse was looking forward to future camps alongside the other members of the Academy.

“It’s been really good,” Prowse said. “I haven’t completed much yet, but after this trip we have camps so we can just stay here until Saturday and then we have another camp further later in the year, but hasn’t been a lot yet so far.”

Being an athletic ruck who has expanded her game into playing through the midfield or even up forward of late, Prowse noted her strengths as her timing of her jumps, and then contesting in marking situations. As for her improvements, Prowse was blunt about her most recent performance at the time during South Australia’s loss to Vic Country.

“Very simple but just my kicking,” she said. “In my last game my kicking was horrible, I really need to improve it.”

Now playing alongside plenty of youth at the Double Blues, Prowse said she was enjoying the youth influx at the club, as well as the experienced players who have aided in both her, and her teammates’ development.

“It’s been really good, so there’s a few other girls that are my age as well who are doing it, so having them around has been really good, but I’ve learnt so much off the older players and it’s just been really exciting,” she said.

As for an inspiration, the budding AFL Women’s talent – who said reaching the elite level was the dream goal – Prowse said she could not pinpoint a sole individual as inspiration, but rather a support network around her.

“There hasn’t been one specific person, there’s just people like my sister, as well as a few of my friends, as well as my parents, so little bits from a lot of people, not one person specifically,” she said.

Prowse and her Sturt side are hoping to continue their rise up the ladder and push for finals, currently sitting in sixth on the SANFL Women’s table with two rounds remaining in the regular season.